Useful Tips

How to get rid of bad smell in the car


When you buy a new car, then there are no extraneous odors in it, but there is only the smell of new interior materials. But after some time, the smell of novelty gradually disappears and the interior of the car starts to smell completely different. During the operation of the machine, interior materials absorb a large number of different smells, from the smell of tobacco smoke to the smell of dampness.

Often, to get rid of the smell, we go to a car wash to eliminate an unpleasant odor by doing a dry cleaning of the passenger compartment, but, unfortunately, it is not always possible to remove an unpleasant odor the first time. The reason is that many odors are not easy to remove the first time, and also that many car washes use ineffective and cheap detergents that remove odors.

Also, a large number of car owners use various air fresheners in the car interior, which mainly deal with the elimination of unpleasant odors in the car interior. But, for example, people who are allergic cannot use such shock-absorbing fresheners in their car. Including there is a large number of smells with which similar fresheners cannot cope.

Fortunately, there are a large number of ways to improve the smell in the car, which consist in regularly cleaning the passenger compartment from pollution, to localize and eliminate the source of unpleasant odor. Our online edition 1GAI.RU decided to collect for you the most important tips and methods for eliminating unpleasant odors inside the car.

1) Wash your car regularly

Try to wash your car often yourself or at a high-quality car wash, where expensive cleaning agents are used that will not damage the paintwork of your car. Also regularly clean the interior of the machine from contamination. To avoid odors, regularly check the cleanliness under the seats of the car, where various debris most often accumulates, which over time can lead to the appearance of a difficult to remove unpleasant odor.

Each time you visit a car wash, clean not only the car body, but also the floor mats and interior trim.

Check the pockets on the back of the front seats for debris. Most often, if the owner of the car has children, the remnants of food, candy wrappers from sweets, etc., which can lead to the appearance of an odor in the cabin, get there.

When visiting a car wash or by yourself, clean the child seat, which can most of all store an odor in itself.

Remember that the appearance of an extraneous odor in the cabin does not mean that its cause is here. The source of odor in the cabin can be any place in the car. Therefore, when cleaning the car from odors, be sure to pay attention to the trunk, which, like the interior, needs regular cleaning.

2) Wipe the car interior

In order to prevent extraneous odor from appearing in your car, regularly wipe all plastic, wood and metal surfaces inside the cabin using a clean rag and special cleaning products that will not damage the interior decoration materials of the car.

To clean the leather surface, use only special skin cleansers that are sold in any car shop.

If you intend to independently clean the interior on a hot day, it is advisable to put the car in the shade so that the interior of the car does not heat up, as otherwise it will be difficult to clean the air in the stuffy interior.

When cleaning the interior, be sure to check the glove compartment for foreign accumulated objects. Remove anything that could cause unpleasant odors. After that, wipe the glove compartment with a damp cloth, eliminating pollution.

3) Use a brush to clean

If you want to vacuum the interior of a car, then before that, be sure to wipe it with a brush, treating it with a special tool and corroding dirt of the car seat. Remember that dirt and odor are strongly eaten into the fabric and velor seats of the machine.

Before turning on the vacuum cleaner, make sure that all surfaces are dry from water and from special products that you did the preliminary cleaning.

If the car mats are the source of unpleasant odors, then for cleaning it is advisable to pull them out onto the street, so that during cleaning it would be more convenient for you to thoroughly vacuum and rinse everything.

Remember to also vacuum the trunk of the car.

4) Thoroughly clean the seats

After you have vacuumed the car, if dirt has accumulated inside the folds and seams of the seats, you need to use a brush and a special tool shampoo (conditioner for the car interior fabrics) in order to remove the dirt, which is also a common cause of unpleasant odors in the passenger compartment.

When using water to clean the seats, be careful, because if you wet them excessively with water, it will take several days to fully dry. Also, water can leave a foreign moldy odor in the seats.

Check the vehicle interior for stains that are a source of contamination and almost always carry an odor.

To remove excess water from the surface of the materials to be cleaned, use appropriate rags or sponges that absorb moisture.

5) After the car is cleaned and dried, check if extraneous odors are eliminated

If, after a thorough cleaning of the vehicle interior, an extraneous odor persists, then it's time to find the source of the smell. Here are some tips for finding the cause of the smell.

As a rule, an unpleasant smell is bacteria that are formed due to some kind of garbage. There may be food leftovers somewhere in the car. Also, a foreign odor is often formed due to the remnants of the soles of the shoes (heels, etc.). In order to find the source of odor, carefully review all the places in the car where contamination can be found.

