Vacuuming seats and floor mats removes crumbs, dead skin, pet hair and dander, etc., that combine to create a stale odor in your vehicle.
Wash the Floor Mats
Floor mats should be removed and washed with a small amount of dish soap. Rubber mats can be hosed down. Cloth floor mats should be vacuumed, scrubbed with a carpet and upholstery brush, then rinsed clean with water. Dry floor mats entirely before returning them to the car.
Shampoo the Seats
Clean cloth seats with a carpet and upholstery cleaning product like Resolve and a carpet and upholstery brush, or with a portable carpet and upholstery cleaning machine like Bissell’s Cordless Portable Carpet Cleaner. Treat leather seats with leather cleaner and wipe dry with a clean microfiber cloth.
Clean the Vents
Use a toothbrush and a car cleaning solution like ArmorAll Multi-Purpose Cleaner to eliminate a mildew-y scent. If the mildew odor persists, replace the cabin air filter.
Don’t leave smelly items in it
This goes for wetsuits too, but gym bags, shoes, trash and any food items. Sorry, this also includes the pooch.
Leave eating to the kitchen
This may be the most difficult one to overcome, but if you really want to keep that new car smell, literally don’t eat in your vehicle. Especially hot, fast food and takeaway. If you must, you can minimize the damage by turning off the heater/air conditioning vents so the smell doesn’t get sucked in.
Leather conditioner does a great job of not only conditioning the leather, keeping it soft and clean but it will bring back the fresh new leather smell.
Open the windows
If you do have a slight odor in your vehicle, driving with the windows down for a bit should help clear it out (assuming it’s clean and there’s no food or smelly items inside).
Dryer Sheets And Fabric Fresheners
Hang some dryer sheets on the air conditioning vents for a quick freshener. The fabric sheets will act as a deodorizer for the car. A box of dryer sheets with small punctures in the corner will also last longer than your usual car fresheners. Put this under the seat for long-lasting fragrance. You can also make your own fresheners using household fresheners like Downy Unstoppables or Gain Fireworks. You can opt to put them in small mason jars with holes in the cover or in small mesh bags. Put these under the seats, on the console or the cup holder for an instant fresh smell.
Use Coffee Beans
Coffee beans are one of the most energizing smells that you can have as a car freshener. Put some beans in a small mesh bag, socks or even a small paper bag. They are great deodorizers, and they can absorb bad smells in the car. Leave them under the seats as an affordable deodorizer and freshener. Don’t forget to change the beans every few days or so to keep them fresh. You can also opt to use ground coffee but put them in small steady containers like a salt shaker. Make sure that it’s in a stable place like the cup holder so you won’t need additional cleaning in case they spill.
Baking soda is one of the most useful items at home. It is a great deodorizer for cars as well. Sprinkle some baking soda on the car seats, mats and floor of the car. Leave them for some time, ideally for a few hours, then vacuum. This will remove the bad odor as well as dirt that is stuck on the upholstery. Similarly, you can also put baking soda in a small container and add a few drops of essential oil. You will have instant deodorizer and air freshener for your car. Just make sure that the surface you put the baking soda on is dry so that no unnecessary mess will need cleaning up later.
Freshen Up The Upholstery
While regular vacuuming helps in keeping away dirt and dust, stains can happen. For cloth seats, you can use club soda, baking soda mixed with water, white vinegar mixed with water and dishwashing soap, or even laundry detergent. Dab your mixture of choice on the stain and use a toothbrush or scrub to clean the stain. For leather seats, you can use the same vinegar mixture, lemon juice with cream of tartar paste, nail polish remover, or even reliable rubbing alcohol. Use these with cotton balls or soft sponge to remove stains from leather seats. After stain removal, let the seats dry, wipe with laundry sheets, and your car will be smelling good in no time.
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