How do you get bad odors out of car upholstery?

I left my car in storage for a couple of weeks. When I got it back, my back seats had a really bad odor. I’m not sure what happened, but I need to get rid of the smell. What’s the best way to get rid of a bad odor in a car's upholstery?

Chloe Jenkins · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
A bad odor in your car upholstery is usually a sign of bacteria growth—I know, gross! Luckily, you can get odors out of your car upholstery by following either of these two methods:
  • Use white vinegar. Spray one part white vinegar mixed with two parts water onto your car’s upholstery. Allow it to dry. Repeat until the smell is gone.
  • Try an enzymatic cleaner. Enzyme cleaners are great for removing stains and odors. Typically, you spray the cleaner directly on the upholstery and let it dry, but be sure to check the instructions before using it.
Both vinegar and enzyme cleaners specialize in breaking down odor-causing bacteria without damaging your upholstery.
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