Often the cause of the unpleasant odor is the cigarette smoke that has been ingested. Just one smoked cigarette inside the car can leave an unpleasant smell in the cabin for a long time, which is very difficult to remove, even with the help of special cleaning agents.

In order to eliminate the smell of cigarettes, put a waffle towel in an iron bowl and pour white distilled vinegar into it, placing the bowl in the passenger compartment next to the ashtray. Also, if the rear passengers smoked in the car, put the same bowl of vinegar in the back of the car. A solution of vinegar and a towel will absorb the foreign smell of tobacco for several hours.

Also, to eliminate the smell of smoke in the car, you can dilute the water with baking soda, pour the solution into any container with a spray, and treat the car interior with it, after which, without wiping the interior surface, close the car for several hours.

If you constantly smoke in the car, then, unfortunately, the only way to eliminate the smell of smoke in the car is to not smoke in the car.

If in your car there was a fire for some reason, then surely the smell of burning strongly stuck in the interior materials of the car. To eliminate this smell, you can try the vinegar method described above. If this does not help, then you need to contact a specialized car wash that uses high-quality expensive cleaning products.

A common cause of unpleasant odors in the car's interior is mold, which was formed due to water or food debris. Most often, mold forms under rugs where moisture can get, especially in rainy or snowy weather. Use special carpet cleaners to clean floor mats. Also, in order to avoid the formation of mold, it is necessary to dry the mats from moisture.

If milk has been spilled in your machine, do not delay the cleaning, as this can become a difficult source of odor. To clean the seats of milk, it is necessary to remove the milk from the surface and rinse with water as much as possible, and then thoroughly dry the surface.

6) Deodorize the car

After you have cleaned the car of all contaminants, it is necessary to deodorize your car in order to eliminate the appearance of all unpleasant odors. To do this, use a special liquid freshener (spray).

To deodorize the entire cabin, open the hood of your car.

Start the engine and set the airflow using the air conditioner (or climate control) to the maximum mode - the cooling mode must be turned off. Please note that the interior air recirculation mode must be turned off. That is, the interior airflow system should take air from the street.

Under the hood, locate the heating element of the air conditioner or the climate of the installation. As a rule, it is located under the hood from the front passenger side. Traditionally, it is installed under the ventilation holes in the hood or under the windshield.

To deodorize the passenger compartment with the passenger compartment blower turned on, you must inject the vehicle deodorant into the ventilation holes. Inject a freshener several times and return to the car interior to make sure that the freshener has started to flow through the passenger compartment ventilation system. Repeat this process if necessary.

Car deodorant, entering through the ventilation openings, passes through the entire air conditioning system, eliminating odors from all ventilation units, where, as a rule, it is difficult to do manual cleaning due to inaccessibility.

Now, in order to finally clean the ventilation from odor, it is necessary to turn on the air conditioner for maximum cooling and repeat the process of injecting deodorant into the air supply ventilation.

8) Contact a specialized car wash

If you yourself could not eliminate the unpleasant odor, then contact the professionals. In many cases, cleaning products that are sold in car dealerships are intended for mass consumption by private individuals, when they use special products that are not available in stores like car washes. Therefore, turning to a car wash, you will surely be able to eliminate the ingrained extraneous odor.

9) Protect yourself against future odors

In order to prevent an unpleasant odor in your car in the future, get rubber floor mats that protect your velor floor mats not only from pollution, but also from the absorption of various extraneous odors.

Even if you sit down and spill something on the rubber mats, then cleaning them will not be difficult, unlike velor mats.

If you transport animals in the car, then use special containers for transportation that protect your car not only from pollution, but also from damage to the interior.

If you transport children, then next to them you can spread a towel or napkin that will protect your salon from pollution, which will be difficult to clean.

10) Do not start pollution of the passenger compartment

Clean all interior surfaces regularly from dust to prevent accumulation of dirt, which will be difficult to clean.

Wipe the inside and outside of the car glass as they are a frequent source of dirt and unpleasant odors.

See also a special section of the site 1GAI.RU - "Knowledge Base", which contains a large number of useful tips for motorists.

Bad smell as an indicator of a car malfunction

It is noteworthy that the occurrence of a specific cloying smell in the vehicle interior may indicate a malfunction. So, if gasoline smells in the air, the tank ventilation is most likely clogged.

