First of all, a pox on whoever thought it was a good idea to put carpets into vehicles that are marketed to people who have little kids!
My van carpet has mold. My van is 5 years old, and last summer we started to have mold. Someone spilled a juice AND it was covered up by something else and when I finally cleaned out the layer of garbage, mold spot. There are actually several moldy spots now. Is there something I can use to kill the mold? I imagine it is all through the rug. I kind of wish I could just cut the carpet right out of the vehicle, but first of all, I have no idea how I would accomplish that, and second, I don't know what is underneat the carpet. It might be just bare metal.
Anyway, I would appreciate any suggestions about this, as it was above freezing for the last two days, so the mold smell is starting to come back. Ug.
I think what I would do is, take the seats out of the van if you are able, Use a shop-vac, to remove as much debris as possible. Use some type of cleaning/disinfectant product and a scrub brush to loosen everything up, shop-vac it again.
There are commercial automobile carpet cleaning products available, but I also just read one place that said to use a bucket of water with some dish soap and vinegar in it, which would be a lot less expensive. I'd probably use a lysol product with water.
Another option would be to rent a upholstery carpet cleaner/extractor.
After you are done, blot it with old towels to remove any additional moisture. You want to do this on a warm sunny day, so the carpet would dry thoroughly. Wet carpet on top of metal is not a good thing, especially in an enclosed vehicle.
You can just take it to a car hand wash/detailer place. They can take your carpet out and clean it for you.
If you just wanted them to take it out for you, you could take it home, hang it on the back fence, hose it down, give t a light bleach solution spray, lay it out in the sun for a few days, and then take t back to the detailer and have them put it back in for you.
Bleach solution and sunshine are the two things that kill mold. I believe the bleach solution only has to be one ounce of bleach in a quart of water.
You can remove the carpet yourself. It's usually not even glued down at all. You will have to carefully push it back in around the edges at the doors and such when it's clean and dry.
It's a whole lot easier to clean once it is out and flat on a surface such as a concrete driveway. And you can use a water hose to spray it down.
If it's light in color, I'd use a 10% bleach solution to kill the mold. But if it's dark in color, vinegar works just fine too. I'd use straight vinegar without diluting it. Leave it in for as long as you like, as it won't damage the carpet. An hour ought to be plenty of time. Then rinse it with the water hose & drape it over a sawhorse or step stools or garden chairs, even a fence, to let it drain well.
Leave it out in the sun as long as you can to let it dry out. If it's not dry by night time, you can let it dry another day outdoors or you can put it in the garage (if accessable) and point a portable fan at it and finish drying it out that way.
Loving v5, but of course, still getting used to it.
Man, I love this site. No scolding me for having mold or telling me that it's not good for us, as if I didn't know! I had been too embarrassed to ask anyone else about it, and then I thought why not try here, maybe someone will have an idea. And sure enough, you did! So thank you so much for the responses. It had never occured to me to think of the carpet as a part that could be removed. I live out in the country so there are no detail places anywhere near here, but I could probably get the dealership to remove it. I'm going to phone and see if the parts guy could give me an estimate and just getting it replaced. However, I expect it's a lot more than I can afford to spend, so I might just give it a try myself when it warms up more (where I live, it would be unusual NOT to get more snow in April or even May). If I can do it, I think I will just bleach the heck out of it. It is light coloured, but I don't even care about that. I plan to use this van up until there is no residual value anyway. At least, that was the plan, but then there was the mold and a few other things starting to go wrong. It's five years old and the loan is JUST finally paid off this month. With how nasty it is, I've been thinking about replacing it. Of course, that throws a really big monkey wrench into the debt repayment plans, since it is only now that we don't have the van payment that we can start paying extra on other things. Anyway, my point is that now I am thinking that if I could just get a few of these little problems fixed up, I might be happy with it again. And certainly, with 4 kids from infant to age 7, any new vehicle is going to get spilled on and thrown up in too.
So for now, the first plan will be to just get all the garbage picked up (I bet I fill two garbage bags), and then if the mold smell comes back again, I will maybe just pour some vinegar on those spots until I can make the big cleaning effort.
I have felt so awful about this ever since last summer, and now I am feeling hopeful that it can be fixed. Yay!
straight vinegar will initiate rust in metal I believe so take care if doing it in the car. oil of cloves - 1/4 tsp :1 Litre (a pint = .6litre) in a spray bottle is the solution for mold on walls etc.. not sure in cars.... then vacuum 24 hrs later. or edit for carpet = damp clean with clove oil solution, leave, scatter non iodised salt - sweep with broom before vac. that would be a potiental rust feast in a car also (instructions from Spotless2 by Shannon Lush).
not to use if pregnant. or have heart condition. wear gloves.
