Menu

1A Auto Video Library
Our how-to videos have helped repair over 100 million vehicles.

Eliminate Bad Smells from Your Car

Share on:

Eliminate Bad Smells from Your Car

Created on: 2019-12-26

Does your car stink? Watch this video for some tips on eliminating bad smells!

  1. step 1 :No instructions needed
    • No instructions needed

Tools needed for replacement

  • 1A - No Tools Needed

    No Tools Needed

Installation Video
Watch video

Oh, what's that smell?

There's a lot of different smells your car can have from not so fresh, slightly embarrassing to absolutely undriveable. I'm going to go over some tips and show you what they are and how to remove them.

For simple smells a basic cleaning of your car's interior and replacement of the cabin filter may be all you need. Start by removing any garbage or debris from the vehicle, especially old food. Even though it may not seem that it could have a smell, clean the inside windows with some glass cleaner. Wipe down the dash and the plastic panels with some interior cleaner. To remove any sand and debris from your carpets, vacuum them out. And for your cabin filter, most cars, it's behind the glove box and it's easy to replace.

Now let's say you have a smell that's a little bit worse such as a pet smell with lots of fur in the backseat or a dirty gym bag that has been left there for a while or a coffee spill with the cream curdling into the carpet. In addition to those other cleaning methods, you're going to want to use an upholstery cleaner or a carpet shampoo and scrub the carpets and seats. You can also use an aerosol, car bomb or odor eliminator.

Okay, now let's take it to the next level where none of those methods worked. Maybe you have a water leak that's causing a mold or mildew smell or maybe you had a gas can spill in the trunk of your car. Or even a vehicle that's been heavily smoked in. These smells are extremely difficult to remove. Remove the interior completely. The seats, the carpet, the interior panels, the headliner and clean all surfaces underneath. You may need to rent an industrial carpet cleaner to clean the seats, even the headliner, and in some cases, replace the carpet.

It's important to not forget about the heating and air conditioning system. Use a disinfectant spray to spray into the vents and with the fan on, spray into the intake. You may need to run the car without the cabin filter. On top of all that, use an ozone machine. You don't want to breathe this in. So with the vehicle outside and a window cracked, run the machine for at least 30 minutes.

Ah, that smells better. After all that, your smell should have been greatly reduced, if not completely eliminated, you can always top it off with an air freshener.
Then you're good to go.

Couple of home remedies that may work for you if you can't get those lingering smells out. Baking soda, charcoal that doesn't have the accelerant or the lighter fluid in it, and coffee grounds.

Tools needed for replacement:

    1A - No Tools Needed

  • No Tools Needed


What NOT to Do When Replacing a Window Regulator

What NOT to Do When Replacing a Window Regulator

If you made a mistake, and your window regulator cable jumped out at you, check out this video to learn some tips on how to get it all back together!

Search Videos
Go To Top

Same Day Shipping

Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.

Guaranteed To Fit

Highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts enforced to the strictest product standards.

USA Customer Support

Exceeding customers' expectations, our team of passionate auto enthusiasts are here to help.

Instructional Video Library

Thousands of how-to auto repair videos to guide you step-by-step through your repair.

Loading...