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Some Tips on Getting Rid of Bad Odour from your Car

Everyone wants to keep the new car smell in their car for as long as possible. What do you do when the interiors start smelling, well, stale?

Here’s a look at some common causes of car odours and how you can remove them. Read on to know more, all these options are very simple and can be done at home.

1. Check for hidden odours

Play detective and look under and above everything inside the car that could be causing the odor. Take a peek inside the seat pockets, under seats, on floor mats, and most importantly don’t forget to check the glove compartment. Check inside bags that have been forgotten inside the car or unidentified blobs that may have been dragged in from someone’s shoe. As soon as you find such items, do remove and discard. Another tip is to keep the doors open for a while to ventilate the car and allow all lingering odours to dissipate.

Pro tip - Do remember that sometimes a bad smell can also be a sign of an overheated car – or the car may be in need of an oil change, in this case, take your car to the garage.

2. Vacuum the interior of your car.

Sometimes odours tend to get trapped in the fabric of the interiors. Many times just using a vacuum can eliminate these odours. Nowadays vacuum cleaners come with a special upholstery attachment that works wonders for the car. Make sure you get all the little corners because the smells can be hiding in the smallest nooks and crevices.

Pro tip - If you feel that vacuuming is not enough and the odour remains then the next best option is to steam clean and this will do the trick.

3. How to get the smoke smell out of the car 

Are you a smoker or have a passenger who is? For these situations remember to empty the ashtrays regularly. Another important aspect to note is that cigarette smoke has a way of getting everywhere, including into the vents. The best thing to do is to spray a car odor eliminator into the vents. Besides, open all of the windows and doors to make sure the car is aired out.

Pro Tip - Do remember that smoking leaves behind tar, which is a dark sticky matter. Use a 50/50 combination of water and vinegar solution to wipe down the interior panels, if the odor still lingers, throw in some dish soap as well to the mix. Once done, wipe the interior surfaces dry.

4. How to remove car sickness smells

Families with small children or pets tend to have more accidents with food or carsick moments which might end up on the upholstery of the car. Immediately cleaning/wiping off these accidents may not completely remove the stain or the odour. It is always suggested to deep clean to fully get rid of the smell. If these spots have already dried up, use the 50/50 combination of water and vinegar solution to rehydrate the spot and then remove it with a wet/dry vacuum.

Pro Tip - Spreading some cat litter on the area or sprinkling it with baking soda can also help absorb any musty/funky odours.

5. How to eliminate car air conditioner smells

The other possible source of that mildew smell is in the air conditioning system. An important telltale sign is damp floor mats near the air conditioner. If you find an odour coming from this area, open the front cover and remove the filter. Make sure to use a nylon scrub pad to remove any mold growth, then use a cotton swab to dry it. (To finish drying things out, turn on the car’s heater)

Once the area is completely dry, apply an anti-mildew solution, enzyme cleaner, or odour absorber, all these are available in the market, so don’t worry! 

If not, baking soda is your savior, sprinkle it on the upholstery and leave it in place for a day or so before vacuuming away. By then, the smell should have dissipated. Of course, removing the car mats and airing them out for a while also helps.

Pro tip - Due to pollution and other factors dust can pile up inside the vents which can lead to a musty smell in a car. In this case, vacuum the vents and use the water-vinegar solution on the interior.

The main essential about owning a car is to make sure you take care of it, keep a check on the source of odours, and treat them immediately before it becomes worse. Keeping your car should smell great with the help of air fresheners, also aids in it smelling good as new. If you absolutely cannot get rid of the smell then seek help from a cleaning professional. This is a more expensive option but it will completely eliminate the smells and have your car smelling as fresh as new!

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