How To Eliminate Unpleasant Odors In Your Car ─10 Tricks

The car is not just a means of transport, but also a space where we spend a lot of time. Whether it’s a daily commute to work or a weekend getaway, we all want our car to be as comfortable as possible.

One of the aspects that can seriously compromise comfort is unpleasant odors. Yes, we have all experienced it. From spilled food to pet fur, cars can accumulate all sorts of odors that will spoil even a short trip to the shops.

Here are 10 tricks to eliminate unpleasant odors and keep your car smelling fresh!

1. Identify the Source

Before you can effectively eliminate odors, you need to identify the source. Check under the seats, in the glove compartment and even in the boot for food or anything else that might be causing the bad smell. If you find them, take them out and clean the area thoroughly.

2. Use an Edible Garden

Baking soda is a natural odor absorber. Sprinkle a generous amount on your car upholstery and carpets, leave it for a few hours or overnight and vacuum it up. It is particularly effective at absorbing food and pet odors.

3. Spray with Vinegar Solution

Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Lightly spray the car’s interior surfaces and wipe them with a clean cloth. Vinegar is an excellent odor neutralizer, but don’t forget to air out your car to eliminate the smell of vinegar.


4. Try Activated Carbon

Activated carbon is another excellent odor absorber. Put some charcoal briquettes in a perforated plastic bag and place it under the seat or in the boot. Over time, the charcoal will absorb any unpleasant odors.

5. Make use of Coffee Grounds

If you love the smell of coffee, this trick is just for you. Put fresh coffee grounds in a container and place it in your car. The coffee not only absorbs odors but also leaves a pleasant aroma.

6. Scent with Essential Oils

Put a few drops of your favorite essential oil on a cotton wool ball and place it in the cup holder or under the seat of your car. The most popular and wonderful-smelling scents that appeal to many people are lavender, lemon and eucalyptus.

7. Use an Air Freshener

Various car deodorizers and fresheners are available in the shops to combat different odors. From sprays to gel-based products, choose the one that suits your needs and follow the instructions on the packaging.

If you don’t like commercial air fresheners, you can easily make your own. Fill a small bowl with baking soda and add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Poke holes in the jar’s lid and place it in a cup holder or under your seat. This DIY air freshener will absorb odors and give off a pleasant aroma at the same time.


8. Steam Clean

If odors are persistent, consider steam cleaning your car interior. As well as removing odors, high-temperature steam kills bacteria and removes stains. You can buy a hand-held steam cleaner for home use or choose a professional service.

9. Vacuum Regularly

Regular vacuuming can help prevent odors. Get into the habit of vacuuming your car’s interior at least once a week, paying particular attention to the seats and carpets where odors linger.

10. Keep Windows Open if Possible

If possible, keep your car windows open to allow natural ventilation. Fresh air can help disperse odors and provide natural freshness. Of course, be aware of the external environment to prevent more unpleasant odors from entering the car.

Additional Tips

Different odor control methods may be needed at other times of the year. For example, in autumn, damp and musty smells may occur. This can be solved by using moisture absorbers.

If you often travel with pets, use a good seat cover to protect your car upholstery. Also, keep a small bag of cleaning products in the car for unexpected accidents.

The smell of cigarettes is highly unpleasant, but there is an alternative to heated tobacco products, which are almost odorless.

Spilled food and drink are among the most common sources of unpleasant car odors. To avoid this, invest in containers designed to carry food and drink. Also, take all food out of the car after each journey to prevent it from spoiling and causing unpleasant odors.


Regular Maintenance

Set a regular schedule for deep cleaning your car’s interior. This should include vacuuming, surface cleaning, and washing floor mats. Regular maintenance will not only help keep your car smelling fresh, but it will also make it easier to identify the source of any new odors.

Remember that car air vents can be one source of odors. Dust and debris accumulated in the vents when the air conditioning or heating is on can give off a musty smell. Use a foam brush or a special air vent cleaning brush to clean these hard-to-reach areas.

Consider keeping an “odor prevention kit” in your car. This could include a small bag of baking soda, a travel-sized bottle of fabric softener, and a few cotton balls dipped in essential oil. Having these on hand will help you deal with unpleasant odors as soon as they appear.

However, sometimes, some lingering odors refuse to go away despite your best efforts. In such cases, it is worth considering professional odor removal services. These professionals have specialized equipment that can effectively neutralize and eliminate even the most persistent odors.

Every Journey is Enjoyable

Car maintenance is ongoing, so remember to take care of your car. You can always try natural or store-bought cleaning and deodorizing products, and when all else fails, use a professional cleaning service.

Taking care of your car and its cleanliness will ensure it remains a pleasant environment for you and your passengers. After all, every journey will be much more enjoyable without a rotting apple, a carpet that hasn’t been cleaned for years or the smell of a wet dog.

Kantar Anita
Kantar Anita

I am Anita Kantar, a seasoned content editor at As the content editor, I ensure that each piece of content aligns seamlessly with the company's overarching goals. Outside of my dynamic role at work, I am finding joy and fulfillment in a variety of activities that enrich my life and broaden my horizons. I enjoy immersing myself in literature and spending quality time with my loved ones. Also, with a passion for lifestyle, travel, and culinary arts, I bring you a unique blend of creativity and expertise to my work.