How do you get rid of an old car smell?

My car stinks. To be fair, I left some old take-out in the car during the hottest day this summer. What can I do so that I’m not driving with all my windows open the whole time?

Answer
A stinky car is a surprisingly common problem—so don’t worry, there are plenty of options for you to try. Depending on the severity of the smell, cycle through a few of the following:
  • Leave baking soda in a bowl in the car
  • Leave charcoal in a bowl in the car
  • Run an essential oil diffuser
  • Spray upholstery and carpet odor remover
  • Leave vinegar in a bowl in the car
  • Clean the carpets and upholstery with car safe cleaners
  • Hang an air freshener
Another way to take care of your car is by making sure you have roadside assistance. With Jerry in your pocket, you’ll never have to worry about being stranded again. Jerry partners with Urgently to provide jump starts, lockout service, towing, and more.
Lauren Smith
Answered on Nov 15, 2021
Lauren has written for World Nomads, the Matador Network, Korvia Consulting, and once upon a time Three Fates Games. She graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a BFA in Creative Writing. After graduating, she moved overseas and lived in South Korea where she spent her free time traveling and going on road trips with friends. She misses the rest stop potatoes and is trying to figure out how to recreate them at home. She's now based outside of Chicago and when she's not writing she spends her free time reading, playing video games, and exploring whenever she can.
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