Tips and tricks on cleaning out a flooded car


Typhoon Ulysses left many areas in CALABARZON, Central Luzon, and Metro Manila flooded, even reaching Ondoy-level damage in cities like Marikina and Rizal. Victims of the flood are dealing with damaged belongings—from submerged houses to drowned out cars.

Floods can do a number on cars but cleaning it properly after the calamity will save your vehicle from facing further damage. Flooding can cause a number of issues like metal rusting, nuts and bolts seizing, and mold, mildew, and odors forming on carpets and upholstery.

To start cleaning your flooded car, make sure to have these tools at the ready:

  • dry cloths
  • baking soda
  • car shampoo
  • car wash soap/dish soap
  • wet/dry vacuum
  • fans
  • new car fluids

Remove excess water and disconnect any electrical connections

Check under your hood to check the damages. Unplug and remove your car battery and remove any other electrical connections affected by the water damage. Don’t attempt to start your car.

Then use a wet/dry vacuum to suck up any remaining water off your car floor. If there’s more than an inch of water inside, use a bucket or cup to fish most of it out first.

Take everything out

Take out removable carpets, mats, and removable seats (if any). Wash it out separately from your car.

Use a pressure washer or a garden hose to wash off dirt from mats and carpets. Hang them after to let dirt run off easily.

Make sure air is flowing

Once you’ve cleared out your ride, roll down the windows and keep the doors open. You can also set up fans to dry out your interior. Get air moving in your vehicle to dry it faster and prevent mold from forming.

Start washing

After removing water and airing out your car, give it a proper wash with car shampoo. Clean your interior plastics like door handles, console buttons with car wash soap. Lay down a coating of baking soda on steel parts to prevent them from rusting.

Once your upholstery and carpets are fully dry, you can put it back in your car.


Find stains on your seats or carpets? Or smell something funky? Just sprinkle baking soda on damp spots to absorb the moisture and neutralize the odor. Leave it overnight.

Replace fluids

Check if components under the hood have been affected by water damage. It’s better to remove and replace fluids like coolant, oil, windshield washer fluid, and transmission fluids. You can buy these at gas stations and auto service stations.

Once all the cleaning is done, you can put your battery back in and check if everything is working as it should. Test the car’s headlights, taillights, power windows, turn signals, power locks, air conditioning, infotainment system, and any other components that are connected by wire. You should also test the brakes, clutch, steering, and coolant reservoirs. If any of these are not working properly, you should get a mechanic to take a closer look at your vehicle. On the other hand, if everything seems good, you should still get an expert to check on your car.

Read more: Give your car some love with these 3M auto care products


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