Last month I completed installation of the new top on my 26 touring. Despite poor instructions I was able to wade through it with only a few false starts - generally I am happy with the top but I have a problem.
The top has been on about one month. A few weeks ago I detected a musty odor in the garage (unheated). I sprayed some Lysol around and turned on the fan. This morning I again smelled the odor and looked inside. I found the top straps, the windshield flap and several places scattered randomly over the entire inside surface that had powdery mildew. This is all on the inside surfaces - nothing outside. The car has never been outside of the garage and there are no leaks in the garage - it is Louisiana and it is a high humidity area. Also, the tour car has no windows so ventilation should not be a problem.
My questions are:
Has anyone experienced this problem and if so, did you figure out the cause, how did you remove(clean)it and what did you do to prevent it from re-occuring?
Shucks James, that's disappointing.
A mixture of Potassium Bicarbonate & water is recommended to get rid of Powdery mildew on plants, but I honestly don't know how it would affect your fabric.
Look at this link for ideas:
Any way to get the car out into the sunlight? Mother Nature's sun's rays will kill it (the mold)...
how's the ventilation in the garage - maybe more air circulation is needed in there.
If there is no other problem with mildew in your garage I'd suspect the top was contaminated with mold spores when you got it. Maybe from storage in a warehouse somewhere. For me, I'd wipe it down with diluted bleech and keep it ventilated. Beware, some bath/shower mildew cleaners are quite strong and can affect the material.
I had this problem. Check this post
Mildew is a way of life here in Florida. But there an easy cure if it continues to plague you.
We pay homage to the mildew gods with a fan.
Simply use a box fan on low speed in the back seat when your not driving the car. Set it at an angle so that it blows up towards the top. On low, power cost is negligible.
Good strong white vinegar should work also.
I don't know what it would do to the fabric works on Leather.
James, if you have a place to put a small window air conditioner, 5000 or so BTUH will keep the mildew away, just let it run and it will keep the air dry, i use a small portable unit as i don't have any windows in my garage a don't want to install one, they have a subcooler so there is no condensate running down the wall or dripping, too large of a unit and it will not remove moisture as it will just cycle off.
Actual experience... Done this many times in the past ten years with excellent results and no issues:
Plain, original Lysol is what I have been using with excellent results. I have used it on stinky, mildewed tops and upholstery in barn cars, as well as on parts like seats and doors that I have purchased over the years. I will not put something inside my garage, even to work on for someone if it even smells like mold. Generally, one big can will do an entire touring car. Park the car outside in the shade on a day with no breeze. First wash the car and the outside of the top with a teaspoon or two of Dawn dish soap in a gallon of warm water (many Fire/Flood/Water damage remediation companies use Dawn dish soap and water as the first step in removing visible mold). If you have vinyl upholstery, you can wipe the upholstery down too. Rinse & hose down the body and chassis as best you can and then allow to dry. Spray the Lysol like you would spray paint something. You should apply enough so the surface is completely covered, but just barely damp. Spray the entire inside and outside of the top, remove the seat bases and spray them inside and out, spray the seat backs, door panels, etc. The mold & mold smell should be gone in a day, if it is not, then re-treat those areas until it is. I have used multiple cans and sprayed down the exterior and underside of some cars that had severe mouse and mold issues and have had excellent results.
The Lysol smell generally disappears completely in about a month, or sooner if there is very good air circulation.
An update on the mildew problem. Your comments were all good and helpful. Prior to your post Adam, in response to the link Dave provided, I assumed since Mildew is a living thing I would try Lysol (It kills 99.99% of bacteria according to them). I sprayed all of the effected areas and allowed it to set overnight. The next morning the visible stuff was gone. Using 409, a fingernail brush and paper towels I cleaned the entire interior. I again sprayed Lysol over the entire interior.I connected two grow (plant) bulbs (65 watt) in the back seat shining up on the top interior and left them on all day and night. Not a sign of mildew remaining.
I have and will use the air conditioner as Rick suggested and for extra assurance, the fan as Bud suggested - LA is like Florida. I think I will leave "homage to the gods" as my last resort.
Many thanks to all.
Larry Bohlen, I asked for some advice several months ago for what looks like mildew/mold on my leather seats and never got a response. The leather seats were redone about 50 years ago and they look great even today except for the whitish blush on some of the seats. Have you tried your suggestion or is this a remedy you heard about. I am reluctant to try something without having someone tell me that is what they used and it worked without a problem. Please let me know and thanks, Dick C.
I recall my father using diluted white vinegar to clean mildewed leather like gloves and old boots etc. Now I Googled this and got some conflicting info, some folks say use it by mixing half water and half vinegar in a spray bottle and spray on and wipe off dry and then use a good leather cleaner or saddle soap. There are several references to horse tack and cleaning these types of items. Then there were some that said it could ruin the leather, I never saw that and maybe it could at full strength so use at your own peril. I would try it in a small spot that is not to visible.