But the most dangerous for the motorist is the characteristic smell of burning, as it indicates burning wiring. And with her, as you know, jokes are bad. In this case, the driver needs to go to the service station to prevent more complex problems - faulty wiring can provoke a fire, and the car will flash like a torch.

Caution - Tobacco Smoke!

But most often, motorists are faced with the disgusting smell of cigarette smoke - it literally eats into the velor upholstery of the seats. The ashtray also adds an extra stink, in which, as a matter of fact, the cigarette butts themselves are stored. Of course, smoking drivers do not feel the smell of tobacco smoke, but if they want to sell their vehicle, they are unlikely to be able to quickly find a buyer for it. A rare person wants to buy a smoked car.

All means are good

If a car enthusiast needs to get rid of a slight smell that got into the inside of the car from the outside, then it can do with various flavors, as well as air fresheners. The latter sell specialized stores in great abundance.

As for the specific smell that animals leave behind in the car's interior, a special aerosol will help to combat it. It can also dull the smell of sweat and tobacco smoke. It is to blunt, because such funds do not eliminate the stench, but only temporarily suppress it.

In order to get rid of the unpleasant odor in the vehicle interior once and for all, the motorist must thoroughly clean it. But a vacuum cleaner is not enough. First you need to purchase a special detergent, and then do a wet cleaning of the entire cabin. Particular attention must be paid to the seats. It is better to remove and wash the covers (manually or in a washing machine). As for the plastic parts, which also absorb unpleasant odors, it is better to wipe them with polish.

Of course, not every motorist, for one reason or another, will be able to independently carry out a general cleaning of the inside of the car. Fortunately, there are many car washes that provide such a service. By the way, it costs a lot. But the driver saves time and trusts his car to true professionals who have at hand not only the necessary tools, but also equipment to get rid of unpleasant odors for a long period of time.

The strength and powerlessness of ozone

Recently, some car washes have begun to offer motorists a revolutionary method of dealing with unpleasant odors that reign in the passenger compartment. As a tool to eliminate the stench in the car, they use not various detergents, but ordinary ozone. The latter is launched into the car interior and comes into contact with bacteria, which are a source of disgusting odor. As a result, their structure breaks up, and they simply disappear. And with them, the stench disappears.

To date, the effects of ozone on bacteria that exude an unpleasant odor are the most effective way to clean the interior of a car from a source of stench. But those motorists who wish to use this service should immediately prepare for high costs.

However, not all unpleasant odors in the vehicle interior can be eliminated with ozone. For example, he is powerless against the stench, the source of which is air conditioning. Rather, not this device itself, but the liquid accumulating in it. It is she who contributes to the reproduction of various bacteria. So, you can remove them only by cleaning all the channels of the air conditioner. To do this, use a special mixture, which is sold in car dealerships.

Nevertheless, not only air conditioning, but also ordinary water can provoke an unpleasant rotten smell in the car interior. If it enters the machine in sufficient quantities and stays there, then the stench can not be avoided.

Wet chairs can also produce an unpleasant rotten smell. To cope with them is much more difficult than with other elements of the cabin, because their surface cleaning alone will not be enough.

To eliminate the unpleasant odor exuded by wet seats, you must first remove the covers and wash them thoroughly, then dry well. You also need to vacuum the seats, treat them with a detergent that is designed to clean the interior. At the end of the chair, wash with clean water and dry thoroughly.

Of course, this work is time-consuming, so if the car enthusiast has neither the time nor the desire to do this, then it is better for him to turn to the appropriate specialists for help - they will cope with this work much faster and more efficiently.

Folk method or “fortune telling” on coffee grounds

As soon as the car became not a luxury item, but a means of transportation (in the sense, it was available to the general public), motorists began to be smart in the fight against extraneous odors in the car. Especially, their findings will be useful to those drivers who are constrained in finances and do not have extra money to visit car washes.

So, you can completely destroy the cigarette smell in the passenger compartment using ordinary coffee grounds. Для этого следует поместить ее в какую-либо емкость и оставить в машине на ночь. Правда, при этом потребуется наглухо закрыть все окна с дверцами. Утром кофейную гущу можно забрать, а салон надо хорошо проветрить.Of course, it is not a fact that the unpleasant odor will disappear after the very first night - perhaps this procedure will need to be repeated several times until the cigarette smell is completely eliminated.

