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Is Mold Riding with You in Your Car?


Have you ever stopped to think that mold may be an invisible passenger in your car or truck!?  As we know, mold is found virtually everywhere outside and inside but is it traveling with you too?

Your car, like your home, has an environment to welcome mold growth – carpet, upholstery, plastic, and an air conditioning system.  These factors along with the presence of moisture, temperature and poor ventilation makes it highly likely that mold can become your unwanted travel companion. 

Mold cross-contamination can happen easily by bringing in mold spores from dirt, grass, leaves, and plants or from mold contaminated clothes, shoes, and home items that are transferred into the vehicle.  You can regularly pass mold spores back and forth between your home and car.

It does not take long for mold to grow and cause problems because the car when off, does not have ventilation or airflow, temperatures rise, and is tightly sealed.  If parking in a garage or carport then additionally the car lacks sunlight exposure.  Given the right conditions, mold can start to grow in approximately 12 hours.

Some examples and situations that can cause mold to grow in your car are listed below:

  • Spilled liquids
  • Left food or crumbs
  • Damp or wet clothes, shoes, towels, umbrellas, and beach items
  • Open or cracked windows during inclement weather
  • Cleaning of upholstery with inadequate drying time
  • A humid environment
  • Condensation or moisture issues from leaky hoses or seals
  • Air and cabin filter or air conditioner cooling coil
  • Flood or hurricane damage
  • Trash or clutter such as papers and wrappers
  • Dark, damp, and moldy enclosed storage locations

In some cases, and certain car models, a faulty air conditioning unit may be the source of the problem.  These units can have a draining issue or slow leak that drips water into the system and causes bacteria and mold growth which in turn can cause ongoing negative health symptoms from the poor air quality inside your vehicle.  If this happens, it is best to check with your state laws and contact the manufacturer about the problem as this issue cannot be resolved with any remediation tactics taken.

Proper maintenance, care, and diligent cleaning practices helps to keep the potential for mold growth at bay.  Some proactive steps are:

  • Keep your vehicle free from trash, food, and clutter
  • Wipe up spills and any moisture immediately and make sure to dry completely
  • Use plastic bins to carry frozen food, wet items or items that could leak
  • Use plastic floor mats instead of carpet mats
  • Keep regular and proper maintenance and checks for air conditioning units, leaks, and seals and change air filters and compartment filters regularly
  • Make sure all car windows and doors are shut and sealed properly

Remember, mold is everywhere and can be transferred by people, items, and air and spread rapidly. If you think you have a mold issue in your home or have concerns about your indoor air quality, calling a certified mold assessor for testing is a good idea.

At Coastal Air Assessments, we work our way from the outside in, first identifying potential issues at the exterior of the home that could be causing poor air quality inside the home. Our Mold Assessments and Air Sampling Tests are timely, accurate, and a true asset for Florida homeowners. We’ll provide a detailed indoor air quality assessment that will get to the root of a potential mold issue and identify sensible solutions so that you and your family can breathe a little easier. Contact us today for your free consultation.