February 28, 2018
Particularly after some rain, we often experience a stale, mouldy smell when getting into the car. Nothing is more off-putting, especially when you are about to pick up someone really important. So what springs to mind is ‘How can I keep my car smelling great?’
Smells do come and go, but some get worse over time. Let’s find out how a motorist can take steps to minimise smells inside a car, and maintain a nice scent instead.
Many air fresheners are available for use in cars. Just select the smell you like most. Position the air freshener near an air vent, to ensure that the scent is continuously spread around your car.
To eliminate those ugly odours, use a bottle of liquid air freshener and spray the entire interior. You are not restricted to ones just specifically designed for cars, air fresheners that are made to be used in the home will do. However, with the latter, just make sure these products don’t leave any marks on the upholstery. Avoid spraying directly onto upholstery surfaces. Any depleted air fresheners can be rejuvenated by spraying some perfume onto them.
You aren’t restricted to air fresheners. For instance, you can place a scented, unlit candle or a lovely smelling sachet of fabric softener under the front seat. Just be careful not to let that sachet of fabric softener slide out and sit in the hot sun because that might cause it to burst and leave a mess.
When cleaning under the car’s seats, how often aren’t we shocked to find a smelly old milkshake bottle, or a packet with some old food remains? Your car’s interior can have many air fresheners, but if your car is not cleaned on a regular or even daily basis, the smell of rubbish building up in the car may start overwhelming the air freshener scent after a while. Avoid smoking in the car. An air freshener’s scent will prevail in a car interior that has been cleaned from any other competing sources of bad smells. This implies regular vacuuming of your car. While vacuuming, don’t overlook any cracks in the upholstery and any tight spaces between seats.
As soon as possible after spilling that cup of coffee on a floor mat, wipe it and soak it up. It will be most useful if you keep an old towel or a paper towel roll in the car for such emergencies. Once you are home, use the appropriate cleaning agent to finish off the job.
Never mind maintaining a nice interior scent, but how do you eliminate a nasty smell from your car?
If you wish to eliminate a bad smell immediately, one way is to aerate the car. If the car has been in lots of rain, some water may have gotten into the car, causing a rotting smell. To get rid of that odour, open all the windows while travelling, or leave all the doors of a parked car open for as long as is convenient and of course only where it is safe to do so. You could even place a fan just outside the car, blowing air into the car, thereby forcing some good air circulation.
Baking soda (USA), bicarbonate of soda (South Africa, Australia), or sodium bicarbonate are all the one and same thing, and is well-known for absorbing bad odours. Scatter the white powder lightly all over the interior, and leave for at least 3 – 4 hours. Remember to take out all the floor mats before treating them, and treat the surface beneath the floor mats. Remove by vacuuming.
Make up a solution of 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water and wipe down upholstery and every other surface inside the car. You may have to wait some time for the vinegar smell to disappear, but this treatment can remove the smell of cigarette smoke, as well as many others.
Use a cloth and the correct stain remover to tackle those obstinate stains in your car. There are many different types of stains, each one requiring different cleaning methods. For example, mould can be removed using a disinfectant spray, but use cleaning agents containing bio-enzymes for addressing food stains and e.g. a baby’s vomit. A really bad, potent smell can be eliminated using a oxidising cleaning agent.
Using some soapy water, brush any loose floor mats, followed by thorough rinsing with water. Allow them to dry on a clothes line or an equivalent.
It looks like, from the foregoing, that some ongoing effort on our part is required if we want our cars to smell nice. Don’t you think it is worth it?
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