Stachybotrys Chartarum [: fungi that grow in the form of multi- cellular filaments, called hyphae]
[Many moulds can begin growing at 4 °C (39 °F), the temperature within a typical refrigerator, or less. When conditions do not enable growth, moulds may remain alive in a dormant state depending on the species, within a large range of temperatures before they die. The many different mould species vary enormously in their tolerance to temperature and humidity extremes. Certain moulds can survive harsh conditions such as the snow-covered soils of Antarctica, refrigeration, highly acidic solvents, and even petroleum products such as jet fuel. Xerophilic moulds use the humidity in the air as their only water source; other moulds need more moisture. Mould has a musty odor.]
Mould in vehicle interiors is, unfortunately, more common than you would imagine. Although car manufacturers do their best to keep water and even moisture from getting into your vehicle, over time, seals wear out and eventually will start to allow water ingress, or something as simple as forgetting to roll up your windows or closing the sunroof during a rain storm
Without identifying and eliminating the source of the mould you can't get rid of it, there are many
Counteractant type products that only mask odours; what you need to do is remove, clean and thoroughly dry the whole area; carpets, and any padding or under-carpet materials, upholstery (inc. foam and etc.) that is affected, including the headliner and metal floor pan (don’t forget to clean/replace the cabin air filter).
There are hundreds of thousands of types of mould, but only about ten types cause health problems, commonly sinusitis, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions, as well as allergies. I would strongly recommend you wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) safety glasses, respirators; etc. inhalation of mould could be very detrimental to your health and can cause an allergic reaction
There are many Counteractants products that only mask odours; what you need to do is remove and clean and disinfect the whole area; carpets, upholstery (including the upholstery foam and etc.) that is affected, including the headliner and metal floor pan. Don’t forget to clean/replace the cabin air filter.
Remove the seats and thoroughly clean the carpet with a carpet cleaner and a disinfectant. Then let it air dry, or use a heater to ensure that they are completely dry. To neutralize mould use 10:1 Distiller water / (non-chlorine) bleach solution, use a syringe to inject the solution into seating foam, you may need to remove and replace the carpet padding.
Test the solution on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it will not remove the dye. Some carpet cleaning solutions also contain a fungicide
Chlorine Bleach - bleach labels will warn you that chlorine bleach will only be effective on a hard, non-porous surface. This basically means that chlorine bleach is not made to permeate a surface (soak in). Therefore, its disinfecting properties are limited to a hard surface like tile or glass. The basic problem is that to ensure survival, mould spores spread its Mycelia (roots) deep into a porous surface. Mould remediation requires a cleaner to reach deep down into porous materials to remove its Mycelia. The properties of bleach prevent it from soaking into these materials. The surface mould appears to be gone but bleach will only remove the green stain by bleaching it, and the internal mould and its Mycelia remains to grow back.
OSHA and the EPA have specifically advised against the use of bleach for mold remediation.
Bactoshield- is an all in one safe antimicrobial dry cleaner, stain blocker and deodorizer for carpets - http://www.4-c.co.uk/carpet-cleaning.html
Sporicidin® Enzyme Mold Stain Cleaner - concentrate is a blend of enzymes in a low foaming solution formulated to loosen and remove dried debris, protein, blood and mucin deposits. It effectively cleans both natural and synthetic fibres that have been soiled with organic and inorganic debris. Ideal for use as a pre-cleaner for mould remediation, and restoration applications
Clean the material using a steam extractor’s upholstery attachment, this will eliminate the bacteria that create mildew, ensure the carpets and upholstery is thoroughly dry before you re-install.
Microban Mildew & Mold Remover - an environmentally-safe, anti-microbial formula that destroys mould, mildew, and other bacterial odours on contact, when you cannot use chlorine The formula is a water-based, non-flammable bactericide, fungicide, deodorant and anti-microbial, all in one unique formulation
It eliminates the spores instantly and has a long-lasting, residual effect. It may be sprayed by hand on any surface or injected into carpet and upholstery padding with our hypodermic syringe. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved for both spray and fogging applications (cannot be shipped to CA)
Leather Upholstery – Leather Master’s Mold Remover (N-Nubuck / Alcantara®) (A-Aniline / Non-Coated) (P-Protected / Coated) you may notice dark or white blotches where two areas of the leather touch or areas not used.
If the contamination is not removed, the fungus will dissolve the leather, forming small pits. Just like mould and mildew contamination in other areas, you cannot wash or shampoo it away. This only makes the problem worse. The fungus is caused by living organisms that must be killed before the leather is cleaned. This product is effective in most forms of bacterial or fungus growth.
Carpets, Mats and Fabric and Vinyl covered upholstery Microban Mildew & Mold Remover is an environmentally-safe, anti-microbial formula that destroys mould, mildew, and other bacterial odours on contact. When you cannot use chlorine, Microban is a very effective solution. The formula is a water-based, nonflammable bactericide, fungicide, deodorant and antimicrobial, all in one formulation
Application - do not dilute, use full strength, apply via sprayer to porous surfaces until moist, no not over wet, brush into carpeting, allow to dry 10-20 minutes. Due to VOC Regulations Microban cannot ship to California
The presence of bacteria and mould in vehicle interiors
Dr. Charles P. Gerba and Sheri L. Maxwell set out to test the presence of bacteria and mould in vehicle interiors. There were 100 vehicles involved in the test in the states of Illinois, Arizona, Florida, California and Washington, D.C., to provide a good cross-section of climatic conditions across the country. The following lists some of the results of their testing’s. “Testing for bacteria and Mold” by Dr. Charles P Gerba and Sheri L Maxwell (Professional Car washing & Detailing – July 2009)
Most germs present:
1. Radio knob
1. Seat belt
2. Window opener
3. Steering wheel
4. Car seat
Places with most Staphylococcus. aureus (most common form of Staph infections:
1. Steering wheel
2. Seat belt
3. Cup holder
4. Dash board
5. Window opener
Most mould spores:
1. Cup holder
2. Food spills
3. Change holder
4. Dash board
5. Steering wheel
Cities with the most bacteria in vehicles (from a select sample):
1. Tucson, AZ
2. Oakland/Pleasanton, CA
4. Washington, D.C.
5. Tampa, FL
1. Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation, published by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) also contains valuable information
2. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides free brochures to anyone who asks.
3. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and a few other organizations can be considered unbiased and reliable sources.
4. The National Institute of Safety & Health (NIOSH) is also an excellent source of unbiased information.
Protect yourself, work safe. Respiratory Protection; mould spores represent a health hazard to your lungs and may cause respiratory distress so wear Respiratory Protection. Consult the current 3M Respiratory Selection Guide for additional information or call 1-800-243-4630 for 3M technical assistance hazard to your lungs and may cause respiratory distress. As in all things, allow common sense to prevail and proceed with due caution
Professional detailers – as your you’re dealing with health-related issues, bear in mind that we are living in a litigious society, so document the process / procedures used on this type of remediation.