How to Make Your Car Smell Good

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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.

Keeping Your Car Clean of Bad Odors

Step 1: 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.
Step 2: 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.
Step 3: 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. In addition, if you ever plan on selling your vehicle you will have much better luck if it has never been smoked in.

How to Deodorize Your Vehicle

Step 1: 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 create a fresh scent. 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.
Step 2: Vacuum regularly. A lot of debris collects on your floor mats and contributes to unpleasant smells. 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.
Step 3: 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

Step 1: 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, then the best strategy is to clean the area immediately. Keep a roll of paper towels in your car so that cleanup can happen quickly. 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.
Step 2: 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.
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.

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