Six Tips to Eliminate Car Odor
As you drive your car each day, you’re bound to eat, drink – or even smoke in it! This means that your car’s upholstery might accumulate lingering stains or scents that create an offensive odor over time. However, there are a number of easy and inexpensive methods you can use to eliminate car odors, allowing you and your passengers to breathe easy!
Follow these six tips to eliminate car odors for good:
Identify the Odor
Because odors can originate from a variety of sources, it is important that you eliminate car odors by first searching for the source of the odor. Once you are able to identify what is causing the smell, you can then decide the best way to restore your car to a clean and odorless state.
Some of the most common causes of odor in vehicles include food, drinks, smoke or mildew. Over time, a spilled drink or long-forgotten food may have settled in the crevices of your car, creating an unpleasant odor.
Begin by adjusting the seats in your car and looking for any stains or remnants of food. Use a flashlight to see beneath your car seats, and check in between seat cushions and on the floor. Be sure to inspect your car’s trunk for any stains or odors as well.
Another possible source of odor could be a cabin air filter. Depending on the year and model of your car, you may have this removable filter installed. The filter traps debris, preventing it from entering your car through the air conditioning system. It is often found in a car’s passenger side, near the glove compartment, or under the hood. Locate your car’s cabin air filter by taking a look at your owner’s manual, or by consulting with an auto care specialist.
Clean Your Car
One of the easiest tips to eliminate car odor is a simple one – clean your car. Start by removing trash from your seats and floor. Check for any trash that may have fallen in hard-to-reach spaces and take a look in all compartments, including your trunk.
When you’re done removing trash from your car, treat your car’s upholstery with a stain remover. If you find any visible stains, saturate the area – allowing the substance to set into the stain – and then use cleaning tools to loosen dirt, such as a scrub brush. After removing the stain, vacuum the area to remove dirt and help dry the upholstery. For leather upholstery, clean seats with a mild cleanser and a soft-bristled scrub brush, and dry leather seats with a microfiber cloth.
Be sure to completely dry your car’s upholstery. A damp carpet can promote the growth of mold, making an already smelly car even worse. You can also use an all-purpose cleaner to remove dirt and stains from your dashboard and other similar surfaces.
Choose an Odor Removal Method
Using stain-fighting products to clean your car’s interior is a great way to eliminate car odors. However, some scents will remain, despite the area being cleaned! Further your efforts by using affordable household products to absorb unpleasant scents, leaving you with a car that is free of hard-to-bear odors.
Our car odor elimination tips include:
- Dryer sheets – Eliminate car odors with dryer sheets, which are an easy way to absorb the offending odor inside your car. Try leaving an open container of these laundry sheets beneath the seat of your car, filling the car with an aromatic freshness, while providing instant relief from faint odors.
- White wine vinegar – Just as you would clean your car using a stain remover, apply a mixture of white wine vinegar and water to your upholstery. White wine vinegar is often used as a cleaning agent, in addition to helping to eliminate car odor.
- Coffee beans – Leaving coffee beans in your car is an effective way to absorb odors. All you’ll need is a container with about seven ounces of coffee beans. You can also opt to use coffee grounds, but beans will help you to avoid the hassle of cleaning up any unnecessary mess.
- Baking soda – Many people find that sprinkling baking soda on their upholstery helps to eliminate car odors. After sprinkling the baking soda, allow it to sit on the upholstery and slowly absorb the unwanted odor. Use a vacuum to collect the substance, as well as any dirt that may be left behind.
- Charcoal briquettes – Use charcoal, the same substance you’d typically use for grilling, to absorb the unpleasant smell in your car. A simple way to use the briquettes is to purchase a bag of charcoal and to place it inside your car. Cut a hole in the top of the bag and allow the charcoal to absorb the odors of the car as you drive.
- AC system cleaner – One of many tips to eliminate car odors is to spray an AC system cleaner into your car’s exterior air intake vents. Turn the air conditioner or heater on, and the cleaner will travel through the car’s interior vents, deodorizing your car.
Take Preventative Measures
Now that you have identified the cause of the unpleasant smell and worked to eliminate the car odor from your vehicle for good, be sure to avoid any practices that could contribute to stains and foul odors in the future. If you choose to eat in your car, remember to remove any leftovers and avoid leaving behind containers. When a spill occurs, clean it up right away in order to avoid sticky residue that can build up over time.
Consider the Role Weather Plays
By paying close attention to the weather and how it can affect your car, you can avoid the need to eliminate car odors. Practice habits, such as ensuring that your car windows are up when rainy weather occurs. This will ensure that your car’s interior remains dry, preventing your car from developing mold and mildew. A pungent odor also typically accompanies the growth of mold and mildew.
On warm days, avoid leaving items in your car that may melt in direct sunlight. This includes perishable items that could cause an unusual scent to linger in your car after being exposed to high levels of heat.
Learn How Odor Can Affect Your Health
Discovering an offensive odor while driving your vehicle, or more embarrassingly, with a passenger riding along, can prove to be an awful experience that fails to reflect the time and effort you place into caring for your automobile. Not only can car odors be embarrassing, they can have an effect on you and your passenger’s well-being.
Many individuals suffer from sensitivities to a variety of odors – even suffering from a headache or nausea as a result of exposure to a smell. If mold or mildew is growing in your car, it can trigger an allergic reaction in anyone with sensitivities to the bacteria. For your own health, as well as the well-being of others, you should take steps to eliminate the car odors that you experience.
Tips to Eliminate Exterior Car Odors
An odor that is coming from the exterior of your car could indicate a serious problem. If you notice that your car is emitting an unidentifiable smell from beneath the hood, contact a professional automobile expert to identify the cause of the odor.
Auto care experts, such as those employed by motor clubs, are trained to resolve a variety of vehicle problems that customers encounter. Encore Protection is an affordable motor club program that provides consumer roadside assistance from a fast-acting emergency dispatch system nationwide.
To learn more about how our comprehensive motor club can assist you with emergency roadside assistance, contact us at 1-844-6ENCORE. You can also browse our site, where you can conveniently complete a roadside assistance application within minutes, leaving you time to work on eliminating your car odors and enjoying your ride.