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Everyone wants that new car smell to remain in their car for as long as possible. But what should you do when your car starts to smell bad? Let’s discuss 6 common causes of bad car smells and how they can be removed.
How to find hidden sources of odor
Do some investigating and check around your car for things that might be causing the bad odor. Look inside the glove compartment, on car floor mats under seats, and in pockets for moldy fruit inside of a missed bag, baby bottles on the back seat, or unidentified blobs of things that someone might have dragged on the bottom of their shoe. Remove and immediately throw any of these away and open up the doors of your car to allow any lingering smell to dissipate. Sometimes a bad odor can be a sign that your car is overheating – or you might need to change the oil.
How to clean car upholstery and carpet
Get out your car vacuum if you are unable to find the source of the door. Odors are often trapped by the fabric, carpet, or upholstery in the interior of a car. Use the upholstery attachment to vacuum into the crevices and all around. If that doesn’t solve the problem but you think that is what is causing the bad sell, try to steam clean if you can. Car cleaning tools can be used to help make it easier to clean the interior of your car. If you have leather seats, there are some easy ways to clean them.
How to eliminate the smell of smoke in your car
If you smoke or have passengers who do, the ashtrays need to be emptied out on a regular basis. Remember that cigarette smoke gets everywhere, including inside the vents. Use a car odor eliminator to spray inside the vents and through the intake valve underneath the hood. Also, open all of the doors and windows to let your car air out.
Smoke also leaves tar behind, which is a very sticky substance. Use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water to wipe down your car’s interior panels. If the smell is still lingering, add some dish soap. After you are finished, dry the interior surfaces.
How to get rid of the odor of car sickness
Pets or small children might get carsick or have an accident on your car’s upholstery. Even if these types of accidents are cleaned up immediately, it still might be necessary to do a deeper clean to completely eliminate the odor. If it has dried already, a 50/50 vinegar and water solution can be used to rehydrate the area and then eliminate it using a wet/dry vacuum. You can also sprinkle the area with baking soda or spread cat litter over it to help absorb the smell.
How to eliminate the smell of mildew from your car
Another source of bad odors is mildew. It can take just one rainstorm and a partially opened window that you forgot to close (or a small leak with condensation buildup) for this to happen. Fortunately, it is a very straightforward process to get rid of mildew smells from a car. You can remove the rest of the water from your upholstery and carpet using a wet/dry vacuum, or perhaps a hairdryer in a pinch. If the smell was caused by a small leak, you will need to look for it. Check for condensation in the trunk and under the mats, along with the place storing your spare tire.
How to get rid of car air conditioner odors
Your car’s air conditioning system is another potential source of mildew odor. Damp floor mats close to the air conditioner are a telltale sign. If there is a bad smell coming from that area, open up the front cover and take out the filter. Eliminate any mold growth using a nylon scrub pad and then dry it using a cotton swab. Turn on your car’s heater to finish drying everything out. Once the area has completely dried, apply an odor absorber, enzyme cleaner, or anti-mildew solution. Baking soda can also be sprinkled on the upholstery and leave it there for about a day before you vacuum it up. By that time, the smell should dissipate. You can also take your car mats out to let them air out. Also, dust can accumulate inside the vents and cause your car to have a musty smell. In that situation, use your water-vinegar solution on your car’s interior or vacuum the vents.