From time to time we get certain smells in our vehicles that just don’t seem to go away. From cigarette smoke or food (think fish), through to damp, mould, chemicals, child vomit or even pet odours such as cat and dog urine. Some of these can be unbearable and last for such a long time that we don’t even feel like getting behind the wheel anymore, even with all the windows open.
Some people will even go as far as selling their car cheaply just because they feel they have tried everything and just can’t seem to get rid of that awful stink!
Well hold on, before you go rushing down to your local dealer and trading your smelly vehicle in or setting up an advert on Gumtree to sell your stink-mobile, read the information we offer here and hopefully we can help you get your car smelling beautifully again.
The smell of tobacco and old cigarette smoke is probably one of the most stubborn and difficult to get rid of, but certainly not impossible. The smoke seems to get into everything, even the foam in your vehicles seats.
Our advice here is to remove and wash mats, seat covers and anything else that can be taken out of the vehicle then thoroughly shampoo the carpets, upholstery and ceiling liner. After everything has been well cleaned, use a good odour neutralizer to finish things off.
Odour neutralizers are available at most good hardware stores in South Africa.
Air Conditioner Smells
It’s not uncommon for your cars air conditioning (A/C) system to produce a nasty odour. Dust, dirt, pollen and germs can easily get caught on the evaporator coils which may contribute to a nasty smell coming from your A/C system and even cause symptoms such as headaches or nausea.
A lot of the more modern cars do have filter canisters installed to prevent pollution in the air from getting into a vehicle but all too often the smell still gets through and can be quite unbearable. There is a product available at hardware stores and auto spares dealers around SA that can help with this kind of odour.
The product is an “air conditioning and heating system cleaner”. Ask around for it, it’s a product that removes any smell caused by bacteria, mould and stagnant water that you simply spray into the heat and air conditioning vents.
Some Unconventional methods
The following could well help with any kind of odor you may be experiencing in your vehicle…
A bowl of white vinegar – Fill a bowl with white vinegar and leave it over night on one of your car seats. Keep all the windows and doors shut. This works for some odours as the vinegar absorbs the smell. Try not to forget that it’s there the next day and drive off with it still on the seat and don’t use the vinegar on your chips afterwards..! Rather throw it away.
An apple a day could take your smell away – As with the vinegar idea, this one works for some smells too. Cut an apple into slices and leave around the vehicle overnight with doors and windows closed, the apple is supposed to absorb the smell and can take it away forever.
Baking soda – If your smell is absorbed in the cars carpets, this could be your answer. Sprinkle baking soda over the smelly area or all around your vehicles carpets and rub it in. Again, leave car windows and doors closed overnight and the next day vacuum up the baking soda.
Charcoal – This has also worked for neutralizing nasty niffs. Open up a bag of charcoal and place it on some newspaper on your back seat. With windows and doors closed, leave overnight. You should be able to use the charcoal for a braai with your buddies afterwards although we cannot guarantee it will smell pleasant.
Keep your car smelling great
Once you have managed to get rid of your foul odour, a popular way to keep your vehicle smelling nicely all the time is to use the fabric conditioner Sta-Soft. Pop into your local Checkers, Pick and Pay, Spar or wherever and buy one of the Sta-Soft refills that comes in a strong plastic tube.
You can place this out of sight under a back seat or even in the boot of your vehicle to keep the inside odour fresh at all times. The refills come in different fragrances as well so you can choose one that you actually like the smell of.