By Michael Mankarious
© Detailers Finest

If you have an odor coming from your car's air conditioner that smells like old gym socks or (gasp) urine, then you have mold in your air conditioner system. Don't panic. Put away the air fresheners, we'll show you how you can fix it with Klima Cleaner.

What You Need:



Every time you use your air conditioner, you are providing an opportunity for odor causing mold and mildew to grow within your air conditioning system. To explain how this happens, a basic explanation of how the air conditioner system works. When the air conditioner is operating, it pulls moisture out of your cars interior through a unit called the evaporator core, which is located underneath your cars dashboard. By pulling moisture from the air, the relative humidity is decreased allowing the air temperature to feel cooler. The moisture that is pulled from the air condenses and is drained outside the car. Ever notice a pool of water under your parked car on a hot summer day? That's the water that was drained from the system. This also happens to be the way home air conditioners work.

Even though most of the moisture is drained from the car, moisture still remains on the evaporator core and the box that the core sits inside of. As the air circulates around the evaporator core, dust and pollen in the air stick to the moisture on the metal fins of the evaporator. Soon thereafter mold begins to grow on the surface of the evaporator. This collection of grime and odor causing agents begin to release odor and is the cause of the smell coming out of your vents.



One way to help prevent or at least reduce this issue is to keep the air conditioner on the fresh air setting. This keeps fresh air circulating around the evaporator which helps keep it and the surrounding area dry thereby reducing the chance of any mold from growing. However, there are two disadvantages to this method. First, it's also not always convenient to switch to the fresh air setting in order to draw in hotter air to dry out the system. It just might be too hot or cold to be worth this extra effort. It's also not economical. Second, allowing fresh air to flow in increases the accumulation of dust, pollen and brake dust build up. Of course if you have a cabin air filter you don't have to worry about that since it will trap the pollutants before it reaches the evaporator area.

Another possible solution is to spray a disinfectant like Lysol into the ventilation system or have your car treated with ozone or other similar system. However, this process does not affect any dust, pollen and other contaminants that have accumulated on the evaporator. While it may disinfect any mold, mildew and bacteria, the results are usually short term.

Last but not least, you can have your system treated by the dealership. They will use Klima-Cleaner or a similar product and may charge $150 and higher for this service. This is the most effective solution but it can be expensive.


Solution: Klima-Cleaner

As we found, the best solution is to have the dealership treat your air conditioning system for you. However, it's quite expensive. If you are a do-it-yourself-er, you can use the same product they use. Applying Klima-Cleaner Professional effectively washes the evaporator core and the evaporator box that it's housed in removing any odor causing agents.  Klima-Cleaners effective foam solution emulsifies the debris build up on the evaporator core so it's cleaner and will run more efficiently.

Another significant benefit is the result of cleaner cockpit air.

For those who are highly sensitive to chemicals, rest assured that Klima-Cleaner is a water- and salt-based cleaner so chances of any skin reaction is extremely minimal.


Apply Klima-Cleaner exactly as directed on the product label taking caution that it may be best to have it applied by a certified mechanic if you are unsure about applying the product yourself.

It's best to apply Klima-Cleaner every six months. The easiest way to remember is to apply it every time you change your oil. We also suggest you change your cabin filter at the same time for optimum air conditioning performance and the freshest, cleanest air.

And don't think that Klima-Cleaner is only for the spring and summer. Applying it in the winter is also important whether you live in area that snows or rains. If you drive in the winter, you've probably used your air conditioner setting in conjunction with the heat setting to dehumidify the interior. If so, the evaporator core is susceptible to the same issues as in the warmer months.


Detailing your car is a full system process involving the treatment of every aspect of the car. An application of Klima-Cleaner Professional as part of your detailing regimen will improve the performance of your air conditioning system and improve the air you breathe inside your car.

Need help? We're available M-F 9am-5pm CST at888-719-4698 - Email Us
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