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Car Odour: 7 Tips to Remove Car Odour

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3 Min Read

Sometimes, you can spot an unwanted smell in a car before you have bought it. But on other occasions, a distinctive foul odour can creep up the more you drive your vehicle. These awful smells are primarily a result of bacterial growth in the confines of your vehicle. If you have experienced this, you know it can be disgusting.

You certainly want an odour-free car should you want to drive it around in top shape or demand a high resale value. So with that in mind, here’s your step-by-step guide keep your mean machine smelling great. What’s better? You don’t need to dig deep into your pockets. Read on:

Pull everything out

Yes, we mean everything, and not only that stray beverage can that might be living underneath the seat for three months now, or crumpled up bills of your weekend groceries. We are talking about getting down to the foot mats, and also the seats (if you have the confidence or time of doing that).

Also, don’t forget the trunk.


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Wipe down every hard surface

Use a wet cloth to wipe down the seats, dashboard, and all other hard surfaces. Don’t forget the headliner, more so should you smoke. You can use a foam spray if your car is excessively dirty. But be wary of overspray – it is a pain to clear out all that foam from the window.

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Vacuum. Vacuum!

You can go bonkers here. Take a brush to scrub the carpet, and then vacuum clean it to get rid of the dirt. Trust us; you will be amazed at the amount of ground-in dirt you’ll see (especially if you haven’t ever done this before). Don’t overlook the crevices – centre console, spaces between the seats, and the like.

Repeat the exercise once you get to the trunk.

Steam (And then steam a little more)

Not only does steam help to loosen out tough dirt and stains from places that are hard to reach, but it also disinfects, thanks to all that heat being produced. You don’t require a special steamer to do all this; the one that you use to clean the floor will work just fine.

Steam the floor mat, seats, and any other plastic that doesn’t encase electrical components or wiring.

Never use steam on critical electrical components

Make sure everything’s dry

The interiors will be a little damp after all the steaming, and that is natural. But you do not want that dampness to persist, for it could otherwise mean sending out a special invite to mould and mildew. Of course, you don’t want that. You can use an air mover on one seat at a time or you can also take your car for car wash care.

Don’t rush the drying time. Steam cleaning can take up to a day to dry entirely.

Clean the AC

The air conditioner is likely to have pulled the foul odour in. There are cleaners available on the market that are specifically designed for your AC as car AC maintenance is also important. Buy one, and follow the manual.

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How to clean the AC:

  • Use an anti-bacterial spray, and leave your car for 30-40 minutes
  • Soak a piece of clean cloth in vinegar, and use it to clean the AC vents. This should take care of the dirt and bacteria. Alternatively, you can use baking soda solution as well.
  • Change the air filters every two years

Adopt a few preventive measures 

  • Activated charcoal is nature’s toxin absorber. Place a small pouch of charcoal briquettes inside your car, and leave it overnight.
  • The applications of baking soda are numerous. No wonder then that you can use this solution to get rid of the stinky smell as well. Sprinkle baking soda liberally on the stinky region, and let it dry. After a few hours, vacuum clean the dried powder.
  • The humble vinegar is your all-weather ally against bad smells. Pour a little vinegar into a small cup or bowl, and place it inside the car. The overnight evaporation can take out even the worst of odours.

The best way to prevent bacterial growth and the subsequent stench is to have your car serviced regularly.

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