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My 2015 (bought in october 2014) have started to smell like a bad dishrag when not used for a few hours.

I suspect that it is the AC evaporator drain pipe that is clogged.(?)
The question is.. where do I find it?
Anyone happen to have a nice picture so I know what to look for. I dont have access to a lift so I would have to crawl under.

I think I know why its clogged as well.. as they use some sort of saltmixture on the roads here in sweden during the winter season I did a rust prevention on the car.. they basically spray the car with a sticky foam underneath.
 

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2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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If your drain were plugged, your carpet would be wet. Look under the vehicle after shutting it off. You should see some water dripping out--it will usually leave a little puddle. If you see it, your drain is not plugged up. When you get the bad smell, change from recirculate to fresh air and the smell will go away.
 

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I've also heard to run the fan with the air off for a few miles before shutting off the car to help clear any condensation out of the vents and filters etc.
 

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I've also heard to run the fan with the air off for a few miles before shutting off the car to help clear any condensation out of the vents and filters etc.
That's what we been doing for years. Works well - no problems or smell.
 

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Yeah, I've never had any sort of smell from mine, but I've always followed the above rule. Plus, I don't like to start the car with the extra load of the air running anyway.
 

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Fixed mine with a can of lysol and smells great again, kills all bacteria and molds inside the ac, cost me $5
Where did you spray it? I have a musty smell also when first starting up. I usually let the air blow when the air conditioning is off to dry out what I feel is getting wet and musty due to condensation, and that does work, but not sure what to attack if you know what I mean with the spray. I'd like to kill any mold build up. I'm not having any issues, but figure it might be a good idea.
 

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I believe there is a TSB on removing the odor from the AC system of the Highlander. If they get enough complaints about the RAV's AC smell, they may do likewise.
 

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I have a 2015 limited with 8500 miles and noticed the mildewy dish rag smell last week when I had just the fan on (no ac). Now I notice it when I start the car for about 30 seconds. The smell goes away when the ac is on, but if I drive with just the fan on, it stinks.

Does this mean that there's no way to get rid of the smell since it's already started? Will it always be there even if I take the advice in this thread and turn off the ac for a few miles at the end of every single trip? I've never had this issue with any other car in my life. I love this car otherwise and was hoping to keep it for 12-13 years. This is ridiculous that we even have to think about this and deal with it. What else can I do to repair what has started and make sure it doesn't get worse?
 

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The smell clears after running the fan for a bit...usually it doesn't take very long.. Both when the air conditioning is on and when it's off with just the fan running.
 

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Open your windows or doors.

Turn on AC.

Set temperature to hottest setting.

Turn recirculation off.

Set fans to medium or fast.

Set air to come out of all ducts or at least the ones the smell is coming from.

Spray lysol into cabin air inlets located at the base of the windshield where it meets the hood (outside the vehicle). If you want to go the extra mile remove (and replace) the cabin filter and spray into where the cabin filter sits.

This will kill the mold and/or bacteria affecting the ducts causing that smell. Never let me down.
 

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If you check with your dealership there should be a service (TSB) to remedy that...certain Toyota's are notorious for that problem. I know there was something for the Highlanders that had that problem.
 

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Open your windows or doors.

Turn on AC.

Set temperature to hottest setting.

Turn recirculation off.

Set fans to medium or fast.

Set air to come out of all ducts or at least the ones the smell is coming from.

Spray lysol into cabin air inlets located at the base of the windshield where it meets the hood (outside the vehicle). If you want to go the extra mile remove (and replace) the cabin filter and spray into where the cabin filter sits.

This will kill the mold and/or bacteria affecting the ducts causing that smell. Never let me down.
Is there a certain type of Lysol spray you recommend? They're all the same, just different scents, right?
 
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Is there a certain type of Lysol spray you recommend? They're all the same, just different scents, right?
Correct, so just pick one you like. You may end up using a lot of it, though you shouldn't need a whole can or even half. But better to use more than necessary than to let the bacteria live.
 

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Happy Sunday Folks! So I did what 'SOLOFLIGHT" suggested and used Lysol. (Makn' sure there no legionnaires growing in there - just kiddin!!) Also, I pulled out the cabin filter...talking about nasty ! It was black with some plant matter/bugs between the folds. Sprayed the Lysol in its compartment and purchased a new filter (Fram) at Walmart. Arm & Hammer infused with real carbon. Seemed a bit better than the cheap piece of ... that I took out. Cost $18 and some change that I can't remember. Easy Peezy to get it out. I'm assuming it's the original since I purchased Indy (RAV) used and have never changed the filter in this vehicle. Seems to have solved the issue. No more dirty dish rag smell.
 
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