How to Make Your Car Smell Good

Find out if you’re getting ripped off on your car insurance in less than two minutes.
No long forms · No spam · No fees
Making your car smell good can be as easy as using an air freshener and vacuuming, but depending on the pungency of your car, you may have to take more action.
We spend a lot of time in our cars while running errands, on road trips, and during our daily commute. If you’ve ever settled into the driver’s seat only to be disturbed by a funny scent, then you know how unpleasant it is to drive around in a car that doesn’t smell so good.
Cars can easily collect a variety of bad odors based on what we keep in them, and with little circulation in the garage or in between drives, it makes sense that the interior of your vehicle needs to be freshened up from time to time.
Jerry‘s compiled everything you need to know below about how to get your car smelling brand new.
RECOMMENDED
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever

Making your car smell good by deodorizing

Use an air freshener. Air fresheners are an inexpensive way to keep your car smelling good. If you don’t want artificial fragrances inside your vehicle, you can always make your own car air freshener using your favorite essential oils.
To remove bad odors rather than masking them, you can try using baking soda or dryer sheets to absorb some of the scents; just be sure to vacuum the baking soda away after it has done its job. A bowl of vinegar could also soak up any bad smells in your car, just make sure you freshen up the car with a better scent after the vinegar has done its work.
Vacuum your vehicle. A lot of debris collects on your floor mats and contributes to unpleasant smells. If you haven’t vacuumed in a while, it’s likely that there’s dirt, body odor, food, or even dead animal smells in your car.
Vacuum your car regularly to keep things fresh and clean, with particular attention to the areas around and beneath the rubber mats, passenger seat, and driver’s seat.
Designate a pet area. If you travel with a pet then you likely have pet odors contributing to your car’s overall smell. Designate a pet area in your car and cover the seat with a blanket or pet tarp to keep the area clean. Consider traveling with a pet carrier to keep your pet safer and your car cleaner.

Address spills and stains immediately

Soak up spills as quickly as possible. If your coffee cup goes flying when you round a corner or you drop some food while eating mid-drive, the best strategy is to clean the area immediately. Keep a roll of paper towels in your car so that cleanup can happen quickly.
Pull over somewhere safe before you get to cleaning.
Soak up any spills as soon as they happen and then treat and disinfect the spot with a spray bottle cleaner when you are able. Pay particular attention to areas like the cup holder, which tend to accumulate spills.
Remove stains with car-specific products. Many manufactures make car-specific products for upholstery and flooring. Particularly with leather seats, you should be cautious about using products that are not designed for your interior type.
Always test a small, less-visible area first on your leather or cloth seats to make sure that the product won’t damage the fabric.

How to keep your car smelling good

A lot of people are really attracted to that great new car smell. Whether you want to keep that distinct smell, get it back, or just keep a good general smell in your car, Jerry‘s got you covered.
Remove clutter frequently. Old gym shoes and your tent from last weekend’s camping trip don’t have a permanent place in your vehicle. Remove unnecessary items from your car weekly to keep the clutter at bay.
Take out the trash. Fast food bags, coffee cups, and other trash can quickly collect inside your vehicle and contribute to an accumulation of bad odors. Throw away any trash daily to avoid bad smells in your vehicle.
Don’t smoke inside. Smoke smells are extremely hard to get rid of and can last for a long time. Avoid smoking in your vehicle if you want to keep it smelling fresh. If you ever plan on selling your vehicle you will have much better luck if it has never been smoked in.
Buy a hanging air freshener for your car. Part of that new car smell comes from popular air fresheners that dealerships will hang from the car. The air fresheners are cheap and easy to use, so you can be sure to bring back at least some of that good smell for your car. If you don’t like the distinct new car smell, you can get hanging air fresheners in a variety of scents.

FAQs

How to make leather car seats smell good

To make your leather seats smell good, clean the seats thoroughly. You don’t want to soak your leather or hurt it, so you have to be careful.
Buy a sprayable leather cleaner or odor eliminator from any retail store to kill any bacteria and smells from your leather seats. If you would rather use a home remedy solution, try mixing one part white vinegar with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray the leather seats, making sure not to concentrate the solution in any one spot. Let the solution sit for five minutes, then wipe the seats dry.

What products should I use to make my car smell good?

The best way to make your car smell good is by cleaning it first. This means using any disinfectant cleaner and vacuuming to get your car looking new and feeling clean. Once that’s done, you can work on using air freshening products, homemade scents, or any deodorizing product you find from retail stores to get the smell you want.
The new car smell fades quickly, but it doesn’t mean that your car will never smell that good again. Keeping your car clean and clutter free is one big way to make sure that your car stays smelling good drive after drive. Treat your car well and take care of any cosmetic issues or maintenance needs as soon as possible to ensure a long life for your vehicle.
RECOMMENDED
Haven’t shopped for insurance in the last six months? There might be hundreds $$$ in savings waiting for you.
avatar
Judith switched to Progressive
icon savingsSaved $725 annually
avatar
Alexander switched to Travelers
icon savingsSaved $834 annually
avatar
Annie switched to Nationwide
icon savingsSaved $668 annually

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

√
No long forms
√
No spam or unwanted phone calls
√
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free