Sitting down in the seat of your car and reaching for your seat strap only to find it covered in mold and mildew is certainly not something anyone wants to deal with, but it happens.
So what are you to do, is the mold on your car seat strap dangerous, why did it get moldy in the first place and how can you get rid of it completely?
In this article, we will be answering these questions and more, so keep reading to learn everything you need to know about removing mold on car seat straps.
To remove mold from a car seat strap, make a paste of baking soda mixed with water, apply, work into the affected area using a toothbrush and leave to dry. Once dried, vacuum the area to remove any leftover powder and mold residue. Baking powder will kill the mold, and remove odors and stains.
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Why are your car seat straps moldy?
Your car seat strap is not immune to mold growth, as it can provide just the environment needed for it to flourish. Mold only needs a few things in order to start growing, these are a source of moisture, nutrients, and the correct temperature range (between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit).
As you can see, these requirements could be easily met within a car, and on the seat strap even more so. All it would take is a little spilled drink to provide the moisture, some crumbs or dead skin cells to act as the nutrition, and for the car to be parked in a garage, providing the correct temperature ranges.
Mold can begin to grow within 24-48 hours once spores have settled, this is why it is especially important to clean up any mess made as quickly as possible, but more on that later.
How to tell if it is mold on your car seat strap
Car seat straps can get dirty very easily, especially if you have children riding in the back. Luckily, determining whether you have mold growing or if it is simply leftover fast food that didn’t quite make it to someone’s mouth is fairly simple.
The growth you see will generally come in a number of color variations, namely, white, black, grey, green, orange, or red. There are also mixes of colors you may spot, such as bluey-green or off-white to grey colors.
The more common textures of mold are often described as being velvety, powdery, or slimy in some circumstances.
Is the mold found on car seat straps dangerous?
It’s commonly understood that mold can be hazardous to the health of humans and animals, but some variations can be more dangerous than others.
Molds that are black in color have the potential to be toxic, but so can some white strains. It is more the type of mold rather than its color that should be the determining factor when investigating its toxicity.
Of course, this cannot be done by sight alone and would need to be tested in a lab or with home testing kits for accuracy.
Many molds have the ability to produce a metabolite called mycotoxins as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened. If inhaled or ingested in large enough quantities or over prolonged periods of time, they can cause a variety of symptoms, some of them potentially life-threatening.
Some of the more common symptoms of mycotoxin exposure are as follows:
- Fatigue (In rare cases)
- Runny nose
- Skin irritation
Individuals that are particularly sensitive to mold and its spores, can suffer from asthma attacks, liver damage, and potentially even death in extreme cases.
The mold you have found growing on your car seat strap could also be entirely harmless. The point here is that without proper testing, you should never assume a type of mold is either safe or dangerous by sight alone.
For this reason, should you decide to tackle the situation yourself, you should always use the correct safety equipment to ensure you do not come into contact.
Advised safety equipment would include a breathing mask, rubber gloves, and protective goggles.
How to get mold out of car seat straps
When it comes to mold removal from the fabric of your car seat strap, you have a few options available to you.
For pure simplicity’s sake, you can use detergent and warm soapy water to remove the mold, however, I do not believe this to be an effective method, as mold has roots that can be buried deep into the fabric and may return. And simply using detergent may not be sufficient to actually kill the mold, and baking powder is a very affordable and reliable method to do so.
Baking soda kills mold by exposing it to a highly alkaline environment. It also rapidly produces carbon dioxide, which breaks down the structure of the mold, essentially dissolving it.
To remove mold from a car seat strap, use the following steps:
Step 1. Apply a baking soda paste
Using 1 tablespoon of baking soda, make a paste with a little water. Spread the paste over the affected area, ensuring that it is completely covered.
Step 2. Work the paste into the affected area
Scrub the affected area using a soft-bristled brush, (such as an old toothbrush), to work the paste into the fabric.
Step 3. Allow the paste to do its work
Leave the paste on the affected area until it has fully dried. Baking powder will not cause any discoloration or damage, so do not worry about it being on the strap for a prolonged period.
Step 4. Vacuum and tidy
Once fully dried, use a vacuum to clean up any powder and mold residue. There will be no need to use detergent on the area, as baking powder produces no scent.
Can you use bleach to kill mold on car seat straps?
The short answer to this question is that technically, yes, you can use bleach on a car seat strap to kill mold, however, I would heavily avoid doing so.
Bleach is a very powerful mixture of chemicals that can indeed kill mold, but can also discolor and damage the fabric of a seat strap. Considering it is an important safety device, you should never use anything that could weaken its integrity.
How to prevent mold growing on car seat straps
One of the most simple methods of preventing mold growth on car seat straps is to keep them as clean and dry as possible, ensuring any spills are cleaned up and dried as soon as they occur.
Running the ac will also help to reduce the overall moisture levels in the vehicle, making it harder for mold to grow. Parking the vehicle in an area where it receives direct sunlight will also help to prevent mold as the UV rays will kill it and its spores.
Another option for keeping the moisture levels down in your car is to place a few bags of activated charcoal in seat pockets, in the glove compartment, and in the trunk. These will help not only absorb excess moisture but also remove unpleasant odors too.
To make life a little easier, I’ve placed a few links to Amazon where these can be picked up really easily, clicking on the links will take you directly to the Amazon store.
How to remove the smell of mold on a car seat strap
Mold is not only unsightly and potentially dangerous, but it comes with a terrible smell. As discussed, using baking powder to clean the mold will nearly eliminate the odor but there is more that can be done.
To speed up the process of odor removal, open up a few boxes of baking soda and leave them open in the vehicle, the smell associated with mold will disappear within a few days.
If your vehicle is kept in a secure location (such as a garage), you could instead leave the doors and windows open to allow a supply of fresh air. This will allow the smell to diminish within a few hours.
Mold on a seat strap can be potentially hazardous to your health, and any passengers riding in the vehicle. Fortunately, it is easily resolved with a little elbow grease and baking powder, and prevention can be as easy as keeping the strap clean and dry.