How to Eliminate Car Odors

How to Eliminate Car Odors

That new car smell doesn’t last forever, but that doesn’t mean your vehicle is doomed to stink once it’s gone. 

Depending on your lifestyle, any number of things can make a car smell bad: food, smoke, outdoor odors, body odor, kids and pets are just a few of the most common ones. These car odors tend to linger because of how much your car is sealed up tight, with the doors and windows closed. 

Fortunately, there are several ways to keep your car smelling good despite how much time you spend in your car. 

Tips to Mask & Prevent Car Odors

The carpets, floor mats, and seats are where odors linger most. Cleaning these two surfaces regularly will contribute greatly to a better-smelling car. The methods below will freshen the air in your car, too. (And don’t forget to clean the interior glass, where a surprising amount of residue resides.)


Vinegar is known for its strong smell, but what you might not realize is that the acid that gives vinegar its undeniable smell is the same quality that makes vinegar a naturally deodorizing household item. 

To freshen your car with vinegar, leave a small container open in your car overnight. You can also wipe down surfaces with a vinegar-water mixture or spritz vinegar-water lightly on your carpet and upholstery and allow it to dry with the doors or windows open. 

However, over time, the vinegar odor will go away, and whatever odors were plaguing your vehicle are likely to return. 


Charcoal has many wonderful uses, from toothpastes to boosting carbon in your compost pile. It also has amazing detoxification properties. Charcoal can filter out bad smells with no effort on your part. 

Just leave an open container with some charcoal briquettes in your car overnight, and you’ll be able to tell a difference right away. Like the vinegar method above, the odor from the charcoal is temporary but its a good reprieve from the car odors. 

This is the perfect use for a little bit of leftover charcoal from grilling! 

Baking Soda 

You’ve probably used baking soda to absorb odors from your fridge before. It can be used for the same purpose in your car. But, since you probably don’t want to ride around with an open container of baking soda in your car, there are more effective ways to use it. 

You can sprinkle it in powder form into the carpet then vacuum it up later or mix it with water and vinegar and use as a spray. Sodium carbonate can also be used to help remove tough stains on your seats and carpets (in case the odors are a direct result of the stains).

Car Odor Eliminator Products

If you can’t seem to get rid of a stubborn car odor, you may have to resort to a commercial product like BioBombs, specially designed for tough odors in small spaces. Bio-Bombs offers a full line of deodorizing products. In fact, our signature vehicle deodorization kit is specifically designed for restoring that new car smell to any vehicle. 

Bio-Bombs odor removal products rely on ClO2 to break up odor-causing molecules, without scrubbing or spraying. Most of these deodorizers are formulated to work with nothing more than water. You can set them to work overnight or while you’re at work. 

Air Fresheners

Once you’ve cleaned your vehicle thoroughly, you can choose from an endless array of air fresheners, many types and scents, to keep your car smelling good. 

In the next section, we’ll explain why air fresheners are not recommended for eliminating car odors, but they can still make your car smell nice. 

Open Your Windows

Airing out your vehicle by lowering your windows can help clear out stagnant odors and funky smells. After a long winter, on a hot day, or after a rain storm you should put your windows down to allow moisture and odors to exit the vehicle. An hour or so of fresh air can make a huge difference in the smell of the vehicle's interior. It is also a great way to dry your interior faster after you have given it a good scrubbing.

Remove and Replace the Cabin Filter

The cabin filter in your vehicle does a great job at catching dust, hair, and other particulates that can start to smell over time. No matter how well you clean and deodorize a vehicle if you don't replace the cabin filter regularly you will still have foul odors to contend with. Every 6 months it is a good idea to check your cabin filter and replace it if it is gross. You do not need to pay for a shop to replace it as it is usually a quick piece of maintenance and even something you can charge your clients if you a professional detailer.

Total Car Odor Elimination

If you think an air freshener is all it will take to fix your issue, we caution you that air fresheners are not a permanent solution for car odors. Unless they have odor-eliminating properties, they will only mask an odor. When the air freshener runs out, the odors will resurface. 

Air fresheners don’t target the cause of the odors, no matter how good they smell. And while we see nothing wrong with having them in your car for your enjoyment, just be sure you’re not simply masking an odor that really needs to be addressed.   

Instead, you need an odor-eliminating product like Bio-Bombs to remove the odorous particles. Odor-eliminating substances are superior to products that use scents to cover odors. 

The science behind Bio-Bombs and their odor eliminator products (aka: why they’re so effective) has to do with the ClO2 molecules (chlorine dioxide), which have the ability to break up larger, smellier molecules. When ClO2 busts up these odor-causing molecules, they lose their effectiveness and stop causing your car to stink. 

Using Bio-Bombs couldn’t be easier. Just add water, and with one treatment (2-4 hours of being closed up without interruption), your car’s interior will be restored to its original new car smell. The ease of use and the results have made Bio-Bombs a must-have odor removal solution for professional auto detailing services across the USA. In fact, we offer a full line of auto detailing products and a discount on bulk orders.

Bio-Bombs are effective protection against VOCs, bacteria, fungi and viruses as well, so they can actually help you and your passengers stay healthier. Shop here.