How to Get Rid of Car Smells and When to Call It Quits

Man Inside Smelly Car

What in the heck is that smell?!

You can’t help but think it after plopping down into the car’s seat.

You, like many others, spend a good amount of time in their vehicles. The last thing you want is a ride that has you gagging from the stench. How about you learn how to get rid of car smells rather than keeping the windows down all the time?

Our guide is a perfect DIY solution for when a stinky truck or car gets to be a little too much.

How to Get Rid of Car Smells, Stains, and Other Nasty Bits

Smells may originate inside and out of the vehicle. Some smells are easier to handle. Others may need some serious elbow grease for professional help. Here, now, are some of the ways how to get smells out of a car:


Wipe Down Surfaces

Dust and other particles settling on surfaces can leave behind an odor. Likewise, grubby fingers leaving foodstuffs on seats will cause a rotting smell. You know what to do!

Get a pack of wipes and start scrubbing the surfaces. Get between all the crevices, too, and anywhere that has come in contact with people.

Vacuum and Scrub the Carpets

The carpets are the usual culprits with why your car smells. The fibers absorb what comes in contact with it. You’re bound to get stinky carpets if you’re the type to spill a drink or drop fast food.

What’s the best way how to get smells out of carpet? Easy, get down in there with a scrubby and baking soda. You’ll work those smells out with force with a liberal amount of baking soda and arm strength!

Spray Out the Vents

Mold is a common culprit with car odors and tends to originate in musty vents.

Besides cleaning the AC filter, do a light cleaning around the vents with a sponge. Also, try blasting out stuck items with canned air. You could also try a lemon/water solution to kill mold that may have started growing in the vents, too.

Your Options When the Stink Is Too Powerful and Time-Consuming

What happens when the stink is so powerful that you can’t even bring yourself to go for a ride? Well, you’ve got options:

Get It Professionally Detailed

Maybe you can’t get into those hard-to-reach areas. Or, maybe you don’t have the tools to deep clean the vehicle as needed. Professional detailing is magic for making your vehicle fresh again.

For under $100, a detailing team could do a thorough cleaning of the vehicle, inside and out.

Take It to the Mechanic

The odor you’re smelling on the inside may originate from outside. Particularly, your vehicle may have engine problems!

From burnt carpet to the smell of burning oil, odors convey the car’s troubles. See what the mechanic says and get it fixed before that smell turns into a major financial stink. They’ll be the ones to give you a clear answer with questions to “how to get rid of gasoline smell” and other mechanically-caused stinks.

Get a New Car or Start a New Lease

It may sound like a nuclear option but it’s valid! This may be your only option if something truly bad were to happen with the vehicle to cause a stench you can’t get rid of. In this case, you could get an auto loan or use the old vehicle as leverage. Such is the case when shopping title loans Spokane WA options or the equivalent to your area.

Get More Automotive Resources and Guides

A car that’s too stinky to enjoy riding needs to be taken care of fast. Luckily, you now have the know-how having read this guide on how to get rid of car smells. A bit of elbow grease will go a long way in making your ride stench-free and enjoyable again!

What else can you do to make your ride a fun experience? Keep it in top shape and learn to love working on it!

We have a ton of automotive guides on our site to help you master your vehicle. You’ll gain an extra appreciation for your ride, and save a bunch of money in the process! So, check out our automotive resources for everything worth knowing about autos!