AA Car Care: Getting rid of interior odours
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
When buying a car, it’s normally a mystery as to how the previous owner treated the interior. It could have been smoked in, eaten in, or used to transport a beloved pet. Often, you may not realise there’s a smell until the nice fragrance from the pre-sale valet disappears.
Opening up a vehicle after it’s been closed for a long period of time, particularly on a hot day, can be like opening the oven door with your burning dinner inside; you get an instant blast of awful-smelling hot air.
Here are five ways to help eliminate those nasty odours that can become ingrained into your vehicle’s interior upholstery.
Remove the obvious causes
Pay particular attention to the centre console and any little cubby holes where dust and dirt can accumulate.
Remove and vacuum the floor mats to get rid of things like food scraps and pet hair. With the door mats out, it’s the ideal time to treat them with some carpet cleaner, or sprinkle on some wash-n-vac powder.
In more extreme cases, the seats may need to be removed to get to those hard-to-reach areas. (It’s usually a good idea to get a professional to do this if your vehicle has airbags or any sensors fitted).
Cleaners/deodorisers should be applied to all seats and trim to help flush out any ingrained smells and neutralise those foul-smelling odours. You may also find a pet odour eliminator or fabric shampoo that will do the job effectively.
Visit an AA Auto Centre to have the vehicle pollen filter (if fitted) checked and replaced, as it could be clogged up with years of atmospheric pollution, leaves and (of course) pollen.
This will help re-introduce fresh air from outside back into the cabin and stop leaves being sucked into the heater fans.
Baking soda is a natural deodoriser that can be sprinkled on and brushed into the seats and carpets; best to let it sit for up to a day, before vacuuming up.
Interior panels and glass can be sprayed with a diluted solution of water mixed with white vinegar at a recommend ratio of one part vinegar to eight parts water. This concoction wipes away stains on glass and other materials, leaving a light fresh scent.
Coffee beans can also be a great natural way to replace unwanted odours: simply pop a handful of beans into a cupcake sized dish and store under the car seats.
Air conditioning odour eliminators
These are available from most automotive supply stores in aerosol form. These are designed to be sprayed into the air vents, deodorising and cleaning them, while also removing bacteria in the form of mould and mildew.
A temporary solution in the meantime would be hiding a run-of-the-mill air freshener in a compartment in order to gently release the perfume in order to not overpower the car, unlike someone going overboard with perfume/cologne on a first date.