Have you ever sat inside your car, only to start the engine and have your nose attacked by a pungent odour?
Nobody likes a smelly car, but there are effective ways to get rid of that less-than-attractive scent.
The first step is to identify the source of your smelly car interior. No amount of air fresheners will remove rotten banana peels from under your seats, so it's time to throw on some gloves and get down to business.
Finding & Removing The Source Of Your Bad Car Smell
There are many areas that can trap smells in your car. Cabin air filters, food, and cloth seats are some of the sources of bad odours.
Fruit, food, and spills
The first thing you need do to make your car smell brand new is to check under your seats to see if there is any food. Once you've checked underneath the seats and removed the source of the smell, you'll need to use a brush and degreaser to remove the residue that got stuck in your carpets.
Expired cabin air filters
Now it's time to pop your engine and check your cabin air filters to identify the next source of your car's bad smell. Cabin filters can be replaced every year to ensure there is no rot or mildew blowing through your car. Visit your local Canadian Tire and get a fresh set of cabin air filters.
Smells trapped in fabrics & seats
Here's where it gets a little complicated. If you've ever spilled a sugary drink on your fabrics or seats, it is possible that the spill integrated with your interior surfaces. In this case, you'll likely need a deep dirt extraction & steam cleaning to begin dislodging the smells & restoring your car interior freshness.
How To Remove Bad Odours And Make Your Car Smell Brand New
Now that you've removed the source of your bad car interior smell, its time to detail your car interior to remove the trapped smell from your fabrics.
Here's what you'll need to detail your car, we recommend to read over our article that covers detailing your car in depth.
You will need:
A detailing degreaser solution. Degreasers will remove food residue from your carpets & seats. These solutions will also remove any smells trapped in your fabrics. Ensure you follow the manufacturer's instructions when using degreaser solutions, as they are quite aggressive. Vinegar diluted with water is an effective odour remover if you don't have access to a detailing degreaser.
Car interior detailing brushes. You'll use carpet brushes in combination with your degreaser solution to agitate interior floors & fabrics and dislodge odours.
Leather seat cleaner. If you have leather seats, ensure you are using proper chemicals as specified by your car's manufacturer. Leather is delicate and should never be cleaned with degreaser, as it will prematurely age your leather seats.
These are the most basic materials you'll be using to make your car smell brand new. However, if you have access to a dirt extractor and a steamer, you'll have an easier time cleaning your car interior.
How To Prevent Bad Odours From Taking Over Your Car Interior
Now that you've removed all the sources and residues of odour in your car, it is important to maintain this level of cleanliness to ensure your car always smells great.
Refrain from eating in your car
Food scraps falling into the crevices of your car are a leading cause of bad smells, so not eating in your car is the simplest way to prevent bad odours from emerging. Not only that, but the fumes released by food can get stuck in your headliner and contribute to that dreaded rotten smell.
Prevent spills proactively
Be extra careful with coffee & any drinks that contain a lot of sugar or fruit. These are culprits that will contribute to a nasty smell in your car, especially if left uncleaned for too long. If you do spill liquids in your car, keep a handy brush, microfibre towel, and your degreaser/vinegar + water solution and scrub that stain immediately, using the microfibre towel to absorb the residue.
Call a professional detailer once a year
Hands down the best method of ensuring your car interior keeps its showroom freshness is by consistently getting your car detailed by professionals.
The benefit here is that a professional detailer will have access to industrial equipment, like Optima steam cleaners, dirt extractors, and effective detailing chemicals.
Thankfully, Mångata Auto Pros is Ontario's highest volume detailing company, employing technicians with years of experience in the industry. So give us a call, we will get rid of those bad interior smells at your preferred location - we come to you.
Advanced Car Odour Removal Options
If you've been smoking in your car for years, chances are that steam cleaning and dirt extraction mixed with degreasing will not be enough. In certain situations you'll need to go the extra mile, here are some of the options you have to get rid of odours:
Ozone treatment. This is a highly effective method of destroying odour generating particles in your car. However, we recommend only employing professionals to do so, as ozone is a harmful gas that can cause health problems if inhaled. If you choose to DIY, we recommend extensively researching the process before purchasing an ozone generator.
Intensive steam cleaning. The next option is to use an industrial steamer to blast hot steam through your fabrics and dislodge smelly particulates that integrated with your car interior. Usually, the steamers available to consumers will not do the trick, so your best option here is to either rent an industrial steamer, or give Mångata a call.
Dirt extraction. In some cases, like if your child puked on the rear seats, degreasing and vacuuming will not do the trick. A combination of a dirt extractor and a steamer will be necessary to suck up residue trapped in your car seats and eliminate odours. You can DIY this with a simply dirt extractor, we recommend one paired with a steam blaster for optimal results.
That's it folks! We wish you luck in making your car smell brand new and we hope these methods will help you reach your car interior freshness goals. If you are still lost and unsure of how to get rid of those bad odours, don't hesitate to give us a call to book a professional detailing appointment. Our interior packages are starting at $149 as of writing this article, so take advantage of this offer and make your car look and smell brand new today.