By the way, instead of coffee grounds, you can use table vinegar. The latter should be poured into a glass and put on the floor in the passenger compartment. There he should be from 12 to 14 hours. Then the interior of the vehicle must be well ventilated. If it was not possible to eliminate the smell of tobacco smoke the first time, the procedure is repeated.

It will help in the fight against the smell of cigarette smoke and vanilla. It should be carefully applied to inaccessible places of car seats. After 20-25 hours, the interior of the car will be filled with a vanilla aroma that completely replaces the smell of tobacco.

You can relate to folk methods with some prejudice or simply not take them seriously, but in reality they are effective. At least, you can eliminate the same disgusting smell of cigarette smoke with their help. Nevertheless, the vast majority of motorists prefer to use traditional methods, whether it be cleaning the car interior with special detergents or the use of various air fresheners and aerosols.

No fresh air anywhere

It would seem that the unpleasant smell in the car interior can only spoil the mood of the driver and his passengers, but does not affect the driving itself. However, numerous experiments and tests have proved the opposite.

Simply put, if during the ride the driver constantly smells, his mood will gradually deteriorate, he will become irritable. And this means that the motorist will begin to react aggressively to the road situation. His movements will become sharp, often rash. In the end, this can lead to an accident.

If during the ride the driver will not be distracted by extraneous annoying odors, he will be able to adequately assess the situation on the road. After all, he will not have to be distracted and look for the source of the stink, and he will be extremely focused on the road situation, which will reduce the likelihood of an accident.

Good advice

But despite the existing methods of dealing with unpleasant odors in the car, the vast majority of motorists are limited to using conventional deodorants and fragrances. But when choosing them, it is worth considering some important nuances:

  • a deodorant with the scent of jasmine, lavender or chamomile can weaken the vigilance of a car enthusiast,
  • a fragrance that simulates the aroma of freshly cut grass, brings back nostalgic memories, because of which the driver loses concentration while driving,
  • the aroma of coffee and lemon drives away unnecessary thoughts and helps the car owner to concentrate on the traffic situation,
  • marine aromas contribute to a more even breathing, as well as soothe nerves and relax muscles,
  • cinnamon and pepper deodorants can cheer up the driver.

But sometimes, trying to get rid of an unpleasant odor, motorists buy a lot of deodorants with various aromas in the car interior. Mixing with each other, the latter create a real caustic mixture, and sometimes it turns out to be even more fetid than the previous unpleasant odor. So experts recommend choosing any one flavor.

Make it a rule

The motorist himself decides in what condition to keep the vehicle. He may not wash the car of dirt, not remove unpleasant odors from the passenger compartment, and for this no one will do anything to him, at least at the legislative level.

But there are also passengers, and for some reason many drivers forget about them. In particular, taxi drivers, who, it would seem, should do everything possible to make their passengers feel as comfortable as possible during the ride. But no, some of them for some reason believe that the same smell of tobacco smoke can be interrupted by ordinary deodorant.

I would like all motorists to make it a rule to regularly conduct general cleaning of the interior of their vehicle. At least once a year. After all, no matter how good the various flavors are, they do not eliminate, but dull the unpleasant odor.

Super-budget way to get rid of bad smell in the car - video:

Causes of unpleasant odors in the car

Everyone knows that unpleasant odors in the car salon do not arise from anywhere. However, not every motorist can guess that there are so many reasons for their appearance. In order not to be unfounded, we give the most common sources of this unpleasant problem.

1. Smoke. Molecules of gaseous substances are able to penetrate most deeply into the various porous and fibrous structures that make up the interior of each car. The problem of smoke smell is not limited to one tobacco smell. If the car has problems with the exhaust gas cleaning or exhaust system, then one way or another, they will be sucked into the atmosphere of the cabin.

2. Mold and putrefactive bacteria. Ineffective ventilation, dampness and food debris are the factors that lead to fungal and bacterial infections and the smell of mold in the car.

3. Leaks of technical fluids or fuels. The smell of gasoline or diesel fuel is familiar to everyone - it indicates a clogged fuel tank ventilation system or fuel leaks along the way to the engine. But the source of the sweetish-sugary aroma can guess only part of the drivers. It indicates that somewhere antifreeze is leaking. To prevent the smell of gasoline and other petroleum products, carefully monitor the condition of your car. Intrusive aroma disappears quickly enough. The only exception is engine oil and diesel fuel - their presence can be removed only by radical measures.

