In general, the car AC might have some different smells from time to time. However, when the car AC smells like mold, you know there’s a problem.

In this guide, we will cover how to get rid of mold in a car air conditioner. Not only will we look at how to clean mold from the car AC, but we will also cover how to prevent mold in the car AC.

What caused the mold in the car air conditioner? Mold is a fungus. As stated by the EPA, mold is not an issue unless it grows indoors, such as in your car’s cabin.

As moisture increases, mold thrives. A properly functioning air conditioning system should remove the moisture from the air, but if something is malfunctioning, it can contribute to the problem. In fact, many people aren’t aware there is a drainage issue in the system until mold presents itself.

Signs Of Mold In Your Car’s Air Conditioner

  • Bad Odor
    The first sign you will notice is a bad smell. Mold in a car AC unit can lead to a distinctly unpleasant smell, similar to what’s found when you walk into a dark, dingy basement.
  • Blockage Of Cold Air
    Another reason to clean the mold from a car AC is that the air conditioning strength is reduced. As the mold builds up in the system, there’s less area for air to flow, leading to a blockage.
  • Difficulty Breathing Or Reactions
    According to the Center for Disease Control, mold can lead to breathing trouble and adverse reactions. These might be more prevalent if you are already suffering from allergies, asthma, or some other respiratory distress.

How To Get Rid Of Mold From Your Car’s AC (Easy Cleaning Steps)

Do you know how to remove mold from a car air conditioner? Once you’ve identified the cause, you want to kill mold in the car air conditioner. Start by gathering these supplies.

  • Anti-bacterial mold cleaner
  • New car air filter

Once you have these items, follow these steps to learn how to clean mold in the car air conditioner.

1. Dry Out The Vehicle

Mold needs moisture to thrive, so you must dry out the interior first. Park your vehicle in direct sunlight and open all of the windows. Allow the air and heat to dry up the moisture that still exists.

2. Use A Car AC Mold Cleaner

With the anti-bacterial car AC mold spray of your choice, mold is treated and stopped. You should spray it in all of the vents and pay close attention to getting it on the evaporator, which is where many of the smells come from.

3. Change The Air Filter

Your cabin air filter is responsible for removing contaminants from the cabin. However, if mold has been growing, you need to do more than simply learn how to get mold out of the car air conditioner. Put a new cabin filter in to get a fresh start. Thankfully, these don’t cost a lot.These steps will help you figure out how to get rid of mold in the car AC. However, you want to keep the mold from growing in the first place. Once these steps are done, you will want to have the air conditioning system serviced to ensure everything is working the way it should.

Related Article – Learn to Clean RV AC Filter

How To Prevent Mold Growth In Your Car’s AC

You don’t want to know how to remove mold smell from the car AC but would rather prevent it in the first place. To reduce the chance of mold forming, you want to run the fan of the system after using the air conditioning. Don’t use the defrost setting because this is also using the AC. Instead, just turn it to the fan so the evaporator can dry.

Avoid using the recirculate function as this keeps moisture in the system. Instead, bring fresh air into the system to keep the evaporator dry. Cleaning the car AC evaporator can also be an option. Finally, ensure maintenance is up to date. Keep a fresh cabin air filter installed and have the air conditioner serviced regularly.

Related Article – Car AC Cleaning Guide

Health Risks When Exposed To Mold

The mold in the car AC and health ailments are closely related. With mold in the system, allergies can be dramatically triggered. Additionally, if you suffer from asthma, you might notice more problems while you are in the cabin of the vehicle.

Overall, exposure to mold is linked to serious respiratory concerns. It’s also possible to suffer from sneezing, red eyes, a runny nose, along with a skin rash.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

How quickly does mold grow in the car’s AC?

In the right conditions, mold can grow in just 12 hours. Within 10 hours of the growth, you might start to notice the musty odor that causes you to learn how to get rid of the mold smell in the car AC system.

Is it safe to spray Lysol in the car vents?

You can choose a variety of car air conditioner mold cleaner products, including Lysol. If you use Lysol to clean car air vents , you can spray it into the air vents and air intake vent for a fresher smell.

How much does it cost for a professional to remove mold in a car?

If you aren’t sure you want to remove mold from the car air conditioner at home, you can have a professional detailing service performed. Depending on your vehicle type and the severity of the mold, this might cost between $50 and $200.


It’s time to remove the mold smell from the car AC. While the process is simple, it could also be helpful learning how to test for mold in the car AC, so you know what you are dealing with. With a bit of preventative maintenance, you can avoid this situation from happening at all, so take charge of your system’s health.

Josh Mitchell


Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

My Favorite Home Appliance?

Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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