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Keep That New Car Smell, or at Least Avoid That Bad Car Odor

January 17, 2011 by - Automotive Editor

When you first brought your new vehicle home from the dealership it had that distinctive new car smell we all know and love. As time went on, however, the new car smell was replaced with old car funk and you want to do something about it!

Good Car Smell

Consider the source: your upholstery and carpet.
Every day it rains or snows or is just generally wet outside you track that dripping, smelly mess inside your vehicle. Even with high quality floor mats that liquid dripping from your shoes will make its way into your carpeting where it will slowly build up, possibly feeding mold or mildew beneath the fabric. That icky stuff is the most likely source of your vehicle’s funky odor.
The easiest way of removing that smell is using a simple household vacuum and some readily available carpet cleaner to remove the filth, and the source of the smell.

Always use the cleaner on a small portion of the carpeting first to make certain it is not too harsh and follow the manufacturer’s instructions as you would inside your home. In all likelihood it involves spraying it on, letting it soak, the vacuuming it up.

If your carpet is stained or stubbornly dirty you might need to use a small scrub brush to remove all the grime. Once clean and dry, just vacuum.

If you have a smelly carpet but no traffic stains, you might want to try some simple household items for adding a freshness to your vehicle’s smell. First, make certain your carpeting is completely dry. Next, head to the kitchen and grab some cloves, cinnamon and baking soda. Mix a fair amount of the three powdery substances together, and sprinkle onto your vehicle’s carpeting. Make certain you add liberal amounts to the driver’s side and the passenger’s side in the front as these are usually the highest traffic areas inside your automobile. Let the mixture set on the carpet at least 15 minutes. Leaving it longer will not hurt the fabric. The idea is to transfer the smell from the mixture to the smelly carpet. Once it has set long enough (you decide how long that is) simply vacuum it up with your household vacuum cleaner.

For really tough carpet stains you can mix a cup of vinegar with three quarts of very hot water and two teaspoons of Castile soap. Rub this mixture into the stain with your hand (wear gloves, the water is hot!). Once the stain has been lifted blot the area with a clean dry towel to rinse the mixture, then dry the exact same way with a second towel.
You can also use a household steam cleaner to clean the upholstery and carpets, removing stubborn stains and the smells they might bring with them. If it works on the carpet and upholstery inside your house it will work on the same materials inside your car.

Once the carpet and upholstery have been cleaned, sprinkling a little carpet freshening agent and vacuuming, or adding a simple vehicle air freshener to the inside of your car will help you restore that new car smell. Taking these steps will at least make your vehicle less odiferous for your passengers!