How to Clean Mold Off Leather Car Seats? – 3 Methods

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean mold off leather car seats

Noticed some unpleasant-smelling, unsightly mold on your leather car seats? You need to get rid of them fast before they can cause allergic reactions or health problems and serious damage to your car’s interior.

You have different options for how to clean mold off leather car seats. You can create a mold remover for car interior with readily available household items or use a specialized leather cleaner.


Ways to Get Mold Out of Leather Car Seats


#1: Rubbing Alcohol and Water Method


What to Prepare:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Container or bucket
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum cleaner

Step 1: Create the Rubbing Alcohol and Water Cleaning Solution

The rubbing alcohol and water should be combined following a one-to-one ratio. Exactly how much of each ingredient you should use would depend on how much mold is on your leather car seats.

For example, if there is only a small area or two that has mold, you may only need a cup of each. Combine them in any container or bucket that can hold the right amount you need.

Step 2: Scrub Affected Areas Clean With a Microfiber Cloth

Take a clean microfiber cloth and dip it into the cleaning solution. Rinse the cloth slightly if it’s too wet. Then, scrub until you finally get mold out of car seats.

Step 3: Blot the Area Dry

Use another clean, dry microfiber towel to thoroughly dry the area you worked on. Press it well against the surface to completely soak in all the moisture.

Also, make sure to go over creases and seams with special attention, as moisture tends to end up and accumulate in these areas.

Step 4: Sprinkle Baking Soda on the Leather Car Seats

If an odor remains on your leather car seats, sprinkle baking soda all over them to remove mildew smell. The baking soda would soak up the unpleasant odor.

It’s recommended to leave the baking soda to work for at least 10 hours, then you can vacuum it.

#2: Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Water Method


What to Prepare:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Small container
  • Spoon
  • Microfiber cloth or sponge for solution application
  • Microfiber cloth for wiping of solution
  • Water

Step 1: Create a Cleaning Paste With Baking Soda and Vinegar

In a small container, create an anti mildew solution for car by combining baking soda with vinegar in a 2:1 ratio.

Step 2: Apply the Cleaning Paste to the Affected Areas

Using a microfiber cloth or sponge, apply the cleaning paste to the affected areas. Leave the paste on the surfaces for 5 to 10 minutes to work on the mold.

Step 3: Wipe the Surfaces Clean

After letting the cleaning paste sit and work on the moldy surfaces, take a clean microfiber cloth and dampen it. Then use it to wipe the surfaces with the cleaning paste and mold residue.

Repeat steps two and three until you finally get rid of mold in car seats.

#3: Specialized Leather Cleaner Method


What to Prepare:

  • Specialized leather cleaner
  • Microfiber cloths

Step 1: Do a Spot Test With the Specialized Leather Cleaner

To see if the specialized leather cleaner is safe for your car seats, do a spot test on an inconspicuous area on a seat. Apply a little amount of the cleaner onto a microfiber cloth, then dab the moistened cloth on the leather.

Leave the cleaner on the test spot and let it dry to see if it has any adverse effect. If there is none, you may proceed to clean with it.

If you’re using a concentrated formulation, don’t forget to dilute it as per the product instructions before doing the spot test.

Step 2: Apply the Specialized Leather Cleaner

How to apply specialized leather cleaners would differ among products. Some leather cleaners would need to be diluted first, then should be wiped onto the surface with a microfiber cloth to clean off the mold.

Some leather cleaners, on the other hand, allow easier cleaning by spraying them on the affected areas, spreading them with a cloth, leaving them to sit for a few minutes, and wiping the affected areas clean.



What Causes Mold in Cars?

It’s important to know how to remove mold from car interior, but it’s best to prevent it in the first place. There are a couple things that can cause mold in a car, but the main cause is moisture. Check out the list below and see what you should avoid.

  • Rain Water Getting in Through a Window or Sunroof Left Open

A window or sun roof that was left open or not closed all the way can give you mold problems, as when it rains, water can enter the car through them. That would make the car wet inside, which would cause mold.

  • Spilled Drinks or Food

If you’re the type to often drink or eat in your car, there may be chances of accidental drink or food spills. And when such spills are not dried or cleaned off immediately, they can be a cause of mold growth.

  • Not Drying the Car Interior After Cleaning With a Cleaning Solution

If the car interior is left moist or is not thoroughly dried after it has been cleaned with water, mold can grow on the surface. Always make sure to dry the car interior thoroughly after cleaning to prevent mold growth.

What Does Mold Do to Leather Car Seats?

Not only is mold disgusting, it can also cause health problems and permanent damage to leather car seats if you don’t get mildew out of car seats immediately. See the adverse effects below.

  • Discolor Leather Car Seats

Mold often tends to look like white stuff on leather car seats. Sometimes, it also makes surfaces appear lighter or darker.

  • Make Leather Car Seats Smell Bad

Mold gives off a revolting smell that resembles rotting wood, and the longer it’s left to grow, the worse the odor is. Moreover, mold may give you headaches, asthma, and an itchy throat.

  • Damage Leather Car Seats

Nobody likes to spend money on repairing car seats, especially people on low budgets. That’s why it’s important to remove mold before the fungus creates cracks in the leather.

How Often Should You Clean Moldy Leather Car Seats?

Car seats must be cleaned of mold immediately and be maintained with routine cleaning. For regular vehicles, sanitizing the leather once a month would do; this would remove not only mold but dirt and other contaminants.

If almost all areas of your car have fungus, call professionals to remove mildew from leather car seats right away. The cleaning business will tell you the maintenance frequency you should adopt.


Mold growth in your car interior is something that must not be ignored or left to wait. Now that you know how to clean mold off leather car seats, get your leather products and tools and start cleaning before the mold gets worse.

Each car seat material has different properties, so cleaning each type is different, here are some of our tips for each type, click to learn more.

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