How to Remove Car Odor

car odor

When you buy a new car it smells nice, but after some time the smell wears off and is replaced by the smell of smoke, perspiration, pet odor, shopping bags and so on. It is really an unpleasant and uncomfortable experience to sit inside a stinky car. Removing unpleasant smell from a car is not a simple task, but with the proper amount of patience and effort a car can be restored to nearly new condition.

In This Article:

Reasons behind car odor

When you are dealing with car odor it is essential to find out the source first and then only proceed to eliminate the odor as soon as possible.

Some of the reasons behind car odor are:

  • Bacteria can cause car odor. Bacteria can enter your car interior through rotten food, people’s shoes or some plant life.
  • When people smoke inside the car, then it will leave behind a lingering odor.
  • At times there can be a smoke smell inside the car if the car has been damaged by fire. To remove this kind of odor professional help is required.
  • Mildew or mold may occur inside the car interior when rotting food, a spilled drink, or wet sporting equipment, or other wet gear are left there for a longer period of time.
  • Pet or human vomit can also be the reason behind unbearable car odor. When such kind of accident happens it is best to clean up the mess immediately.
  • When small kids travel with you, then there is a high chance they can urinate inside the car. A strong odor, urine should be cleaned as soon as possible. In the market you can also find urine odor remover products also.
  • When milk or any other liquid drink spills on carpet, leather, or upholstery, then it should be cleaned immediately as they can cause stain and a bad odor inside the car.

Tips to remove car odor

Often it is a very difficult task to remove odor from a car. But thankfully, there are some simple and easy tips that you can follow to remove unwanted and unpleasant odors from your car’s interior. Here are some simple tips that you can follow to get rid of car odor.

Thoroughly check your car interior: First of all you need to check the interior of your car properly. Check out for the source of the smell which can be back pockets, car floor, and corner of the seats and so on. Remove all trash and then wipe and clean your car’s interior carpet, upholstery, dashboard, and so on.

Wipe properly your car interior: Once you have checked the car interior and removed all trash, next you need to wipe the interior surface properly. You can use a soft cloth to wipe the interior of the car that are made of plastic, wood, glass, and metal. If required you can also use a mild detergent to wipe the surfaces made of glass, plastic or wood. For any leather surface you must use good quality leather cleaner.

Remove the floor carpet: Many a times, the odor comes from the floor carpet. So, check the carpet thoroughly and then brush the carpet with the help of a soft but firm brush. This will help to loosen the dirt and debris accumulated on the carpet surface. Finally use a vacuum cleaner to make the carpet and clean and odor free.

Vacuum the car interior: Not just the floor carpet, but you also need to vacuum the car seats, cushions and other parts also to remove excess dirt. You must use a powerful vacuum cleaner to release the dirt from inside the cracks. If required you can use a deodorizer inside the car before vacuuming up. This can help a lot to reduce the odor level. Also try to vacuum clean the trunk of the car also.

Opt for steam cleaning: If the odor inside the car is simply unbearable, then it is highly recommended to go steam cleaning the floors. For this you need to use a good quality car shampoo and a clean sponge for scrubbing and an extracting machine. With the use of right product you can extract maximum dirt accumulated inside the car. During this process you need to use water in a limited manner or else it may take several days to dry the car interior.

Deodorize the entire car: You can also consider doing an overall deodorizing of the car to make your car odor free. For this you need a good quality odor neutralizer that you can easily find in the market. Read the instructions properly and then carry out the process in a well-ventilated (preferably outdoor) location. Whenever you use any chemical product to remove odor from your car interior, then you must let it air out afterwards in a dry environment for around a half an hour before using your car again.

Ozone shock treatment: In case nothing works, then the final option for you to consider is to use an ozone generator to do an ozone shock treatment. This kind of treatment actually kills bacteria and mildew and any other organic compounds that may cause odor inside the car. But as ozone generator can exacerbate asthma and increase susceptibility to lung infections if inhaled in high concentrations, it should not be used by people who suffer from any kind of respiratory diseases. You must be very careful during an ozone shock treatment as if done incorrectly it can cause health problems.

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Preventive Tips

So you have finally been able to get rid of the disgusting smell from inside the car interior. In the future, you should take steps to ensure it does not happen again. Here are some preventive tips that you need to follow:

  • Keep smoking to a minimum and if you need to smoke, then it is advisable to do it after stepping out from your car. This is the best way to keep your car interior free from cigarette smell.
  • Always keep a towel handy in the car at all times. This will help to soak up spills when they happen and will not allow the liquid substance to set on your car seat or floor.
  • If there is a spill on the car floor, remove the floor mats and shampoo them as soon as you can at a hand car wash or at home using a solution of water and detergent.
  • When traveling with pets, ensure that they are adequately cared for to avoid little messes.
  • Always have additional floor protection so that the cleaning task becomes easier for you.
  • Place towels or throws on the areas where children sit. This way even if they spill something you can take care of it easily and quickly.
  • Keep a trash bag in your car so that everyone can dispose their trash in it.
  • Keep an air freshener inside your car to keep it smell fresh. This kind of product will not remove unpleasant smells caused by smoking, mildew or vomit.

There are many natural ingredients that can remove unpleasant odor from a car.

  • You can use powdered baking soda to remove smoke smells from your car. Take some dry baking powder and sprinkle in on your car seats and other parts from where smell is coming. Soon the baking powder will absorb the odor and make your car odor free. Later on you must clean the car interior with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Like baking soda, you can also use charcoal to remove car odor. Sprinkle charcoal powder in easy to reach places such as floor mats and seats and leave it for one to two hours. Later on use a vacuum cleaner to clean the interior and you can notice a huge difference as how you car interior used to smell before.
  • To get rid of car odor, you can also use white distilled vinegar. Inside the car place two towels into two separate bowls filled with white distilled vinegar. If the car is really big, use additional bowls. The vinegar will absorb the cigarette odor from the car within a very short time.

Final Words

Next time when you notice some foul smell coming from inside your car interior, then you must act immediately. With the help of above mentioned tips you can easily solve the problem and make your car odor free. However in case you cannot locate the cause behind the odor or solve the problem on your own, do not hesitate to take help from a professional. There are many such companies who can handle such types of problem in a highly professional manner at a very reasonable rate.

1 Comment

  1. Michelle McCallister

    January 31, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    These are great tips. I’ve used them all before to get rid of smells in my car. But I discovered an easier way that works almost instantly and much more cost effective. There’s a miracle worker product called Freshana Air Purifier. You gotta try it. Start with Freshana and it will save you tons of headache, time and money.

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