How To Dry Wet Car Carpet (Try 2 Effective Ways)

Cleaning dirty and wet carpets in my automotive

Having a wet carpet in your car can be quite an uncomfortable experience. It can leave your car smelling musty and damp – not the ideal odors for a confined space.

The most common reason car carpets get soaked is getting caught out in the rain with your window open. Another common reason is, of course, having a toddler.

However, whatever the reason, getting your car carpet wet is not uncommon so the solutions for this are fairly straightforward as well.

In the following sections, we’ll explore a few ways in which you can dry your car carpet and keep it that way.

What Causes Your Car Carpet To Get Wet

Before we get into the methods by which you can dry your car carpet, let us first understand what causes it to get wet in the first place. Understanding this will allow you to tackle the problem more effectively.

Internal Leakages

It’s not only rain and other external factors that can cause your car carpet or carpets to get wet, it could be due to an internal issue as well.

Internal leaks usually take place towards the front of the car owing to the malfunctioning of a component.

These leaks could be because of issues with the heating or air conditioning system. Often, an issue with the air filter too can cause leaking towards the frontal floor space of your car.

If the issue is with the air conditioning, it’s usually because of a clogged drain tube and if it’s because of the heating system, it’s because of coolant leakage.

An issue with the heating system is the harder one to remedy as it could indicate corrosion within the internal components.

On the other hand, an issue with the air filter is usually indicative of an improperly fitted lid which can be taken care of quite easily.

Exterior Leakages

Exterior leakages are the main culprit behind car carpets getting damp or soggy. If your car has been through a storm while you’ve had your windows down or have been in a convertible with the roof open, it could take ages for the carpets to dry by themselves.

However, getting the carpets wet in the rain is not always due to driving with your windows down. It could also mean that you have a damaged window seal or door seal if you’ve had your windows up throughout the drive.

A damaged door or window seal is not the only culprit here. A damaged windshield could be at fault too. You can identify that your windshield is the problem if you can spot any water on your dashboard.

If your car has a sunroof, it would be wise to check the seals on this as well as these do weaken more often than you’d think.

Best Ways To Dry Your Car Carpet

In this section, we’ll discuss the most effective ways of drying out your car carpet. Following these steps can help your carpet dry quickly and draw out any odors as well.

Get Rid Of The Water

The first step towards drying your carpet is to get rid of the water in your car before it gets absorbed into the carpet(s) completely.

If you find more than an inch of water on the floor, you’ll want to use a mug or a vacuum cleaner to get rid of as much of it as you can.

Try and work your way into tight spaces between the seats, armrests, etc. to ensure you get most of the water out. Once you do this and can’t see any signs of standing water, you can work on soaking up water from the carpets.

A unique trick to get rid of the excess water is to use cat litter. We know, it sounds strange but it’s effective all the same. All you need to do is cover the wet area of your car with cat litter for about a couple of days and let it stand.

You can clean up the litter once the carpet is dry. Though it sounds contradictory, this method helps get rid of the damp odor of the wet carpets and can clean them as well.

A simple yet effective way to dry your carpets would be to use cotton towels to soak up water.

These towels are powerful at absorbing moisture and they’ll mop up the thin layer of standing water that’s remaining after you’ve gotten rid of the rest.

You may need several towels to soak up the water quickly so don’t hesitate to use as many as you can. Keep working till the towels seem almost dry.

Some vehicles have drain pugs too to ensure that water can flow out before it accumulates on the floorboards. Check and see if your vehicle has them and open them as quickly as you can if it does.

Ventilate The Interior

A simple way to ventilate the interior of your car is to open the doors and windows as wide as possible. You can even set up industrial fans to blow air through the rows of your car.

This will greatly speed up the drying process and give you a clean, dry car as quickly as possible. Make sure you position the fans in such a way that they blow the air from one side of your car to the other.

It could take at least a day or more with the fans on and the doors open for the carpets to dry completely. However, this method is quite effective as it helps dry your car seats as well if they got soaked along with your carpets.

All the moisture in your car will dissipate within a couple of days if you follow this method. To make this method even more effective, you could set up a dehumidifier in a closed space like a garage and keep it on while the fans are running.

The fans working in tandem with the dehumidifier will ensure that you find no traces of moisture in your car after two days of effort.

In case you don’t have access to a garage or don’t have one at home, you can use your car’s heater to replicate the working of fans.

However, using the heater is not nearly as effective as using the fans and should only be used if you have no other option.

Even if you do use the heater when you’re away from home, you’ll need to ventilate your car and use fans once you’re back to make sure all traces of dampness are gone.

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Prevent The Formation Of Mold And Odors

So, you’ve soaked up the excess water, used fans, a dehumidifier, and a heater, and ventilated your car to dry the carpets. These efforts mean that you won’t have to deal with mold, right?

Wrong, there could still be some traces of moisture in your car that could be conducive to the formation and growth of mold.

Apart from mold, you may find your car smelling quite musty as well. In this case, it doesn’t matter if your carpets are dry or not, anyone entering your car is sure to feel uncomfortable with the lingering odor.

Do not try to mask the odor in your car using an air freshener or incense sticks as these are only temporary solutions. Instead, work on getting rid of the residual moisture.

You can use baking soda and other household items to draw out the odor and have the interior of your car smelling normal again.

You can sprinkle some baking soda on your carpet and let it sit there for about an hour or two. Then, you simply vacuum it to find the odor and dampness fade away.

Alternatively, you can use a detergent over the carpets. A detergent not only cleans the carpet and rids it of bacteria, but it also helps get rid of the mustiness as well.

When you use a detergent, you’ll need to pour it over your carpet and scrub it with a brush to get rid of any damp stains completely. You can use a towel and fan after you use the detergent to get rid of any stray powder.


In conclusion, getting your car carpets wet is not as big a deal as it seems to be. Panicking won’t help and is of no use here as the solutions to this problem are quite simple and effective.

These tried and tested methods won’t take up much time and don’t require all that much effort either. Working fast and getting as much standing water as you can out of your car is the key to ensuring your carpets dry quickly.

Drying your carpets requires simple tools such as towels and fans alongside handy household materials such as baking soda and detergent. Using these properly can rid your carpets of both the moisture and odor of stale water.

As mentioned in a previous section, your carpets can become wet due to both internal and external factors.

If a leak is caused by an internal issue, it won’t do to just dry your carpets, you’ll need to fix whatever caused the leak as well to avoid further damage.


Written by Kane Dan

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