Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Project I Hope I Never Have To Repeat

The mission I work for owns a big red 15-passenger van.  It was my main vehicle around here for a while. Let me tell ya, 15 passenger vans guzzle the gas. I'm pretty sure I could watch the needle drop as I drove down the road. I am SO thankful I don't have to drive that any more!

The van had been sitting out in back of our house, unused, for a couple weeks. During all that torrential rain I talked about. Without any one checking on it. See where I'm going with this?

I went out one day to move the van, and as soon as I opened the door, I knew something was wrong. My nose hairs caught on fire. Literally. Ok, not literally, but it felt like it. My eyes were next. The van was growing. Mold. Just-shy-of-mushrooms moldy. (And you people like to eat those things? Nasty.)

There were spots of mold on the vinyl, seats, carpets, straps....everything. Thankfully, it wasn't coming from inside the seats, it was all on the surface, so I knew it wouldn't be a *huge* problem.  But I also knew it would require immediate removal. I rounded up some supplies:

a shop-vac....

A carpet cleaner...

and an array of cleaning products....

I put vinegar in my pail of water. Vinegar works as a disinfectant, but I didn't want to risk not killing the mold, so I also used 409 spray. That is also a disinfectant. I sprayed all the vinyl with the 409 spray and then wiped it down with the vinegar water. I used the carpet cleaner to (wait for it...) clean the carpets. Brilliant, I know. The bug spray was to protect myself from the zillions of little vampires flying around. It was about 70% successful. Boo.  And for those of you worried about those chemicals, I did use gloves and a mask. Not only to ward against chemical fumes, but the mold as well.

(Although, total rabbit trail: I did a lot of kneeling on chemical-covered carpet while washing the inside, and my knees were bright pink for two days. Freaky. Guess I should have gotten knee pads. Total dork.)

And last, but not least, I used a TON of this:

Um, its elbow grease, in case you couldn't tell.

And this is why we wear gloves:

This was the rinse water. Its so dirty it gives you a lovely view of my gloved and masked self taking the picture. Did I mention, total dork?

Here are some in-progress pictures:

A 15-passenger van is loooooooong and has a toooooooon of carpet. Just sayin'.

But I finally finished!! This is what it looked like:

Um, yeah, I couldn't see anything either. Lets just say it took me a whole lot longer than I expected. I ended up moving the seats into the empty side of our house, because it was too dark to see them outside.

But it was DONE! And I never was so happy to see anything completed. And all your doors open is the new parking lot. You didn't know that?

The Lord blessed us with several days of cool, breezy weather to help dry the van out. And my coworkers had just gotten back from a trip, so they decided to air out their van too. Aren't we a classy bunch?

So now the van is clean and mold free, and I'm not afraid to breathe the same air any more. However, this last weekend we had another two days of torrential rains, and now we know how the moisture got in. Sad face...but now we know we need to keep it under cover, and know what needs to be fixed! At least the mold is gone and we're not going to die. I was concerned.

Have you ever had any experiences with mold? Or looked like a total dork while cleaning? Or taken pictures of nasty water? Oh wait, I'm the only one that does that? My bad.


  1. You did a fabulous job! I cannot believe how hard you worked. I "detailed" car and left all the chores you talked about until "next time". Here's my related post. http://charlieandjo.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/detailing-the-car-interior/
    How lovely is it now that it's done?!! Jo @ Let's Face the Music

  2. Thanks, Jo! It was really hard work, but I didn't want to have to breathe mold fumes...yucky! Yours looks great as well. You had the advantage of a smaller vehicle! :) Aren't you lucky?!


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