Tips to make your car smell fresh

August 10th, 2023 by

No one wants to feel trapped in a car with foul odors, but kids, pets, food, spills, and general mess can all contribute to those lingering smells that hit you when you open your car door. But you don’t have to dread hopping into the driver’s seat or avoid offering rides out of embarrassment. If you have a new car you want to keep smelling fresh or an older car you’re trying to deodorize, read on for some of our helpful tips on how to get rid of unpleasant smells and avoid them in the first place.

Use an Air Freshener

This may sound obvious, but it’s a great first step when it comes to making your car smell fresh. There are a few different kinds of air fresheners, all with the same purpose: to make your car smell just plain good. They each have their individual benefits, and here are the main types:

  • Vent/clip-on: Because this type is affixed to one of your car’s vents, you get great distribution throughout your car. It’s also relatively long-lasting, giving you between one and two months before needing replacement.
  • Spray: While the bottle of spray freshener itself may last you a while, the fragrance from the spritz doesn’t hang around too long. What it does deliver, though, is immediate odor removal for the time it does linger.
  • Gel-based: These often come in a canister filled with gel or gel beads. They won’t spill, and they leave your car smelling fresh for a long time.
  • Hanging: Wherever you choose to dangle this air freshener, it’s an inexpensive option that works great at trapping odor and giving off a fresh scent in its place.

Another great thing about air fresheners is that with any type you choose to display, there’s a world of aesthetic options to match your style.

Roll Down the Windows

Take your car for a drive with the windows rolled down. The force of the air flowing through your car may be just the ticket to get that stubborn smell out of your space. Before you get moving, make sure any loose objects, such as trash or paper, are secured or removed from the vehicle so you don’t lose them or wind up littering. If you can’t make it out for a drive, take advantage of the next blustery day and keep your car parked with the windows down.

Vacuum Your Carpet and Seats

You never know what might be lingering on your carpet or seats that you or your passengers have accidentally tracked in or spilled. Crumbs from strong-smelling food can start to turn malodorous. A stray piece of food that dropped on the floor could be a major culprit. The bottom of your shoes can also harbor some pretty yucky stuff. You can use a simple hand-held vacuum to get the job done, or you can head to a self-serve car wash facility and use its powerful vacuums to get deeper into those cracks and crevices.

Clean Out Your Cup Holder

Cup holders and their surrounding areas are often used as a catch-all. Stubborn crumbs, dirt, coffee, and other substances get trapped inside. As you continue to throw things in there, that mess compounds and ends up smelling.

To clean out the cup holder, first run over the area with a hand-held vacuum to get rid of anything that comes up easily. Then, grab some disinfectant wipes that are suitable for vehicle interiors and get to work wiping down the area. If you see substances coming off as you clean, continue to wipe those areas down until it’s no longer leaving a mark on the wipe or it’s as gone as you can get it. Once you’re done, grab that vacuum one more time to get anything you may have knocked loose.

Check Your Air Vents

closeup of car air vents

Just as you’d use a clip-on air freshener to distribute a fresh scent throughout your car, those same air vents could easily be the cause of that musty, stale scent you can’t get rid of. Fortunately, plenty of products on the market make cleaning your vents a quick and easy process.

For instance, you can take 30 minutes and use a simple spray that does all the work for you. Simply put your air conditioning on its highest level, press the button that recirculates air in your car rather than bringing it in from outside, and lock the spray bottle in its on position. Close the door and let this run for about 15 minutes. Come back to your vehicle, remove the spray, and let your car air out for another 15 minutes. And just like that, you have clean vents and a car that smells fresh.

If you’re unsure about or uncomfortable doing a deep clean or checking for odors that are coming from the vents, you can always go to a professional for peace of mind.

Neutralize Smells Naturally

If you’re not as keen on using a spray or air freshener, you still have plenty of options to deodorize your car. If you’ve ever been in a perfume store, you may have noticed there are jars of coffee beans set out. Inhaling the scent of the beans cleanses your palate so you can smell a new perfume without worrying about hints of the last one you spritzed still lodged in your nose.

The same principle applies to car freshness. Set out either whole or ground coffee beans in a bowl or jar and cover it with a lid with holes in it. Set it under a seat and it’ll go to work. The lid will keep it from spilling while driving. You can also use charcoal or orange peels, though you’ll want to throw these away before they go bad.

Ready To Ride?

When you follow these easy-to-apply tips, you’ll be excited to get some friends into your car and out for a drive. You can trust us here at Cochran Buick GMC Youngstown because we know the importance of driving a car you’re proud of. Ready to start fresh with a new vehicle? Check out our inventory today.

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Posted in Tips