How To Get Rid Of Mold In Car Air Conditioner? Simple Tips

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
10 min read

No air conditioning in a hot automobile is bad enough, but having a musty stench emanating from your vents is even worse in Australia.

Every time you use the air conditioner, you’ll be bothered by the offensive odor. A car’s air conditioning system may emit an unpleasant odor from a variety of sources. It’s possible that your air filters are unclean or that gas from your air conditioner is leaking. When it comes to air conditioning stench, mould is the most common culprit.

What is the problem with mould?


When mold grows in a cabin, it emits a musty odor that bothers other passengers. It gets worse as the mold spreads more and further.

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Spreads quickly

Fungus can spread quickly and become embedded in carpets and upholstery. Leaving a mould problem unattended for an extended period of time can result in the growth of spores and the development of a musty odor in the vehicle, even if the underlying cause is remedied.

Impact to health

  • Congestion in the nose
  • Throat discomfort
  • Wheezing
  • The eyes are irritated
  • The condition can create long-term health issues, such as asthma, in extreme situations.

People with mold allergies may experience life-threatening reactions, according to the CDC.

Mold in your car’s air conditioner can have a negative impact on both your health and your comfort.

The dangers of mold in your air conditioner

Mold spores can be easily ingested if they are developing in your home. In some circumstances, mold can cause skin irritation, as well as nose stuffiness, throat discomfort, coughing or wheezing, according to the CDC. Mold allergy sufferers may have more severe symptoms. Mold can cause deadly infections in the lungs in patients with impaired immune systems or chronic lung diseases such obstructive pulmonary disease.

The only thing worse than not having an air conditioner in your car in Australia’s hot environment is having a musty stench coming from your vents.

mouldy car air conditioning fix

Mold in your AC unit isn’t always more dangerous than mold in other parts of your home. Air conditioners are designed to cool a room, while HVAC ducts are designed to transport air throughout a whole home. As soon as they’re infected with mold, they’ll be able to disperse spores throughout the house. While you sleep, you’ll breathe mold spores from every room in your house, and you’ll get sick if the quantity of spores in the air is high enough.

How mold grows in air conditioners

Mold spores can be found in a wide variety of places. You can’t get rid of all the mold spores in your home, and even if you could, new ones would be brought in every time you opened a door or window. Unfortunately, this is the case. There are several health issues linked with exposure to mold as spores mature into mold, and these larger concentrations of spores are responsible. As a result, preventing mold from forming is the most important step.

Moisture and an organic food source are both necessary for mold growth. A leak or spill that isn’t adequately cleaned up might cause moisture, as can an environment with a high humidity level. As the most significant sources of condensation, the condenser and evaporator coils can leak water if not properly drained. As long as there’s enough food for mold to grow on, it can eat the surface it’s on, like wood or carpet.

Air conditioners and HVAC ducts are not ideal sites for mold to grow in the majority of cases. Mold can’t feed on the metal ducts and styrofoam passages inside window units. However, dust can accumulate in these areas, allowing mold to thrive.

How do I get rid of mold in my air conditioner?

Mold removal from an air conditioner can be tough, messy, and dependant on the type of device. Mold removal from car air conditioners, window air conditioners, and central air conditioners all require different resources. In order to protect yourself from mold spores, you should always work in a well-ventilated location while wearing non-porous gloves and a face mask with goggles.

It is possible to remove mold by using a household cleanser and a sponge or cloth. Mold can be removed without the use of bleach. Getting rid of mold that has grown on porous materials like wood or plaster will likely be difficult, as would removing mold from carpet or upholstery. Replace the moldy object or portion with something new.

If you notice microscopic mold spots appearing on the air direction vanes or grate of your window air conditioner, it’s usually too late to do anything about them. Just a little portion of what’s lurking beneath the surface. Cleaning the ducts, coils, evaporators and other internal parts of the unit may be an option, but there’s always the risk of missing a spot where mold can re-grow. A moldy window unit may necessitate the purchase of a new one.

