My Car Smells: 7 Tips for Getting Rid of Bad Auto Odors

March 15, 2012

Some car smells need attention because they point to mechanical problems. Fortunately, if car smell is just a plain bad odor, it's usually easy to fix.

Cleaning Car Interior

You may get into your car one day and think, my car smells. Once you notice a smell the next thought is how to I get rid of the smell. There are many different things that can cause nasty smells. You may notice your car smells of gas, the car smells of rotten eggs, or of something else. If the smells are from the engine then you will need to fix what is causing that smell. If you spilled something in the interior then there are special cleaning tips that can help.

  1. Vacuum. Most odors tend to become trapped in the fabric in the interior. Many times vacuuming can eliminate these odors. Use the special upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner. You want to get every little corner because the smells can be hiding in the smallest places. If you do not think vacuuming is enough then many individuals find that steam cleaning will do the trick.
  2. Smoke. Cigarette smoke can make a car smell particularly unpleasant. Smoke can get everywhere including the duct system for the heater and air conditioner. You want to open the hood and spray an air deodorizer through the intake valve to get all the smoke out of the system. Smoke is very invasive and you need to do more than just clean the upholstery.
  3. Baking soda. Baking soda always works well to remove odors. If you spilled something on the carpet and a smell lingers, then sprinkle baking soda on it. Rub the baking soda in and leave it for a few hours. The baking soda will absorb any free smells. After a few hours, vacuum up the baking soda.
  4. Charcoal. Charcoal is one of the best substances to absorb smells. You will find that charcoal is used in many air and water filters. Grab a chunk of charcoal, the ones you use to grill will work fine, leave the charcoal in the car for a few days, and you will soon find the smells have gone away because they are absorbed into the charcoal.
  5. Natural air freshener. Choose a favorite scent and see about masking the bad odors. You can put some vanilla on cotton balls and leave them in the car. If you enjoy the smell of coffee then keep a container of ground coffee in the car. Soon the car will smell like coffee rather than any nasty smells. Many people will also use mint extract or citrus oils. It depends on your preference.
  6. Serious smells. There are several smells that can be dangerous. If you notice a smell of gas inside the car then you probably have a leak. This is a hazard as the gas can ignite and cause a fire. You want to find this leak immediately and get it fixed.
  7. Hiring professionals: If you absolutely cannot get rid of the smell then see about taking your car to a cleaning professional. This is a more expensive option but they will completely eliminate the smells. Certain smells, such as hitting a skunk, may never come out.
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