A customer called looking to have the interior of his GMC Envoy detailed.  He said it was in standard condition, but might have gotten wet in the past from a window that was left down during a rainy day.  (He wasn’t kidding!!)  He dropped it off one evening and upon arrival I opened the passenger door to find mold, A LOT, that was embedded on the seats, and practically everywhere inside the SUV.  It was very obvious that we needed to show him how to remove mold from a car interior.  Below is a picture of some of the mold.  It is visible in the cracks and folds of the leather seat.  Just think of the mold spores that were floating around!

Mold on leather car seat

Mold inside a vehicle

The photo above is a close up of the passenger front seat, and one can see just how much mold is inside the car.  This particular mold case was actually one of the worst we’ve ever had to work on.

How to remove car interior mold

Take a look above at the mold that was on the rear passenger door just below the window.  If I’d have known better, it appeared that this car was found in a pond on a 100 degree day.  The entire car was full of mold.  The pictures don’t do this case justice.

Mold inside of a car

Looking at the photo above, there was even a lot of mold that was inside of the hand grips on the interior door.  Mold was EVERYWHERE.  It was time to get to work and remedy the problem.

cleaning an interior car door to remove mold

For this situation we started by spraying an all purpose cleaner to the inside of the door panels.  The product that we used in this case was Detail King’s Magic Cleaner diluted 5 to 1.  One part product to 5 parts of water.  It’s a great and powerful cleaner and doesn’t leave any residue behind.  After spraying the door panel we let it sit on the surface for a few moments.  This helped break down the mold, dirt, and grime.  Magic Cleaner is a concentrated all purpose cleaning product that is good for cleaning automotive interior carpets, fabric upholstery seats, plastic trim and vynal too.  It is also safe on windows and window tint.

Steam cleaning for mold removal

Now it’s time for some serious cleaning and sanitizing.  Our vapor steamer heats water to 320 degrees and creates steam that almost instantly dissolves dirt, grime, mildew, and mold.  The above photo shows this process.  The hot vapor literally melts away the mold, making it easy to wipe away with a microfiber towel, as the photo below shows.

removing mold from a car interior

Take a look at the two photos below.  This is the end result of using the cleaner and the vapor steam.  It’s eliminated the mold and dirt, and the door is now sanitized and free of mold spores and germs.

GMC Envoy interior door GMC Envoy interior door handle

As can be seen from the photo below, the leather seats in this car were practically destroyed by the mold, dirt, and filth.  There are many different ways to clean leather, and we are about to show you the most aggressive way.  We were instructed by the customer of the automobile to try to remove all the mold.  Well, we tried with our most aggressive techniques.  We again sprayed Magic Cleaner on the seats and let the product dwell for a few minutes.

remove mold from car seat

Below, the picture shows us using our vapor steamer to clean the leather.  We also have a triangular brush attachment for the hose end, but we proved that it wasn’t necessary to use it.  When necessary, the brush penetrates the steam into the seat and the bristles agitate the mold and dirt to the top of the surface.  Keep in mind, the steam doesn’t eliminate the mold and dirt, it brings it to the top of the surface making it very easy to remove.  Typically we do not use steam on leather, but in this do or die scenario, we decided it was best to use steam.  Without the triangular brush attachment, the steam by itself brought the mold and dirt to a state good enough to wipe clean with a microfiber towel.

Steam cleaning leather

Below is the finished product before leather conditioner was applied.  The seat definitely has seen better days, but the mold was removed and it was made to look presentable again.  The seat now needs a hefty amount of leather conditioner to not only condition, but to polish and preserve while providing a light barrier of moisture protection for smooth and finished leather.  To take things one step further, we opted to use our ozone treatment to remove all of the mold spores and whatever remaining mold that was left in the car that were couldn’t reach.  The benefits of using ozone is that it can reach everywhere in the vehicle such as the air conditioning ducts, the headliner, all the cracks and crevices.  This is an optional service and will soon be covered in one of our next Detailing Tips pages.  Thank you for reading!!

GMC Envoy gray leather seat