It’s happened to the best of us: you leave your car’s windows open on a nice day to air out, then forget to close the windows. The next morning, you get to your car to find that it’s rained overnight. Water damage can cause lasting problems and lingering odors, so it’s important to know how to clean wet carpet in a car.
How to Clean Wet Carpet in a Car
In reality, there are many reasons carpet in a car can become wet. Storm damage, flood damage, and even DIY carpet cleaning can lead to wet carpet.
Water damage is a problem anywhere, but can be especially bad in cars. After all, cars are designed to keep water out. They’re enclosed spaces without much ventilation when the engine isn’t running. As if that’s not difficult enough, the carpet lining in a car isn’t removable; only the floor mats can be taken out to dry.
In an ideal world, you could wait to deal with the wet carpet for a nice stretch of days. The reality is that you need to clean the water damage as quickly as possible. It only takes a few hours for mold, mildew, and strange odors to take hold.
What you’ll need:
- Covered area for your car to dry
- Shop vac
- Towels, washcloths, or shop towels
- Fan (or fans)
- Baking soda (optional but recommended)
How to Clean Wet Car Carpet in a Car:
- Move the car somewhere that is covered, such as a garage, carport, or under a tarp, to avoid more water getting in.
- Open the doors, windows, and, if the trunk is affected, the trunk as well. You may want to consider disconnecting your battery to avoid battery drain.
- Remove the floor mats and trunk mat, if you have one. If water is in your trunk, you may want to consider removing the spare tire cover, jack, and spare tire while the area is drying out. Set these aside to dry.
- Use a shop vac to remove as much of the excess water as you can from the cabin of your car. Repeat on the floor mats and in the trunk, if needed.
- Soak up any additional liquid using towels.
- You’ll next want to get the airflow moving. The last thing you want is for excess humidity to build up in your car. Set up a large fan – or fans, if you have them – facing into the vehicle to keep the air circulating. Ideally, leave the fan running overnight. You may need to let the car dry out for a full day depending on how wet the area is.
- Leave a box of fridge-friendly baking soda in the car. This will help absorb any remaining humidity and deodorize the car as well.
How to Deodorize a Car After Water Damage
Deodorizing a car after water damage takes time, but is doable. These three tips can help get your car back to normal.
Option 1: Baking Soda and a Vacuum
Once your car carpets are dry, sprinkle baking soda over the affected area. Let sit for at least half an hour, then vacuum. Repeated as needed.
Option 2: Charcoal Briquettes
Place a generous handful of natural charcoal briquettes in a bowl or berry basket, if you have one. Do not use briquettes that have been pretreated. Set this near the affected area. Leave the charcoal in the car for 2 – 3 days. Replace the charcoal and repeat as needed.
Option 3: Professional Cleaning
In some cases, you may need to take the car to be professionally shampooed and cleaned. These services range in price, but can usually remove those unpleasant ‘wet car’ odors.
Water damage in a car can cause a lot of problems in the long run. If your car has experienced water damage, call T3 Atlanta for an inspection. We can identify any potential issues following water damage, which can help save you expensive repair costs in the long run.