Ooooh, That Smell: How to Get Your Car to Stop Stinking

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Online, Everyday Driver

Stinky cars are no fun. Whether the smell of last night’s dinner is lingering in your car on the way to work the next day or the smell of your dog from last week’s trip to the beach–smelly cars make us all want to pull over and abandon our vehicles. But, unlike other car maintenance issues, getting the unpleasant smell out of your car doesn’t have to break the bank.

 

Besides an air freshener, below are five tips to get your car to stop stinking.

 

Deep clean your car

When’s the last time you deep cleaned your car? Chance are that the smell may be coming from trash or bacteria growing on your carpet. Before you grab gloves and your vacuum, first, thoroughly check the inside of your car. Look at back pockets, under the seats, upholstery and so forth to see if you can find the source of the smell. This inspection would also be an ideal time to collect and throw away all the trash in your car.

After your inspection, vacuum the carpets and seats of your car with a special upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Then deodorize your car with a spray bottle filled with odor neutralizer and spray ventilation areas, such as the intake screen of your car. Next, turn on your car’s AC system to see if the deodorizing spray is working. After you have deodorize, make sure you air out your car for a half an hour before driving. 

If the smell is still present, you might have to clean deeper. Use an extracting machine to steam clean and shampoo the seat fabric in order to get the dirt out of the fabric.  

 

Charcoal

Did you know that charcoal is one of the best items to absorb bad smells? Grab a bag of charcoal, such as the kind you use for your grill and leave it in your car for a couple of days. After a couple of days, take the charcoal out and see if the smell has left.

 

Baking soda

Another great substance? Baking soda. Whether you use it in your home, on your clothes, fridge or somewhere else, baking soda can eliminate even the worst smells. If you know where the smell may be coming from, such as a stain or certain area of your car, sprinkle baking soda over the affected area. Rub the baking soda in the carpet fibers and leave it to sit for an hour or two. Then vacuum the excess baking soda.

 

Replace air cabin filter

When was the last time you replaced your air cabin filter? Though we may roll our eyes when the mechanic says it’s up to you whether or not to change it, some bad odors may be in the filter, causing your car to stink every time you turn the car on. Check with your mechanic or read the car owner’s manual on how to and how often you should replace your car’s cabin air filter.

 

Professional clean

If all else fails, go to a professional car cleaning service. The experts will most likely solve your smelly car problem if you’re willing to shell out the cash. Do some research to see which place in town is the best and most economical. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for tips from the experts while they’re cleaning your car to see what you can do to prevent your car from smelling in the future.

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