We spend a lot of time in our vehicles. After a while, all that usage will lead to dirty upholstery, a messy backseat, and probably an unpleasant odor. Every commute to work, cross-country road trip, fast food, and soccer game carpool can add to the untidy chaos. While cleaning up crumbs and dust is pretty intuitive, getting rid of bad smells can be a little more tricky.
If you’re dealing with a smelly car, you’re probably looking for a good way to get rid of the stench once and for all. Good news! You can do this.
1. Clean Out Tight Spaces
From long-lost fries underneath the seats to sticky coffee left behind in cup holders, there can be a lot of messes to find in the nooks and crannies of your vehicle. Leave no stone unturned when hunting down a potential source of the odor. Check the compartments on your car doors, the pockets behind the seats, and underneath the floor mats. If you find any old food or other smelly culprits, throw them away immediately. If there’s still an odor, leave your windows open for a few hours to let the car air out.
This is just a starting point to removing the stench.
2. Clear Out the Duct System
If you or a previous car owner smoked cigarettes in the vehicle, the smell can be extremely persistent. Not only can smoke stick to the upholstery, but it might also sneak its way into your air conditioning system and the ducts within. The smoke will leave a sticky layer of tar inside of these ducts. The best way to reduce the smell is to spray a car odor eliminator into the vents and intake valve under the hood.
Mildew can also find its way into your air conditioning system ducts too. If you smell a musty scent when you crank up the A/C you might need to switch out the filter. You can also vacuum out your vents to remove any dust and mold spores.
Truthfully, it’s hard to eradicate a smell such as smoke from the duct system. We suggest hiring a professional odor removal technician to get all of the smoke smell out. They’ve worked with vehicles for quite some time and know a thing or two about getting rid of the staunchest of smells.
3. Wipe Down Interior Panels
Cigarette smoke can stick to the panels and dashboard in your car too. The sticky tar can cling to just about any surface in the vehicle. Use a car-specific cleaner or a half water, half vinegar solution to wipe down all the panels. If the odor is really stubborn, you can add a small amount of dish soap to the vinegar cleanser. Once you’re finished, wipe the paneling dry.
Strong odors tend to absorb into the flooring and upholstery of a car. It can be tricky to get them out. Vacuuming can do wonders for a smelly car. This can be a good way to pick up any hidden food particles in tight spaces as well. Switch between the upholstery attachment and extension wand so you can vacuum up anything under the seats and between the car seats.
5. Try Baking Soda
Baking soda can pack an added punch to your vacuuming job. It does an amazon job capturing odors stuck deep in the upholstery and flooring. Simply sprinkle it anywhere you want some added odor control, let it sit for 24 hours, and vacuum it up.
6. Steam Clean the Fabrics in the Car
The natural next step after a thorough vacuuming is to steam clean the carpet and upholstery. Steam cleaning is a great way to lift out odors stuck deep in your flooring and seats. It works by forcing pressurized steam through an attachment to clean and sanitize a surface. The hot vapor can kill pathogens and mold spores while also lifting out stubborn dirt and grime.
It may seem counterintuitive, but rest assured that it works.
7. Stash an Air Freshener In Your Car
If you have a mild odor issue to address, some good old-fashioned air freshener should do the trick to mask it. But what you really need to do is find the culprit of the smell. It can be helpful to roll the window down for a few hours to get the air flowing and use the spray afterward to freshen it up. Keep an air freshener in your glove department for the occasional touch-up.
8. Use Charcoal
Charcoal is praised for its versatile utilities. From fueling our grills to whitening our teeth, this amazing substance is helpful in a slew of areas. It can even absorb odors! If you have a smelly car on your hands, fill a cup with charcoal pellets or powder and leave it in your car overnight or up to a few days. Over time, the charcoal should absorb any foul smells lingering in your car.
9. Get a Car Detailing Odor Elimination Package
Yes, all of these tactics work for getting rid of noxious odors. Are they completely effective? Not quite.
By and large, the best way to get strong odors out of your car is to schedule a car detailing service with your top-rated auto detailer in town. Scent can stick to just about any surface. You may simply not have the time or proper equipment to get the smell out on your own. A detailer can clean your car at a granular level, restoring your vehicle to a state it probably hasn’t been in since the day you purchased it.
If you’re looking for a reliable expert in automotive detailing in NoCo, Sticklers 4 Details is at your service! Not only can we lift out tough odors, but we can also provide added value to your vehicle. Detailing can help you get ahead of depreciation by slowing down deterioration. With regular detailing, you’ll have a lot more to offer if and when you decide to upgrade your vehicle. In the meantime, you’ll have a car that smells like it just drove off the dealership lot!