Whats that smell?; Tips for cleaning and deodorizing your car

Dirty interior

No one wants to ride in a car that looks like this!! AHHH!

Cars are multipurpose investments these days, they aren’t just for travel! They also serve as offices, living rooms and even dining room tables for those on the go. Add children or pets to that mix and you have a recipe for some funky smells! Here are some tips for how to keep your car clean and to deodorize your car:


Keep a Trash Bag or Mini Can

Most bad smells in a car are food related. You can prevent these odors by simply keeping a shopping bag to put your trash in or purchasing a mini can to keep trash in. They sell lots of varieties online. We’ve even seen some crafty customers use a plastic cereal saver bin fashioned into a to-go trash bin!

Just make sure that you clean it out every time you stop-be it for gas or when you get to your destination. This is especially important during the summer months when heat and stinky food can do a number on your vehicle and nose!

Gym bag

Be aware of what you keep in the car

Try to not store items in your car unless you need to. So clean out that smelly gym bag, extra shoes, etc. Keeping your car constantly cleaned out, trunk included, will help avoid bad smells.

Also be aware of all your grocery bags! One left behind bag and cause major havoc on your nose. We’ve had a customer who couldn’t figure out why his car smelled so bad, turns out he had a steak fall out of the grocery bag and somehow get wedged into the underside of his passenger seat. It was a gruesome discovery for him and for the technician who found it!


Prep for Kids

If you have little children, you know the struggle is real to keep them and their areas clean! A great tip from a customer, most backseats can be covered utilizing a crib sheet. This is really effective for protecting from crumbs and children wiping their fingers on the seat. You can double down on the protection by putting down a waterproof crib liner before the sheet. Then you are protected from spills too! Which brings us to the next tip…

Prep for kids

Spill Proof it

While you may feel confident that you can balance your morning iced coffee while driving, you are one hard break away from disaster. Utilize travel mugs and remember to take them in with you when you go home!

It’s important to note also that little kids’ hands don’t always hold on to fast food cups very well. It may seem like a pain, but keeping a pair of spill proof mugs in your car are a great way to save your interior. Just pull over after leaving the drive thru and take 5 minutes to pour from the cup to the travel mug. That 5 minutes of time can save you hours of scrubbing!

One of our customers, a mom with the cleanest minivan in the county, makes really neat food caddies to keep her kids’ food off her car. She said the kids love them and she got them at a dollar store.

Spill proof

Don’t Delay

If you’ve already spilled in your car, you should treat the spill immediately. Use paper towels or a shop rag to soak up as much liquid as possible. Lay it over the spill and use the palms of your hands to press down firmly.

Once you have the area reasonably dry, use a shop vacuum to suck any liquid that may become trapped beneath the upholstery. If the smell is particularly strong, you can sprinkle odor-neutralizing baking soda on the area and let it set in before vacuuming it out.


Clean your Car Regularly

Spills and messes can go beyond car seats and carpets, ending up on consoles, dashboards and other hard surfaces. While these surfaces are solid and resistant to any staining or deep soaking, they are semi-porous and can grow bacteria from spills.

You can protect your car’s interior by wiping it down with a cleaner made for vinyl and plastic surfaces. You can also keep a small pack of surface-cleaning wipes in the car in the event of a spill emergency.

Also using a fabric refresher spray on the floorboards and ceiling of your car can help keep your car smelling fresh.

Spray bottle

There’s an entire isle at most grocery stores full of great automotive smells, sprays, solids, and air fresheners. One of our customers uses a small room freshener, keeps it in her backdoor pocket and changes it every two weeks when she gets paid. Her car always smells like fresh laundry!

Now you have some great tips to keep your car’s interior clean and smelling great. If you have any questions or tips of your own to share, tell us about it! You can message us on Facebook, call our shop (636-240-1050) or email us [email protected]!