Mold in the ductwork of your central air conditioning system will almost probably necessitate the services of a professional. To keep mold from spreading, the EPA recommends turning off the system as soon as you see it. Vacuuming and cleaning the ducts will be necessary, and this might become both expensive and time consuming if the contamination has spread throughout the system. Cleaning fiberglass, plastic, or lined ducts can be a real hassle. When dealing with mold in ductwork, the Environmental Protection Agency does not advocate using biocides or surface treatments.

Moisture draining from your car’s air conditioning system should keep it from becoming moldy, and the cabin air filter should remove at least some mold spores. The cabin air filter should be replaced as soon as possible if your automobile gets wet from a flood or if you leave your windows open in the rain. Your alternatives are limited if mold develops in the air conditioning system. With household cleansers and a soft cloth, you can remove the dashboard and clean most of the ductwork. If the ducts are really moldy, they can be changed, although the cost and work needed varies from vehicle to vehicle. It’s possible to spray chemicals into the air conditioning system to clean and kill mold, but their effectiveness is uncertain and any chemicals you put into the system will be blown back out for you to breathe.

Tips to get rid of the moldy smell in your car

Do not be alarmed, though, because eradicating the musty, moldy odor is a simple process. Though disinfectants like Lysol are readily available over the counter, they aren’t a long-term solution.

Defeating molds isn’t a difficult task, but it does need a lot of effort. has put up a list of tips for getting rid of the moldy smell in your automobile.

Tip 1: Remember to remove a possible source of food

Dead leaves, which are often found near or clinging to the air intakes, should be cleared out as soon as possible. In most cases, these air intakes are located near the windshield.

Any milk spills should be cleaned up immediately and allowed to air dry. This should raise a red flag for parents driving around with young children. Dispose of any leftovers right away.

The evaporator core of your car can be dried by operating the blower without the air conditioning for around 10 minutes. These single-celled organisms will be put off by a lack of food and a lack of habitat.

Tip 2: Make sure that the drain tubes of your air conditioning unit is all set and maintained

You can apply an anti-bacterial treatment to get rid of the germs that has built up behind your dashboard. This solution should also be injected into the AC casing. If you do this, allow the fan to run for around 3 to 5 minutes to dry the coils of water and moisture.

Tip 3: Take advantage of sprays

Vinegar and water can be used to generate an all-natural spray for mold and other unpleasant odors. Fill a spray bottle halfway with white vinegar and the rest with water.

Although vinegar may not have the most pleasant fragrance, it is an effective weapon against mildew and will gradually go away without the use of any dangerous chemicals. Adding a half-lemon to the mix will give it a much cleaner smell.

Spray your disinfectant liberally into all of your car’s vents, regardless of whether you made it yourself or purchased it over the counter. Concentrate not just on the dashboard, but also on the backseats and the vents under your feet while you sit in the automobile. It doesn’t take much for molds to change their habits, and if they can locate a moist spot to live in, they’ll do so.

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Spray your recirculation vent liberally with disinfectant and see if it helps. Do this when the air conditioning is on. As a general rule, it can be found either near the trunk or the console on the driver’s side floor of the vehicle.

Find a knob with arrows pointing to a ring. Stop taking in air from the outside and instead recycle your car’s air inside. In order to keep your cleaning solution in the system, use this button to spray it down the outlet.

How to Prevent Mould from Growing Back Again?

Keeping your automobile mold-free is easy if you follow these simple guidelines.

  • Mold thrives in wet environments. As a result, you should avoid it. Remember this when you’re putting your automobile in the garage.
  • Close all windows and doors completely.
  • Avoid taking food or drink inside the vehicle as much as possible. Preventing stains and food crumbs from falling on the floor and the seats will be achieved by doing this.
  • The best way to keep your home dry is to use a dehumidifier.
  • Clean and dry your car.
Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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