How To Effectively Deodorize A Car

Car air freshener mounted to ventilation panel, How To Effectively Deodorize A CarDoes your car have the funk? Some unsightly smell that has your friends refusing rides from you? Maybe your dog even says heck no when you ask your pup to go for a ride. Your car needs to be freshened up and freshened up badly. So how do you effectively deodorize a car? We've done the research to bring you the answer.

You can deodorize your car in a few easy steps:

  • Locate the source of the odor. 
  • Thoroughly clean your car.
  • Let some air in.
  • Use the right odor removal product.
  • Take some preventative measures.

There are many reasons why a car might smell bad along with a number of resources to help clean it up. We'll look at these and more in the rest of this post. Without further ado, let's talk about how you can get your car smelling fresh once again!

Why Does My Car Smell So Bad?

When you want to thoroughly deodorize a smelly car, the first step is to locate the source of the odor. Smells can be as simple as a pair of old gym shorts, or as complex as an electrical issue. Without knowing what's causing the smell, it's hard to make a permanent change in the odor.

Here are the most common causes of odor in a car:

  • Musty smells can be caused by mold and mildew. This could be in your a/c system or in your carpets or upholstery. With the a/c issue, if you run your fan on high with the a/c off, it can work to dry out the system and eliminate the smell. Carpets and upholstery will take cleaning solutions which we'll look at below.
  • Sweet smells can be caused by an antifreeze leak. You'll want a mechanic to address this because antifreeze is harmful to you (and your pets). Once fixed, the smell should go away.
  • Burning smells are most often mechanical, like brakes or an oil leak, though on occasion it could be a rodent's bedding material burning up.
  • Rotten egg smells often indicate trouble with your catalytic converter.
  • Rubber smells could be a belt slipping.
  • Gas smells always need investigating. You want to make sure you don't have a leak.
  • Rotting fruit, sweat, and body odor smells are often just that. Do a deep search and clean your car to remove offending items.

Read more: How To Get Gas Smell Out Of Car

Make Your Car Smell Fresh Again

Now that you've identified the source of the odor, it's time to get your car smelling fresh once again!

Thoroughly Clean Your Car

Car interior textile seats chemical cleaning with professional extraction method

If you've determined the smell is not the result of a mechanical issue, then your next step to a fresh, deodorized vehicle is to give it a thorough cleaning.

You'll want to take everything out of your car. All the rubbish, the items of clothing, the chargers, and loose change. Find all the stray french fries by pulling out the floor mats. Use a flashlight to look under your seats. If you have seats that pull up, pull them up to access beneath and clear them out.

Once everything is removed, give your car a deep vacuum. Get all the crumbs and loose bits cleaned up. Simply cleaning out this trash and debris will go a long way toward making your car smell better.

Next, determine which type of odor removal product you need for your car.

How Do I Get A Musty Smell Out Of My Carpets And Floor Mats In My Car?

One easy step to try with a musty or mildew odor is to sprinkle some baking soda onto all of the fabric or carpeted areas of your car's interior. Let it sit for a couple of days, then vacuum it up. Baking soda is a natural neutralizer and will often rid a car of odors.

If that doesn't work, then you might try using interior car shampoo and a wet/dry vacuum.

This 3D Extractor Shampoo will leave your car's interior looking factory perfect.

Click here to see it on Amazon. 

If you have some leather in your car as well as upholstery, then use a leather cleaner to hit those spots.

This super cleaner from The Car Guys works incredibly well on vinyl and leather interior areas of your car.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Read more: How To Condition Leather Car Seats Naturally

Floor mats are easy to replace, and if they're the prime cause of your bad odor, then consider popping a new pair in to give your car fresh new appeal.

These deep dish, odorless, rubber floor mats will make future clean-ups a breeze, as anything that spills is easily cleaned.

Click here to see these on Amazon.

How Do I Get The Sweat Smell Out Of My Car?

Do you love sports and working out? It's possible your car might end up smelling like the gym if you don't take a few precautions, especially if you can't hop in the shower before leaving the gym.

With a sweat smell, the best offense is a good defense. Consider a seat cover for the sweaty person's regular spot. This way, sweat smells won't seep into the upholstery, and a seat cover can be thrown in the wash or replaced altogether when it gets too bad.

A neoprene cover like this is waterproof and sweatproof and easy to take off to clean. It also comes with a seat belt protector for extra precaution. It can be washed on a gentle cycle in the machine and then hung to dry when it gets too dirty.

Click here to see this version on Amazon.

Another defense move is to get the right gym bag. These STNKY bags are great for putting the worst offending gym clothes in, then throwing the whole bag into the wash.

Click here to see these on Amazon.

How Do I Get The Dog Smell Out Of My Car?

Three dogs in a car. Now the owner is wondering how to get the dog smell out of the car

We all love our canine friends, but they do come with their fair share of stench. And if you're in the habit of taking your dog out on walks in the countryside and letting them swim in ponds, chances are they're going to transfer some of their odor to your car.

Once you've followed all of the basic first steps—cleaning out the car, giving it a good vacuum, and either shampooing or treating with baking soda—what do you do if the dog odor is still there?

If that's the case, there are great enzyme products out there specifically made for car smells created by animals. They can be sprayed onto the stinky spot and upholstery to work their enzymatic magic.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

How Can I Make My Car Smell Better Naturally?

You've deodorized your car and have it smelling wonderful again. What steps can you take to keep it smelling that way? Here are a few:

  • Keep it clean and make sure you're clearing out any food, drink, and dirty clothes regularly. Vacuum your car as often as is possible.
  • Use a deodorizer or air purifier to keep things fresh.
  • Put a bag of activated charcoal under your seat.
  • Roll down your windows and air out your car regularly.

This air purifier plugs into your cigarette lighter and helps neutralize odors floating around in the air in your car. It also has two USB charging ports for a bonus.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

Charcoal bags can be placed out of sight under the seats to help absorb any odors. You can throw them out in the sunshine when you're vacuuming the car to extend their lifespan up to two years.

Click here to see these on Amazon.

There are tons of air fresheners on the market specifically made for vehicles. This one has that new car smell that people love. After you've cleaned your car, give it a spritz for a bit of a boost of good smells.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

In Closing

Let's recap. If you want to deodorize your car effectively, you need to first find the source of the odor. If it's not mechanical, then you need to thoroughly clean it out, vacuum, and address any tough odors and stains with the appropriate products. Once it's clean, take some preventative measures to make the fresh smell last.

If you enjoyed this post, please check out these others:

How to Clean the Inside of Your Car’s Windshield

How to Clean Your Car’s Dashboard In 5 Easy Steps

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