Until we see it or smell it, we rarely think of mold as a problem that can occur in our car. Most people wouldn’t even put it in the top ten of car issues to worry about.
But that’s why mold is a treacherous enemy.
Molds are like spies hiding in plain sight. They aren’t a threat until they’re activated. And it doesn’t take much to flip their switch.
They can also spread like crazy under the right conditions. Mold in car seats or carpet isn’t just unsightly, it can be a literal eyesore if you have allergies. It can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and skin and cause other health problems.
To deal with it, we need to know our enemy. Let’s examine how mold can grow in your car interior so you can avoid it.
If you try to picture the ideal home for molds, it would be a swamp. A swamp is wet, dark, and surrounded by vegetation. These are the three major requirements for mold growth.
There are different genera/species of mold that may inhabit the surfaces of your car’s interior. Some, like the Aspergillus and Penicillium species, are dangerous to human health. They release ochratoxin A which has been linked to renal diseases.
Water is the source of all life on our planet. It is not surprising that moisture is one component that mold needs to thrive. What’s surprising, though, is how small the amount of water it requires to multiply.
There are many opportunities for moisture to accumulate inside a car. Even just high humidity can provide a damp environment that’s ideal for mold growth. Moisture could also come from condensation due to a faulty AC, leaving wet clothes on the car seats, or because of someone spilling their drink on the carpet.
As a living organism, mold needs a food source. The nutrients that can sustain molds can be found in the materials that make up your car’s interior.
Mold will feed off any organic material such as paper, fabric, wood, leather, and even dirt. The carpet is an excellent breeding ground because cellulose and dust trapped in the carpet are sources of food.
You should also check your glove compartment if you smell molds but don’t see them anywhere else. The paper from currencies or the car manual that you keep inside the compartment could be ground zero for molds.
Mold in Car Interiors Grow Under the Cover of Darkness
Molds prefer dark places but darkness isn’t a requirement for growth per se. Mold can live in both light and dark environments. But mold grows faster in dark areas because mold hates the sunlight.
Sunlight can dry out the moisture that’s crucial for mold survival. The ultraviolet radiation also has a sanitizing effect that can prevent the proliferation of molds.
Slaying the Monster
Like a monster from a horror movie, mold likes wet and dark places and eats indiscriminately. It can also creep up on you. Before you know it, you have mold in car seats, carpet, and almost every surface in your car interior.
But mold isn’t an unkillable enemy. All it takes to get rid of molds is a good wash. If you have a mold problem, you should know “who you gonna call.” We’ll bust those molds in no time at all!