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Old 10-05-2010, 04:01 PM   #1
CrashTestDummy
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Default help dealing with mold in stored cars

I've had the problem for a while, and haven't managed to find a real good solution. I have several cars that I don't drive for long periods of time. I've had them in storage units and now in our 3200 sq. ft. shop, again in storage. Because of the hot and humid, and then cold and humid climate in southeast Texas, the cars get some gray mold on the plastic parts, namely the steering wheels and door panels (where people tend to touch the interior of the car, or so it seems).

It usually takes a simple wipe down with a cloth rag dampened with Clorox and water, but I'd like to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. I've used Damp Rid in one of our cars that was stored in a particularly wet storage unit, but that has only lessened the problem, not stopped it. I've tried letting them sit all closed up, with the windows cracked, and all closed up and covered, but no solution yet.

The shop is about as sealed up as a steel shop can get. It has 20' ceilings and is insulated. We still get moisture in it, and when the weather turns cold, moisture will condense on the concrete floor.

Any ideas? I'd like to climate-control the place, but that's not yet in the cards, or my bank account. I'm thinking I may be able to cut down on the problem if I can get the air in the building circulated, and am considering installing ceiling fans. Does the collective here think that will help the problem? Thanks for any recommendations.

Gene Beaird,
Pearland, Texas
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:11 PM   #2
DPDISXR4Ti
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

Good timing on this thread, as I have precisely the same problem. I've owned this car for 17 years now - it's always put away on a lift for ~6 months a year, but I've never had this problem until just last year. I wiped everything down with a mildew remover last year, but when I pulled the cover this year, the problem was just as bad as last year (maybe worse).

Interested to hear any "treatment" suggestions before I put it away this year.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

As far as I know the only real answer is to dry them out and keep them dry. Either a dehumidifier or A/C in summer and enough heat in winter to dry the air is required - or drive the cars more often.

If the cars have A/C be sure to turn it off before storing them, and run the fan long enough to dry the coils or that will become a mold motel.
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

I have seen very large dissicant bags that are made to be put in cars that you store over the winter
another option is those really big bags you put the whole car in and then fill with an inert gas

have you tried a good cleaning and detailing before putting it away to get all the human oil,dirt, and shin cells off before storing

bob
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsanter View Post
have you tried a good cleaning and detailing before putting it away to get all the human oil,dirt, and shin cells off before storing
Well, that's where I was sorta going with this. I DID do that last year and it didn't really seem to matter. Maybe I should use something else this year?
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

Hears my story. I have two cars that have not moved in 25 years, I run a floor fan ( not the cheap box fans ) in front of the cars 24/7, years round. I have found in the early spring when it's warm and humid outside it's not wise to even open the side door of the building, the inside of the building is still too cool and this causes a problem no matter how many fans you run. I've always wonder if something like movie theater carpet might help with a cold bare cement floor, you could use any type of carpet but I think theater carpet would be cool.
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

Places that sell RV and Marine supplies usually have the small quart size and half-gallon size dessicant pellet pails that work really well and are not expensive.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

I use the chemical type dehumidifiers, the ones where you have a bag of crystals over a container and they turn into liquid, works well in a closed vehicle.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:45 AM   #9
Daniel Dudley
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

Run a light bulb in the car.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

If you think it is deposits left from hand contact that has provided the food for the mould you could try cleaning the normal areas when you put the car away.

Otherwise and old fashioned inefficient light bulb like Daniel says should help. A new low energy one would not be nearly as effective.
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:35 AM   #11
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

x2 on the light bulb
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:43 AM   #12
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

Is it the light and not the heat of the light that helps with this? I do cover my car when it's put away for the off season, so that could indeed be contributing to the problem.
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:24 AM   #13
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

The light bulb should help, what you are trying to do is keep the inside temperature of the car above the dew point of the atmosphere in the car, therefore no condensation. When it is super humid, the temperature/dewpoint might be 80/75 during the day, that air is in the car, now it cools off, the same air is in the car, but the temperature falls to 65, so the excess moisture in the air condenses.

This is why the fan helps, you are changing the air, replacing it so there is no air with excess humidity to condense.

Instead, I would seal the car as best I could (Close the doors, windows up, and tape a piece of foil over the air intake on the cowl) , and put in a baking sheet full of Drierite ( http://www.drierite.com/ ) . Drierite is a reusable dessicant, it is blue when it is fresh, turns pink when it's wet, put it in the oven to regenerate and it's like new again.

Inspect the Drierite weekly or so, I imagine it will last all winter, but you can always regenerate it.

Also, spraying Lysol spray on the surfaces before storage is probaly more effective and less harmful than wiping down with bleach. Lysol leaves a mold killing residue, bleach leaves a corrosion inducing residue.
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

You need air circulation.
In the building and in the cars.
Overhead fans on the celing or box fans on the floor.
It dosn't matter just so long as the air is moving around the cars.

If you cover the cars to keep the dust off, fine.
But keep the windows open about an inch and have some kind of mesh in the covers by the windows to let the air in and out.
Then a small fan (I like the 3 or 4 inch square computer fans) to move the air inside the car.

Mold only grows in stagnent air.
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:17 PM   #15
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

A heater can prevent dampness from occurring, and regular cleaning of your car can help also.
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:26 PM   #16
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

Odd, the cars with the inOp A/C are the ones with the worse mold problems. I'm concerned about putting a light bulb in the car and running it all the time. I do have those oil spill protection mats under these cars, and that doesn't help much. One of the cars has a cover, I haven't gotten a cover for the other yet, so keeping them covered with a regular car cover doesn't help any. The Damp Rid did help, but did not completely resolve the problem, and I checked it monthly.

Now, when I'm in the shop, doors closed or open, I run a floor fan. When it's cool enough that I don't need to have it blowing on me, I point it more floorward and out into the shop interior. I'm thinking this may be a good argument for a couple of ceiling fans. I bet that even in the dead of winter here, the air near the ceiling gets warm enough to actually make a difference inside, and, as others have indicated, the moving air will help, too. I need to get lights hung, so I'll just have them work some ceiling fans into the quote.

Gene Beaird,
Pearland, Texas
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:08 PM   #17
c_mccann
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

The mold is created when moisture cannot escape, moisture is created when the temperature fluctuates and created condensation, or the humidity is high. The light bulb helps stabalize the temp drops. A fan would just help move air. A good experiment is to take a dry, clean bottle and cap it tight and come back in a month, there will be moisture inside lilkely.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:10 PM   #18
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

I added a simple dehumidifier in my shop a couple years ago. Makes HUGE difference in the condensation in my shop. I had several times found my Bridgeport table dripping wet, then of course rusty.....

I typically use a car cover on my old Porsche 911 and leave a window down to let some air circulate. I also add a box of mothballs with holes punched in it in the trunk to keep the little critters out. That seems to work.

The dehumidifier isn't rated for my 2500 square foot shop, but it keeps up on the crappiest humid days if the shop isnt left wide open.
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Old 10-06-2010, 08:54 PM   #19
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

Leave the windows open. Problem solved.
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:03 PM   #20
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Default Re: help dealing with mold in stored cars

There is a product called "Damp Rid". It actually absorbs the moisture. It comes in different forms. Like a hanging bag, a bucket, don't know what else. It works. We put it in a closet in the basement that doesn't get any fresh air. Musty. It is now dry and smells fresh. A friend that told me about it uses it in his boat during storage, under the cover. No mold on the seats and floor anymore. You can buy it at Menards, Walmart and Farm and Fleet. Another good thing is, it's fairly cheap. I think you will be happy with the results.
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