After the new car smell has faded and your own scents begin to fill the inside of your car, you start to get used to the scent, like the one in your home. Imagine opening your car door and being greeted by a mildewy musty smell that no ordinary car air freshener can remove. Follow our guide to learn more about the cause and how to get rid of damp smell in car interiors.
Because we drive our cars almost every day, we’re bound to notice both subtle and very obvious changes in the scents inside. This is thanks in part to our noses, which can detect nearly 10,000 different scents (and odours)! Sometimes our noses are graced with delightful scents like fresh linen, fields of flowers, or the ever-popular new car smell, while other times they’re subjected to less pleasant smells like rotten food or spoiled milk. What causes these smells? A human’s sense of smell is the product of three different elements, and when combined, can produce a smile or a gag depending on what’s creating them.
The three elements that make up the sense of smell are:
Molecules, neurons, and memory - these are the three components of a smell that, when combined, allow you to smell something pleasant or disgusting. If your car smells like the latter when you take the wheel, there’s a good chance there is mould and mildew growing in your car.
Mould is a fungus. When mould exists in the interior of your car, it will attempt to reproduce by emitting spores in the air, and as we’ve just learned, molecules make up one of the three key components that comprise a smell.
Mould can be introduced into your car in a number of ways, but a damp, enclosed area with over 50% relative humidity is the ideal breeding ground for it to spread and continue to release its musty-smelling spores. To make matters worse, mould colonies love a warm environment, and if the inside of your car is subjected to temperatures between 25 °C and 50 °C, there’s no telling how large the mould and mildew colonies can become.
If you’re attempting to find the source of a mould infestation in your car - your upholstery is a great place to start. Mould colonies prefer to grow in porous materials such as foam, felt, leather, and other surfaces that cover the inside of your car. Mildew, another culprit of musty smells in your car, prefers the opposite and can be often found on non-porous surfaces like the vinyl on your dashboard and interior plastic trim.
If you’re wondering how mould or mildew might have had the opportunity to call your car home, look no further than things we often leave in our cars, such as food and clothing:
Musty smells in a car can be experienced by even the most diligent person. Sometimes, the culprit is unknown and has nothing to do with spilled drinks or soggy clothes. For the same reasons, water-based damage can also cause mould and mildew to spread inside your car. This type of water infiltration isn’t always the easiest to spot in your car, making it difficult to pinpoint the source of your car’s musty odor. Here are some things to check for:
Now that you’re aware of all of the reasons why your car has a musty smell, it’s time to take control and fix it. Read on to learn how to remove musty smells from your car.
Although easier said than done, getting rid of the smell caused by mould and mildew in your car requires stopping the mould from growing. This is where air fresheners fail - they only mask the odour caused by mould and mildew, but do not stop it from spreading in your car. The first step is to identify the source of moisture in your car - whether it’s an old pair of gym socks under the passenger seat or an old beach towel in the boot. Once you’ve found the culprit, there are only two steps left to successfully remove musty smells from your car.
Another way to ensure that the musty smells in your car are gone for good is to blast it with our Odor-X Whole Car Blast. The Whole Car Blast emits a fine mist that spreads throughout your car and deodorises hard to reach areas of your car.
Now that you’ve kicked the mould and mildew out of your car, it’s time to ensure they don’t reappear. By removing the three things mould needs to thrive from your car - food, heat, and humidity - you’ll discourage it from colonizing your car in the future.
If your car doesn’t smell like it belongs to you, taking these steps can help restore your car’s once clean, relaxing environment. By using our products, you can eliminate musty odours and get rid of mould and mildew from your car once and for all.
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