Cleaning up water damage in a Toyota here on Long Island, NY.

Easy Clean Up Tips for Handling Interior Water Damage

Posted at Fri, Nov 22, 2019 10:15 AM

Interior water damage is not something drivers often have to deal with, but on the rare occasion it does happen, it can be a real nightmare to deal with if you’re not properly prepared. Even though receiving interior water damage is an infrequent circumstance, we here at Westbury Toyota firmly believe that it’s always better to be prepared and to that end, we put together an easy-to-follow guide. We’ll walk you through each step of dealing with water damage inside your car so that you’ll have the mess cleaned up before it becomes too much of a problem.

Understanding the Damage Water Can Do

The amount of damage your car incurs from water on the inside will vary depending on just how much water there is. In the event that your vehicle’s been flooded, for example, there will be a great deal more cleanup required, sometimes to the point where you may need to call upon a professional. If, on the other hand, you simply left your windows open overnight and it poured rain, the clean up is probably something you can tackle on your own.

Water can have all kinds of unpleasant effects on your car interior, say the writers of Car Brain, including:

  • Rusting the seating track.
  • Leaving behind mildew and mold on all surfaces.
  • Causing issues in the electrical systems for the power windows, locks, and seats.

Clearly these are all things you want to avoid and in most cases you can, provided you start the clean up process as quickly as possible.

Remove Remaining Water

The first step is using a wet/dry vacuum to get rid of any water that’s sitting in your car. This includes not only the floor but also the seats, consoles, arm rests, and any other place where water can pool. To make this process easier, check to see if your car has drainage plugs in the floor (some models do). If it does, you can unplug them in order to assist you in getting rid of the water. If there’s not enough water to warrant the use of a wet/dry vacuum, use shop or cloth towels to soak up water on seats and the floor. Use paper towels only as a last resort as they aren’t anywhere near as absorbent as cloth.

Increase Air Flow Through Your Car

Even after using towels and a vacuum, your car will still be damp. The next step is to dry everything out, which you can do by opening all windows and strategically placing fans on the seats or floor in order to hit the dampest spots. You want to increase air flow as much as possible to expedite the process. It’s a good idea to set up a dehumidifier in your garage to help with this step as well.

Once the interior seems mostly dry, give it a thorough inspection in order to locate areas that are still damp. Target these areas with a handheld blow dryer and once you’re done with that, explains the experts of Napa Know How, apply a moisture absorbing substance such as baking soda to problem areas in the interior, most notably under and behind the seats.

Give it a Thorough Cleaning

If your instance of interior water damage is a bad one, you’ll probably have to deal with mold and mildew. These nuisances take hold very quickly, which is why it’s important to start the cleaning process as quickly as possible. You can purchase cleaning products meant to eliminate mold and mildew in stores, but you can also make your own mixture using hydrogen peroxide and water.

Using a cloth and/or brush, apply the mixture to the interior floor carpeting (and to any stains on the seats). Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, say Maria Scinto of It Still Runs, in order for the mixture to penetrate the carpet and kill any mold spores. Once that’s done, just follow the step above for airing out your car to get it to dry.

Taking Care of Wet Situation

If your car interior gets drenched because you forgot to roll up your windows, it’s not the end of the world! Following our guide will help you dry it out, clean it, and reduce the risk of mildew or mold. It’s hard work and time-consuming in some instances, but by doing it you’re ensuring your Toyota’s interior stays in good shape with no lasting damage.

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