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Removing musty smell from my Stude

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  • Removing musty smell from my Stude

    Hi guys,

    I found NOS carpet for my 65 Commander. I put it in my car and it created a musty smell. It didnt help that it was stored in a slighty damp garage. I just moved it into my new heated garage and want to begin work on the car again. My plan is to clean the door panels and seats well, vacuum the carpet well. What can i do to permanently remove the mildew smell? Im thinking of using an ozonator, but am concerned ill damage the original interior and carpet? This is a very original car so I dont want to damage it. Thanks.

    Nate

  • #2
    Ideally you could remove carpet and make sure it was totally dry and odor free before reinstalling it. Laying it in the sun would probably help. If you don't want to remove it I'd first leave doors open and use fans to dry it as much as possible. But realize problem is most likely with the backing which I believe is jute. Then you could liberally sprinkle carpet with baking soda. Work it in and then vacuum thoroughly. Finally spray with Fabreeze.
    Last edited by rbisacca; 07-14-2019, 10:23 AM.

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    • #3
      If it was the new carpet causing the issue It would be simplest to pull it back out; how easy is that?
      Then lay it out (elevated) to thoroughly dry. If you can lay it out on a dry day in the bright sun the suns UV rays can kill the spores the mold grows from. Mold requires humidity to survive. While it's laying out sprinkle it with baking soda. There are powdered products intended to absorb odors but I think most of them are just baking soda with added perfumes. Letting nature do its job may require the least labor and expense.
      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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      • #4
        Hey guys,

        Thanks for the response. The rear carpet came from Starlite which means that it sat in the Studebaker factory for years. Im guessing thats where it picked up the mildew. The front section came from a collector who had it in his garage, so that could also be the issue. I actually am taking the interior back out of the car to lift the body off the frame to paint the frame, so thats not a big deal. I replaced the jute padding on the front section but not the rear. So I have new Jute for the rear carpet ready to go.

        Thanks for the suggestions. I will plan on pulling the carpet and seats out and I think I'll clean the carpet very well and allow to sun dry before putting new jute backing in. I guess Im concerned that I introduced mildew into the rest of the interior? Should I be worried that I now have mildew behind the headliner, etc? I'm planning to pull the door panels and clean behind them.

        Thanks again guys,
        Nate

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        • #5
          Over time the right combination of ventilation and dry condition will take care of the problem. The question is how much time are you will to allow, or for some of us how much time do we have.

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          • #6
            Before you start tearing the car apart, try opening a bag of charcoal briquettes and leave it on the back floor. If you leave it there for about a week, you will be surprised at how much of the dampness and odor is gone. The charcoal absorbs odors and dampness. Be sure to have a large garbage bag under the bag of briquettes, so you don’t discolor the carpeting.
            sals54

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            • #7
              I bought a 69 Barracuda back in the late 80's that had a bad, musty smell. I sprayed Fabrise on the carpeting & headliner & the smell went away, never to return.
              59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
              60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
              61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
              62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
              62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
              62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
              63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
              63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
              64 Zip Van
              66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
              66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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              • #8
                I've heard that spraying it with white vinegar and then covering it with baking soda will kill it. After dry vacuum it good to remove the soda.

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                • #9
                  Your hardware and/or auto parts store also sells desiccant products specifically for extracting moisture from enclosed areas. Very useful for vehicles in storage.
                  Click image for larger version

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                  "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                  Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                  Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                  sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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                  • #10
                    A lot of SASCO stuff got a little damp from the leaky roof. I would lay it out on a hayrack and give it a nice shampoo. Let it dry and then let it dry some more. Put it back in and if there is still an odor Arm and Hammer makes a baking soda carpet sachet that cover up the smell!

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