Removing Mold and Mildew from Your Leather Car Seats: Follow These Steps

              Leather Car Seats

If you’ve had a leak or a major spill in your car that went unnoticed for even just a few weeks, you might be dealing with mold on your leather seats. It’s a pretty common problem, but it’s serious! Breathing in mold and mildew isn’t just unpleasant, but can be bad for your health, too. Read on to learn more in this article of shine armor blog!

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Here are 4 steps to cleaning mold or mildew off leather car seats.


  1. Mix Rubbing Alcohol and Water

This mixture is tough on mold and mildew. It will kill any of the bacteria and clean the surface at the same time.

  1. Wipe and Scrub the Affected Area

If the mold has been there for a longer amount of time, it might take more time to scrub away the stubborn mold.

  1. Air-Dry or Hand-Dry the Leather

We don’t recommend using heated drying on your leather seats, as this can weaken and age the leather. If you need to use a hand dryer, keep it in cool air.

  1. Use Baking Soda for Lingering Odors

Baking soda will help pull out any of the remaining odor that you weren’t able to remove with the alcohol and water mixture.

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What Causes Mold in Cars?

Mold and mildew begin to grow in your car when a surface gets wet, either from a spill, a leak in your car, or even just environmental moisture that is trapped in your car. If this moisture doesn’t fully dry quickly, you’ll get a nasty mold surprise in no time. If you live in a humid climate, this will happen even faster

Where Can Mold Grow in Cars?

The more porous and absorbent a surface, the easier mold and mildew can grow. For example, the plastic on your dashboard is a hard surface, and much less likely to have mold growing on it. But leather seats, fabric, upholstery, and flooring are all absorbent places where mold is likely to grow. If you suspect that there is mold in your car, look at these places first:

  • Under the floor mats
  • Under chairs
  • On fabric or leather seats
  • In your trunk

What Does Bleach Do to Leather Seats?

Never, under any circumstances, should you use bleach on leather seats. Bleach and ammonia-based cleaners will damage the leather, leaving the color bleached and ruined, and drying the leather out excessively. If you’ve already used bleach on your leather seats, quickly use water on the seats and soak up the water with a cloth. You may have to re-stain the leather and use a conditioning treatment soon after.

Will Lysol Spray Damage Leather?

Lysol might not cause immediate damage on your leather seats, but it will dry your seats and cause cracking, discoloration, and other permanent damage.  Avoid Lysol spray or Lysol wipes when cleaning your leather car seats. Instead, use a gentle soap diluted in warm water on a microfiber cloth. Finish up with a leather conditioner to avoid drying.

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