4. Contaminants of physiological origin. Persistent and unpleasant odors give rise to vital products of people and animals - feces and vomit, urine, etc. In this case, the problem is further aggravated by the fact that both the atmosphere inside the car and the upholstery suffer - so stable spots remain on it that they cannot be removed even by dry cleaning.

5. Food. If you eat a lot and often in a car, and even prefer strong-smelling goodies, then their smell is absorbed into the skin no worse than cigarette smoke. For this reason, you can overcome the musty smell in the car by the same methods as the stinky tobacco amber.

Getting rid of most of the annoying “aromas” is not easy. You will achieve a good result only when the source of stench is found and eliminated and a whole series of measures are taken to restore the pleasant atmosphere in the cabin.

What to do first

At the first stage, try to find the source of stench and perform a series of simple operations:

  • remove foreign objects from the passenger compartment and trunk, remove and wash the mats, wash the covers,
  • clean and maintain ventilation and air conditioning systems,
  • vacuum the surfaces (it is better to use a washing unit),
  • Clean the upholstery and flooring. In case of severe contamination, use special chemicals,
  • wash plastic, polymeric and synthetic elements with warm water and soap, or clean with automotive plastic cleaner,
  • Leave the car completely open for several hours to thoroughly dry and ventilate the interior,
  • replace the cabin filter.

Even these simple actions allow you to remove the unpleasant odor in the cabin. If he remains, then we will resort to "heavy artillery" - surface treatment with steam, antibacterial drugs and to ozonation of the cabin. Ozone is a powerful disinfectant. This converter eliminates the smell in the car and cleans the farthest places of the cabin from bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms.

Today, the ozonation service is provided in every company that is engaged in cleaning and washing cars. Buy an ozonizer for personal use - this useful device is useful in the garage and at home. It is only important to remember that the effect of the oxidizing agent on the body is not fully understood, therefore, after the procedure, the salon should be ventilated. Ozone decomposes very quickly into ordinary oxygen, so with the right approach, using a catalyst will only be of benefit.

Baking soda

The fact that sodium bicarbonate (the chemical name for baking soda) absorbs smells well, our grandmothers also knew. An open pack of soda left in the niche of the refrigerator deodorized its space for several months.

You can use the miraculous abilities of this substance for our purposes. It is enough to generously sprinkle with soda a place on which a liquid with a foul odor has spilled, so that it absorbs it. After that, vacuum the problem area.


Being an excellent adsorbent, charcoal is used both by industry and pharmacology - there is no such person who has not been treated with activated carbon tablets. Absorbent abilities of burnt wood will also work in order to remove an unpleasant odor in the cabin. Leave an open package of barbecue fuel for several days in the cabin, and there will be no trace of the heavy spirit.

Reacting with other substances, acetic acid can neutralize their smell. As for the strong, recognizable flavor of the seasoning itself, it is short-lived and disappears within a few hours with good ventilation.

Using vinegar, you can quickly get rid of the smell of cigarettes. To do this, 50-100 ml of liquid is poured into a glass jar and left in a closed compartment overnight. The procedure is repeated for a week, after which you can enjoy a healthy atmosphere inside. It is important only to replace vinegar with a fresh portion each time - after 15-20 hours, the adsorbing properties of this substance decrease.

The most powerful non-specialized adsorbent that is used to remove odors in the car interior is ammonia. It is used in the same way as vinegar, however, a single dose of liquid should be reduced to 10-15 ml. In addition, this strong-smelling substance should be used carefully, otherwise it will take a long time to ventilate the cabin.

Withdraw even a strong tobacco spirit in 5-6 hours. After this, the cabin must be aired - it’s strictly forbidden to drive, smelling ammonia.

Flavors and Aerosols

Everyone knows the familiar "stinks" hanging on the mirror or sticking out of the grilles of ventilation deflectors. Today we will not talk about them, because natural flavors give a much more pleasant effect.

Put a couple of vanilla pods on the bottom of the canvas bag, sprinkle with ground coffee or chopped citrus zest, and the atmosphere in the cabin will fill with your favorite aroma. Any woman will appreciate it, because it is harmless to the smallest passengers.

In conclusion, I would like to say that accuracy, hygiene and timely cleaning of the interior will allow you to never think about how to get rid of the smell in the car. No one is safe from force majeure circumstances, but in this case you can use our tips and restore the balance of freshness and cleanliness in the salon of your favorite car.