Car Wash & Auto Detailing

10 Tips to remove car smells during a detailing

I know what you are thinking. You are surprised that the question “How to remove the bad odors of my car?” is a common one. Don’t worry, you are not the only one that typed this on Google. Let us tell you more on a few tricks you can use to solve that problem without having to book a mobile car detailing or to go to the corner car wash!

Whether it is because you spilled coffee, eat McDonald, have dirty shoes or because the wet fabric of your car after a heavy rains smells, car odors are really uncomfortable. However, you tend not to care about it until your beloved one, your friends, or worst, your boss that tags along for an important meeting notices it. Here are 10 tips you can use to remove those odors.

1. Regularly wipe down your car’s surfaces

Even if it is not that obvious, the most common source of car smells is the dust embedded in your car, especially if you have fabric seats. Wood, plastic, and metallic surfaces need to be cleaned with detergent once in a while in order not to stack bad odors. People usually don’t have their interior cleaned or detailed when having a car wash. You may want to think about it twice the next time! The dust will infect the material of your interior and deteriorate it. Leather car seats are also very fragile and need to be maintained regularly.

2. Thoroughly clean your car

We tend to leave small trash on the carpet of our car. Plastic bags, empty cans, used papers or worse, food garbages like small pizza boxes (we all had one on the back seats at some point!). Those objects, when left abandoned too long under your leather car seats tend to leave a bad smell, dirty your fabric and bring more bacterias. You do not need a car detailing to remove those. Just do it at the end of each day or when going to the car wash or gas station.

3. Brush and Vacuum the carpets

Even invisible dirt can leave a smell especially when they attack the differents fabrics of your vehicle. You want to avoid rot as much as possible, notably on leather car seats. At some point, you might have to change completely the carpet or to recondition your leather completely if it becomes too embedded. Any good car wash or mobile detailer will start detailing your car by removing the superficial dirt. Interior vacuum and wipe-down are the first things you want to do when detailing your car.

4. Use steam or waterless products to wash your interior

Steam wash is very efficient against bad car smells. The heat will instantly kill all the bacterias and prevent your interior from rotting. I advise you to do so in case you have food or liquid spills deteriorating your interior.
You can also have recourse to a waterless car wash or waterless detailing. Indeed, waterless products are highly concentrated and leave a nice smell in the car. Few detailers provide carwash with steam. However, a lot of them do waterless carwash and interior detailing.

5. Don’t use too much water when cleaning your interior!

Some people often drown their interior in water that is a very bad idea! Too much water on your fabric will take days to dry especially if you leave in a cold area. This will grow a musty smell in the car. When you spill water on your seats, and the water remains clear, it means that there is no dirt left on your seats.

6. Remove cigarette odors

This one if for smoking people! A good tip to completely remove smoke odors is to place a bowl of vinegar on your front and back seats. Put two towels in those bowls. The towels will release a strong perfume that will snuff out the cigarette smell. However, the smell of vinegar is not what you should aim for. However, this one vanishes with time whereas cigarette odor can really embed in your car for long.

7. Use deodorizer in a smart way

Don’t just spray deodorizer all over your interior. Start your engine put the fan on full power and turn on the AC. Set up the fresh air setting of the car so that the air comes from the outside. Then, spray the deodorizer in the intakes of the car.

That way, the deodorizer will be mixed up with fresh air and spread all over your interior. This method will also clean the air circuit of the car that could have been affected by bad odors. Turn on the heat of your car and redo the operation.

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8. Clean/change the air filter

If bacterias or rot have been growing on your air filters, bad odors are automatically spread in your interior each time you turn your fan/AC on. If you leave your air filter dirty, the seven previous tips will become useless! Ask your detailer or car service provider if you do not know how to do so. Brand new air filters cost approximately $50 and bring a comfort you will not regret if you use your AC a lot!

9. Condition your leather and shampoo the fabrics

If you absolutely want to remove all odors of the car, having your interior fully detailed is an excellent way to start. Shampooing the carpet will release a clean smell in your car. Reconditioning your leather will protect your seats from being affected by future dirt or bacterias and reinvigorate the leather. And of course, the natural smell of leather is certainly what you want for your car!
However, this part requires some skills. Before doing it yourself, have a professional detailer show you how they do. If you do not want to waste time finding a detailer on your own, Washos can definitely help you.

10. Clean the spills in your car as soon as possible

A common mistake people make is to wait until their car is really dirty to clean everything at once. There is no better way to deteriorate your car and have lingering odors grow in your interior. Rot is the worst source of odors for your vehicle, and it comes from lasting stains or spills. If you have pets, do never wait more than a day if they urinate or vomit in your car or you might embed the odor for good.

3 myths about odors removal

1. Using an air-freshener is enough

Absolutely not! The air-freshener will make you feel that the car smells good, but bad odors will still keep on growing in your interior. As soon as you don’t use those products anymore, the smells of your car will re-appear. By that time, of course, those odors would have embedded in your fabric and leather and will be way harder to remove.

2. Driving with the window open

Isn’t that obvious that this method does not remove bad odors? Doing so will simply have you used to the odor of the car while you’re driving. Close all the windows, step out of the car for 10 minutes and go back in. You’ll have the demonstration that this method is nothing but a myth.

3. You need very good supplies to remove bad car odors

You don’t! Just follow our guide and you’ll see the result. The most important is to clean and vacuum the car. Then wipe-down all the surfaces to remove the dirt. As for shampooing the carpet or cleaning the seats, you can even use a good brush with baking soda and then wipe-down all the surfaces with a clean towel.
And if you feel like having a professional detailer pave the way to odor removal for you. Simply book a Washos car wash and our detailer will be more than happy to guide you through all those steps.
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