How to Get a Rain Water Smell Out of a Car Floor

by Nick Davis
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Rainwater can enter your car’s interior a number of ways, including an open window or door. Water causes mold to grow on the carpeting and mats. The fungi emits an odor that is strong and unhealthy to breathe. Getting a water smell out of your car’s carpeting and mats requires more than just masking the smell with a deodorant. You must clean the carpeting and mats with a shampoo designed for combating water smells and mildew buildup.


Step 1

Remove the floor mats and place them on a concrete surface for cleaning later. Vacuum the carpet and crevices thoroughly with a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or commercial vacuum cleaner at a car wash.

Step 2

Mix 1/2 cup of a carpet and upholstery shampoo containing an odor deodorant and a 1/2 gallon of warm water in a bucket. Stir the soap solution with a stiff scrub brush. Wear latex gloves to keep your hands dry.

Step 3

Apply the soap solution to one area of carpet. Scrub the area vigorously to remove dirt, mold and odors. Continue until the area of carpet is clean and odor free.

Step 4

Wet a large towel with water from a water hose or sink. Wring out excess water and wipe the carpet to remove the soap solution residue. Vacuum the carpet dry with a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or commercial vacuum cleaner capable of extracting water.

Step 5

Repeat the steps to clean the next section of carpet. Leave your car’s doors open so the carpet can air dry once you extract the water.

Inspect your car’s floor for odors. If you notice a water smell or any other lingering odor, repeat the steps until the odor is gone -- you may have clean your car’s carpet more than once to fully extract the water smell from your vehicle.

Cleaning Floor Mats

Step 1

Spray each floor mat with water to remove loose dust and dirt. Place the mats in a large bucket or tub. Fill the bucket or tub with water and add 1/2 cup of carpet and upholstery shampoo.

Step 2

Agitate the mats in the tub with your hands. Scrub each mat with the scrub brush -- scrub both sides until the mats are clean.

Step 3

Spray the mats with water to remove the soap solution, dirt, debris and odors until the water runs clear. Vacuum the mats dry.

Let the mats air dry on a clean surface and check them for odors. If you still notice a water smell or any other lingering odor, repeat the steps until the odor is gone. Once the mats are odor free, placing them back in your car.


  • You can also use carpet and upholstery shampoo with an odor deodorant to clean your car’s seats, headliner and kick panels. Odors, including water smells, can live in other areas of your car -- complete the steps in this article to clean any areas you notice an odor emitting from.

Items you will need

  • Trash bag
  • Wet-dry vacuum cleaner or commercial vacuum cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Carpet and upholstery shampoo with odor deodorant
  • Warm water
  • Stiff scrub brush
  • Latex gloves
  • 2 large towels
  • Water hose with sprayer
  • Large bucket or tub

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