Removing Car Smells: Spills and Stench

Spill Before and after

Removing Spill-caused Car Odors

In a sense, our cars are an extension of our homes. We eat, drink, play, and occasionally even sleep in our four wheeled friends, but what do you do when your car starts to stink? Offensive odors can occur from just about anything, whether you spilled your lunch, your milk, or your coffee. These odors are generally caused by bacteria growth under carpets or between seats, and often times they’re in a crevice that you didn’t even know existed. The key to properly removing the smell from your car is finding the source, and here’s some simple tips to give you the advantage over any offensive odor…

Because most odor causing spills are liquids (milk, coffee, soda, soup, sauce, etc.), they easily move around while driving. That means when your child dropped her glass of juice, it was then absorbed into the carpet, seeping every-which way as you drove her to soccer practice. This causes the source of the smell to travel until it eventually starts to mold. Below are some areas you should always check when trying to identify where the funk is coming from. Remember, to find the source you’ve got to use your nose!

  • Between the driver/passenger seat and the center console
  • Beneath all seats
  • All corners of passenger/driver footwells
  • Any spot that seems to be depressed into the floor of the car (compartments, storage, etc.)
  • Where the back seats meet the trunk’s floor

Once you’ve identified the culprit’s hideout, it’s time to shampoo. You may have thought you cleaned up the mess to begin with, but once you’ve found the spot you must go back and shampoo the effected carpet region in order to remove bacteria and mold. A car specific carpet cleaner should be designed to foam up when agitated against the fiber surface so that the surfactants and cleaners can penetrate the carpet and fight the odor causing bacteria. Once you’ve scrubbed the surface, be sure to wipe the excess out with a clean towel. The first time you do this you might not get it all, so you may have to keep working it to clean effectively. Vacuum the spot up and allow for ample drying time. Typically, depending on the size of the cleaned area, you’ll only need to leave the windows open for a day or so. If the region is slightly larger and takes up multiple regions of the car (beneath seats, trunk, etc.), you may need to put an interior fan in the car for a few hours to accelerate the drying process.

The last step in making sure your car isn’t going to smell again is a powerful odor eliminator. Most odor eliminators use smells to cover up other odors, so be sure to use a no-scent spray such as Neutra-Scent Odor Eliminator. Neutra-Scent traps odor causing bacteria at the molecular level, eliminating them from existence. A few odorless sprays and your car is fresh as new!

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