Something that could help in the short term if its not too big an area of mold:
Spray area with a clear antibacterial household cleanser that doesn't contain bleach, (the kind you can use to clean babies' highchairs or kitchen surfaces), leave that to soak in for a while, then use something absorbent to suck up all the moisture, leaving a sanitised, dry carpet. Bicarbonate of soda powder or cat litter both work well & can be hoovered or brushed up after a few hours or left overnight.
Thanks for the idea, getitdone. I had a relative here who is a mechanic, so I mentioned to him that I was going to take the carpet out of the van. He looked skeptical. He figured if I took it to a shop, it would probably take four or five hours to get it out. I'm thinking at least double the time if I try doing it myself. He also pointed out that there would be wiring into the drivers seat. He said it would be tricky, and that's from someone who knows what he is doing. So perhaps I will just be doing what I can to clean the rug while it is in there. Bummer. On the bright side, it has been above freezing for a few days now, and I haven't been smelling the mold yet.
Possibly the anti fungal essential oils may be the way to go. then instead of salt you could cover with whay we call wheat germ( not the processed wheat bran shapes) and brush with a stiff brush. that would be abrasive, then vacum up. It shouldn't do any harm at least. GL
Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
I googled cleaning mold from a car carpet and there are tons on cleaning hints- so that will be your easy method to find out the safe cleaning- the most important is getting rid of the mold spores and then getting the carpet completely dry- sounds easy and a fairly common problem- remember to dispose of the vacuum bag after cleaning so you are not dispensing mold spores into your home--
It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop."
Oh my goodness. Today we cleaned the van. Turns out I can't remove the front seats because they have side airbags and electronics hooked up etc. So I took out all the back seats. It was so gross in there. I actually got a kid's shovel to scoop up the crap that was under the seats. There were a few moldy spots, but not as bad as I thought it would be. However, the carpet is a nightmare. You know how if you spill liquid and food together it combines into a kind of mush and then it hardens into rock? Well, a lot of the carpet is solid rock from the spills. There is a lot of general cruddiness besides that. There were a few spots where the carpet was even damp, and I'm pretty sure that it wasn't even that something had been spilled recently -- there was probably just so much junk on the floor that it never dried. I vacuumed up as well as I could and then sprayed some kind of mold killer stuff that my husband bought on the mold spots, and I also liberally sprayed lysol all over, because I have had mice in the van. There was a mouse most of the winter (and I'd had a mouse the year before as well), and it had babies, which my husband had killed maybe a month ago. As I was putting the bigger stuff into the garbage bag (before taking out the seats), I noticed something fuzzy, and it was a dead mouse. EEEEWWWWWWWW. Fortunately, I have boys! So my 6 year old put the mouse into the garbage while my brother, who had stopped to visit, supervised. Don't worry -- used wipes and he had on gloves etc etc. Thank goodness, because I didn't even want to be near it. So I'm really hoping that that is the only mouse that was left. Tomorrow I will be liberally sprinkling peppermint flavour and dryer sheets around the van. It still stinks in there (stale pop smell, like at the bottle depot), and as I was putting the seats back in, I noticed that the metal bottoms were sticky, but by that point (several hours after starting), I was too tired to wipe them down. That might be where the smell was coming from. Oh well, the peppermint will cover it up!
My husband is starting to talk about trading the van in, but really, what with the nasty state of the interior (now completely wiped down, but still just in terrible shape) and all the other little problems it has, I doubt we would get $1000 on a trade in. Plus we just finally finished paying it off this spring, and I can't see starting up another vehicle loan (firstly because I don't think we would even qualify and secondly because We HAVE to get some credit cards paid off). Sigh. I really wish someone would steal it or smash it or otherwise seriously damage it so that we could get an insurance payout and be justified in starting over.
Oh well, I always expected to have the vehicle for at least ten years, and if it is another 5 years before we replace the van, we should be past the stage where kids puke all over the van. That hasn't been great for the carpets either.
Good work, Maggie! And those kids' shovels can be really handy, can't they. When you have it sorted to your satisfaction, do you have any other mats that you could put down over the worst bits? That way you can simply throw out that layer if bad stuff happens again! Also, a lot of bicarb sprinkled between the layers will help with odour.
After defrosting the freezer one year, I put a layer of baking paper on the bottom of the freezer, and no ice seems to have built up on that part - and I put a teatowel on the bottom of the vegetable crisper and so now that is dead easy to just shake out - and if some poor vegetable should happen to turn to liquid in there, one sad day, it will be easy to remove - so as you can see I am a fan of putting an extra layer to make cleaning easier regards, Lizzie