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Are lingering odours ruining your driving experience? In this guide, we cover five of the best methods to remove bad odours and get your car smelling fresh.

How To Remove Bad Odours From Your Car : Our Top Tips

Want to banish lingering odours from your car? In this handy guide, we share five of the most effective methods to eliminate common car odours, like pet smells, spills, leaks and smoke.

Removing Odours from Your Car

One of the best things about a brand-new car is the unique smell of pristine interiors and upholstery. However, that new car smell slowly fades over time and usage, and bad odours can develop without proper care and attention.

Smoking, eating, drinking and transporting your furry companions in your car can all cause odours to build up. Many of these common smells can linger and be difficult to get rid of, but with the right care, it’s not impossible to get your car smelling like new.

Whether you’re trying to identify the source of an unpleasant smell in a car you’ve bought secondhand or seeking a remedy for your own mishap, we’ve compiled five practical tips to help banish lingering odours and get your car smelling fresh and inviting once more.

How to Find the Source of Bad Odours in Your Car?

One of the hardest tasks when tackling unpleasant and lingering vehicle odours is understanding where these odours hide. The smells often seem elusive, but finding the source of the smells is the key to eliminating them and restoring a pleasant driving experience.

Here are some common hiding spots for car odours:

  • Upholstery and Carpeting : Fibres in vehicle carpets or upholstery can trap odours, especially if spills or accidents have occurred.
  • Air Vents and HVAC System : Mould, mildew, and bacteria can all thrive in the damp environment of air vents and the HVAC system and can circulate unpleasant odours throughout the car.
  • Headliners and Ceiling Fabric : Odours from smoke, food, or pets can permeate the headliner and ceiling fabric, causing smells to linger even after surface cleaning.
  • Trunk and Cargo Areas : Spills, leaks, and forgotten items in the trunk or cargo area can create odours that last and eventually spread throughout the vehicle.
  • Underneath Seats and Between Cushions : Small bits of food, spilt drinks, or pet hair can build up between cushions and underneath seats and emit smells as they decompose.
  • Dashboard and Interior Panels : The dashboard and interior panels can harbour odours from spills, dust or dirt that find their way into hard-to-reach crevices.
  • Floor Mats and Floorboard : Spills or dirt on your floor mats can seep into the floorboard, leading to persistent odours if they aren’t cleaned and deodorised properly.

The 5 Best Ways to Remove Bad Smells from Your Car

Driving in a car that has an unpleasant smell quickly becomes a less-than-enjoyable experience. Whether it’s the remnants of your favourite fast food, the smell of wet dog or lingering cigarette smoke, dealing with unpleasant odours is a challenge many car owners face at some point.

The good news is that there are a range of effective methods to eliminate odours and freshen up your vehicle’s interior. We’ve rounded up five tried-and-tested methods to help ensure you can remove any lingering odours from your vehicle for good.

1. Wet/Dry Vacuum

One of the best ways to rid your car of unpleasant odours is to start by deep cleaning your vehicle with a wet/dry vacuum. You should thoroughly vacuum the car to make sure any dirt or grime that may be harbouring smells is removed. Pay particular attention to areas where spills have occurred or stains are present to get your car smelling fresher.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a common, versatile, and affordable household cleaner known for its excellent ability to neutralise odours. All of this means it is an effective solution to banish bad smells from your vehicle.

To use baking soda on soft surfaces, simply dampen the affected area, for example, your car seat or carpet and then generously sprinkle baking soda onto the area. Allow the baking soda to sit for several hours or overnight to absorb all lingering odours and leave your car smelling fresh.

On solid surfaces, like your dashboard, you can create a powerful cleaning solution by mixing baking soda with vinegar. Use the mixture to scrub the area to remove stubborn stains and neutralise smells.

3. Charcoal

Charcoal is an excellent natural deodoriser for your vehicle. It is highly porous, so effectively traps and neutralises a wide range of odours. Charcoal is also an incredibly simple way to remove unpleasant smells that require almost no effort. Simply place a bag of charcoal briquettes in your car overnight and leave them to absorb any unpleasant odours.

4. Ozone Generator

An ozone generator may be your best option if you’re looking for a powerful way to remove odours and sanitise your car’s interior. Ozone, a naturally occurring gas, can penetrate fabric, upholstery and other hard-to-reach areas, killing bacteria and viruses and neutralising odours. Ozone generators are one of the most effective solutions for stubborn odours, like smoke or pet smells, so they are a good option if you’ve tried some of the other methods already.

5. Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried any of the above methods to deep clean your vehicle and remove any lingering odours, but they still persist, it’s time to enlist expert help. Professional car detailers have the expertise, experience and specialist equipment needed to take on the toughest smells and leave your car looking and smelling like new. Professional cleaners offer a range of services from steam cleaning to ozone treatments to suit a range of budgets, so you can ensure your car receives the treatment it truly deserves.


Let Star Car Wash Help

As Australia’s leading hand car wash and detailing provider, at Star Car Wash, we can help rid your car of odours and ensure it smells and looks like new.

By entrusting your car to our professionals, you’re not just getting a regular wash and interior clean. You’re signing up for meticulous attention to detail catered to your needs. We have a variety of 100% car wash and detailing packages for every budget.

Whether it’s a quick exterior wash or a full detail, our team at Star Car Wash is dedicated to restoring your vehicle to a like-new condition. Find a store near you and book an appointment with us today.

Contact Us

Contact any participating Star Car Wash today and experience the difference a professional detailing makes.

02 9700 7420


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