How To Remove Mold & Mildew From Car Exterior

Walking out to your car and seeing mold growing from is enough to concern anyone.

There are 3 types of contaminants that you’re likely to see growing on the exterior of your car, these are algae, moss and mold. The first two are pretty easy to remove, whereas the mold can be a little trickier, especially if it’s “Artillery Fungus

In this article, I’ll tell you everything that you need to know to remove mold from your car exterior as well as how to prevent it from happening again.

how to remove tree mold & Mildew from car paint

Unless you’re working on a car that’s been sat in a damp barn for years, removing mold and mildew is a straight forward task, it’s almost like a regular wash.

To complete this task, you don’t need anything special:

Even then, you can probably get away with performing a two bucket wash with a strong shampoo, all-purpose cleaner or degreaser.

Follow the steps below to learn exactly how I would do it:

  1. Remove large contaminants – Before even thinking about using water or products to clean the car, I want to make sure any leaves, branches or mulch is removed from the car.

    Normally these things are much harder to remove when they’re wet, so it’s best just to get them out of the way.

    Most of the time they’ll gather in the scuttle panel, on the roof, or in any other panel gap. Make sure not to drag these across your paint, they could create scratches.

  2. Pre-Wash The Car – For most, pre-washing the car is a must. Whether you pre-wash it with snow foam, traffic film remover or another product doesn’t matter.

    If the vehicle is covered In stubborn dirt or grime, it makes sense to use a pre-wash that will loosen up the dirt and lubricate the panel to prevent scratching.

    After you’ve performed the pre-wash stage and rinsed the car off, you should already see the mold, mildew, and algae starting to come off the vehicle.

  3. Perform A Contact Wash – Depending on how much mold is remaining on the car, you may want to use a stronger product than shampoo.

    Using a strong shampoo such as CarPro Reset or Meguiars NXT Generation Car Wash is normally enough, however, you may want to use an all-purpose cleaner or degreaser for the areas that are badly affected.

    Make sure to clean the wash mitt as you go, you don’t want to keep dragging contaminants across your vehicle as you work.

    Once you’ve gone around the vehicle, rinse it off and see what mold remains.

  4. Spot Clean Any Remaining Mold – If you performed a full wash by now and there is still mold remaining, the best solution is to try and spot clean the area.

    If you performed a wash using shampoo, the next logical steps would be to use an APC solution, degreaser, or even bug & tar remover.

  5. Dry The Car – Once I’m satisfied that all of the mold is removed, I’ll wipe away any remaining product and dry the car.

    You may not be finished though! If the mold has sat on the car for a long time, it’s probably left behind etching. To remove this you will need to clay bar and polish the car.

    Using a Dual Action Polisher would be the best option, but you can also remove swirls and etching by hand.

If you’re on a budget, you can use “ItStillRuns” guide which will tell you how to remove mold from car paint using only household items.

While it’s much easier and safer to use the products and equipment I listed above, I appreciate that not everyone has the means to do so.

how to remove mold from car window trim

One of the most common problems you’ll face when detailing older cars or barn finds is mold and mildew growing on plastic trim.

As a result of road traffic film and other general dirt building up, the plastic trim begins to oxidize leaving you with natural growth on your car window trim, door moldings as well as many other areas.

Cleaning and restoring the trim can be incredibly tedious, however, it’s very important that you make it look good again. A dirty, moldy, fading trim piece detracts massively from the overall look of a car.

Using the products, equipment, and methods below, you’ll be able to bring car window trim and other trim pieces back to life.

Now, before you use the steps below make sure that you’ve washed the area and tried to clean it properly. You may find that with a proper clean, you don’t actually need to use a magic eraser.

That being said, the steps are fairly easy and it’s very hard to get it wrong.

Just make sure that the magic eraser doesn’t touch the paint as you work, I use my finger as a guide but you could even use masking tape to block the painted areas off if you wish.

  1. Saturate your magic eraser pad Use a soapy solution or all-purpose cleaner and spray the bar a couple of times. This will provide lubrication and stop you from causing any unnecessary damage to trim.

  2. Rub the trim using your eraser pad – After you’ve applied some soapy water or product to your pad, rub it back and forward on the moldy trim to clean it. Make sure to angle the block or pad so that it doesn’t scrub your window or paintwork.

  3. Wipe away the foamy residue – Once you’re satisfied that you’ve removed the mold from the trim simply wipe away the foamy residue that the eraser bar created.

    I personally like to rinse the area and then wipe it with a microfiber drying towel, preparing for the final step.

  4. Apply Plastic Trim Dressing – While the magic eraser bar does a great job at cleaning the mold from the trim, it will probably still look a little dull and faded.

    Applying Chemical Guys VRP, T1 Tire N Trim or Meguiars Hyper Dressing will help to bring it back to life.

Removing Artillery Fungus / Shotgun Fungus

Artillery Fungus, also known as shotgun fungus, is not that common. However, if you do happen to find it on your car, you came to the right place.

This fungus or mold can be easily confused for tar spots and vice versa. The fungus is usually found in wood type mulches and can shoot its spores for up to 20 feet.

As much as it’s annoying, it’s rather cool that a plant can make your car dirty without even touching or even being close to it. That said, It’ll also make you think twice about parking within 20 feet of plants or trees.

Cleaning artillery fungus from your car is a process of elimination. You should start off by trying traditional methods, but you’ll probably end up having to use paint cleaners or even plastic razor blades.

You should always start off using the safest method first and progressively work your way up to the most abrasive.

The general idea is that you should get rid of these as soon as possible. The quicker that you do it, the less risk that is involved.

My process for removing artillery fungus after washing a car is:

  1. Spray All-Purpose Cleaner onto the Panel
  2. Clay bar the majority of the fungus
  3. Remove any remaining artillery fungus using my finger nail or plastic razor.

It’s not a nice process, however, it gets results and that’s all that really matters.

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