How to Remove Mildew Smells From Car Upholstery

by Mary Ylisela
car interior image by Christopher Nolan from

If you discovered mildew in your car and removed it but are still plagued by lingering mildew odor, it can be unpleasant to spend time sitting in your car. Mildew in your car's upholstery leaves a musty, damp odor reminiscent of a smelly, old basement. Because your car is closed up when not in use, it can make the mildew odor smell even stronger. Supplies found around the home can help effectively remove the smell of mildew in your car, rather than just covering up the odor.

Step 1

Pour undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray nonfabric upholstery sections, such as vinyl or leather, with the vinegar and wipe down. Vinegar is a natural cleaner and deodorizer.

Step 2

Work baking soda into the upholstery fibers where mildew odor lies.

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over cloth or fabric upholstery. Work the baking soda into the fibers of the upholstery with a soft scrub brush. Leave the baking soda to sit on the upholstery overnight so it can absorb lingering mildew odor.

Step 3

Your vacuum helps remove mildew odors after they've been absorbed.

Vacuum the baking soda from your car's upholstery. Leave the windows open for the remainder of the day, weather permitting or in an open garage, so fresh air can circulate through your automobile.

Spray your auto upholstery with a disinfectant spray. This will remove any last odor as well as kill any lingering odor-causing mildew.

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