Best car dehumidifiers to keep your car interior dry

Particularly during winter, car interiors can suffer from dampness. This can result in mould and a musty-smelling interior. A car dehumidifier helps avoid this.

Foggy car windscreen

by Chris Williams |

Keeping the air dry in your car is important. The air in a car will get damp, especially in winter, because a car's interior is a confined space in which we exhale moisture. There are other causes too such as transporting the wet dog around to and from the park. Old cars also have the added issue of not being well sealed, meaning external moisture can penetrate the interior too.

Preventing moisture build-up in a car helps keep a car free of condensation, but also helps avoid the invasion of mould and mildew. Dehumidifiers are great at absorbing moisture in the air and there are plenty with automotive use in mind. Which are best? See below.

The best car dehumidifiers

Bamboo Charcoal Bag (2 X 500g)

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Bamboo Charcoal Bag (2 X 500g)

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Activated bamboo charcoal is fantastic for air purification and drying. The charcoal is porous, allowing moisture and odours to be absorbed. A pair of 500g bags is good for a hatchback or small family car, but you can use them around the house too, if you wish. They are reusable, all you need to do is expose the bags to sunlight for a couple of hours each side at least once a month.

Each 1kg bag can absorb up to 400ml of water. Therefore, they can sit in a car for quite a while before needing to be dried out, which you can do on a radiator, in the microwave, or just by airing them out.

Hillington Reusable Car Dehumidifier Bags (2 X 1kg)

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Hillington Reusable Car Dehumidifier Bags

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Hillington's dehumidifier bags are the same size, filled with the same silica gel, and capable of absorbing the same volume of water as the Gadlane bags. However, there are a couple of extra features that are rather neat.

The first is the dot on the bag. When the bag has absorbed all it can, the dot goes blue. You then 'recharge' it (about once a month) and the dot goes pink. The second useful feature is the inclusion of non-slip pads that you can use to stop the bags sliding off a dashboard, for example.

Pingi ID-A300 Car Dehumidifier

Pingi Cordless Dehumidifier

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The dehumidifier bags are your best option. But if you want a device, there are a couple of options, the best of which is this. This compact cordless dehumidifier can inhale 120 grams (i.e. 120ml) of water. You know when it's full because the oval goes from orange to green.

Being cordless, you'd imagine the ID-A300 is battery powered, but in fact it's not the case. Just as the bags needs to release collected moisture, so too does this and that is what plugging it in achieves. However, it needs to be plugged in for a long time - 15 to 20 hours - in order to release all the moisture.

Odour eliminators

While dehumidifiers dry the air and help avoid moisture-related problems in the first place, of the dehumidifiers above, only the bamboo charcoal will purify the air and eliminate odours too. Meanwhile, air fresheners mask a smell but don't eliminate the cause. The cause could simply be a forgotten apple core or pair of knarly old socks that need to be removed from the car. However, smells penetrate fabrics and need to be dealt to.

The best permanent solution to avoid smells permeating throughout a car interior is to keep the interior clean. To know exactly how to best clean your car's interior, read our guide. Air it out too on a nice day.

You can also use an odour eliminator spray such as the Parkers-recommended Autoglym Odour Eliminator below. It can be used on fabric and carpet, ridding them of smells left by food or cigarettes, for example. If there is mould, you can use white vinegar and water to get rid of it.

But the issue can lie in the air conditioning system. When an air conditioning unit's evaporator takes moisture from the air, it normally drains through a hose. But that tube can suffer from a blockage. In turn, this can result in moisture pooling, causing mould or mildew problems inside the air-con system.

To combat this, unblock the drain hose (there are many YouTube videos showing you how) and use an air-con cleaner to kill the bacteria. We recommend STP Air-Con Cleaner. It's easy to use, just run the air con (doors shut and no one in the car) with the STP spray for 10 minutes before ventilating the car thoroughly.

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