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Car was caught in a flood and water got in up to the glove compartment. We got it running again after replacing a bunch of parts. But that smell. I had another guy shampoo it, but a friend of mine said there could be harmful substances within that smell.

How true is that? And what should we do?

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The best "cure" I've ever heard about for getting rid of any smell in a car is using an ozone generator. Using it correctly will get rid of all the smells in your car. It will also help with mold control and removal. You want to be careful using it, though, as breathing the ozone is hard on the lungs. After using it, you need to allow the car to air out for a while before you drive it again. (Full credit on this goes to YouTuber Samcrac for the suggestion.)

As far as there being harmful substances in the smell, I believe they are right, as mold spores can cause you respiratory issues. Getting rid of not only the smell, but whatever is causing it is a good idea. Sitting in an enclosed space with it only concentrates it and you'll breath more than just a lungfull, that's for sure.

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We had a car where the customer went to a big show / match in London. He found a parking space - on a slipway to the river Thames... The tide came in and flooded the car - over the roof...

The solution was to strip the car down completely - bare shell to everything and even the door cards had to be worked on, all the carpet came out - washed, dried and then refitted. A massive amount of work but the owner loved that car and could afford it...

So, you may find removing and washing / drying the carpet may be the biggest improvement or do check out the cost of new carpet - it nay be an easier option to just replace it...

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