Dealing with rainwater in your car can just be the absolute worst! Whether you left your windows open during a rainstorm or it was flooded, both situations can leave permanent damage to your vehicle without immediate action.
As water quickly deteriorates the leather, fabric, and any metal inside your car, there’s also the risk of mildew and mold growth if it’s left to sit for any longer than 24 hours. It’s likely that it’s already been sitting for a few hours before you found it, which is why it’s most important to take action right away.
The best thing to remember is to remain calm and know that you don’t have permanent damage just yet. Here are some tips to help you dry out your car as quickly and effectively as possible.
The very first step towards drying your car out from water damage is to remove all standing water. The faster you do it, the better. You can use a wet/dry vac to remove it, especially between all cracks and corners, and between the seats, armrests, and center console.
Then use shop towels to soak up the rest of the water from the carpets and seats. It’s always better to stick with the cloth than paper towels since the cloth towels are more absorbent. You’ll also want to see if your car has drain plugs installed in the floor to drain out any trapped water.
Regardless of how much water you get out of your car, the fabric will always be damp to the touch. So how do you get rid of the remaining moisture? Start by grabbing a few fans and positioning them so they blow air across the car floors and seat. A shop vac is best but keep the car doors open wide and leave the fans running for at least a day inside the garage. This will help to remove any of the remaining moisture.
A dehumidifier is also good to run in the garage if you keep the garage door closed so it takes out as much moisture as possible.
If you’re not at home and don’t have access to all the fans or a dehumidifier, no worries. Just blast the car’s heater to create the drying effect. While it’s less efficient, it’s a more temporary fix than having to sit in a damp, wet car that probably smells musty.
Even after removing the standing water and moisture, there’s always a chance that mold can grow. Any area where the moisture remains, mold can feed off the fabric and moisture, creating that mildew or moldy smell in your car. And it won’t go away until the mold is removed, so don’t think about using any air fresheners.
The best way to remove any remaining moisture is to go over each area of the car with a blow dryer, followed by applying some moisture-absorbent products like baking soda. Leave them inside of the car between each seat and they will slowly remove the remaining moisture from your car’s cabin.
If you have already found mold in your car, you may be able to remove small amounts with vinegar and baking soda. Just be sure to use the right equipment like gloves and eye wear as the mold spores can quickly spread and trigger allergies and breathing issues.
Do not drive the car anywhere unless you have to. If you do, it’s highly advised to wear a mask to avoid breathing in mold spores.
When you are ready to remove the mold, apply a small amount of baking soda followed by a bit of vinegar to the affected area and scrub generously. You may have to repeat the process a few times, but this will ensure all mold spores are removed, otherwise they will continue to return.
If you feel overwhelmed with the cleaning process or continue to find the mold growing back in the same spot, you may need to remove the carpeting within the car to fully remove the mold. Otherwise, a mold remediation professional can remove it for you. Regardless of what you decide, it’s important to have the mold removed as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading and triggering allergies and breathing issues.
Again, dealing with water damage in your car is never fun, but we’ve all left our windows open during a rainstorm and it’s the most inconvenient situation to come back to. Whether you’re driving home from work or heading into work, it will definitely make you late!
But these situations do happen on occasion and it’s best to take care of them right away to prevent the damage from spreading any further. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of water damage and/or mold damage within your car, it’s best to call for professional help.
If you are located within the Mt. Sterling or Quincy, IL areas, ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration provides both water damage restoration and mold removal services to help remove water, moisture and mold from vehicles and homes.
Our professionals are available 24/7 and will respond right away as they understand the urgency of the situation, using professional water extraction equipment to fully remove all standing water from the car.
They will then use high-powered dehumidifiers and air movers to remove any remaining moisture and/or dampness in between the seats, center console, and trunk of the car. Anti-microbials will be applied to prevent the spread of any mold growth during the drying process.
In the event of mold damage, we will be happy to use professional products to remove mold at the source. Just keep in mind we may need to remove areas of the carpet to fully remove the mold source.
Following the service, we will work with your insurance adjuster during the claims process, if needed.
Don’t hesitate to contact ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration at (866) 801-2653 for emergency water damage restoration and/or mold remediation services near the Quincy and Mt. Sterling, IL areas.