11 Cheap and Easy Ways To Make Your Car Smell Good

5 min read
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It is never a good feeling when you get into a car only to be disturbed by an unpleasant scent. If you’ve experienced this in an uber or taxi, you probably hated every second of that car ride.

Our sense of smell is more impactful than you think. Certain scents have the power to uplift your mood or make you feel relaxed. But some can make you feel sick or uncomfortable.

Continue reading to learn some cheap and easy ways to have your car smelling fresh and clean.

11. Use Coffee

coffee beans

Did you know that you can use coffee to get rid of all kinds of nasty smells? Yep, it’s true. That’s why the folks at Instructables recommend using coffee beans or ground coffee to keep your car smelling good.

Here’s how: Put some coffee beans or ground coffee in a sock and tie it closed. Next, put the sock under the driver’s seat. Repeat and place the second one under the passenger’s seat.

If you don’t want to use socks, you can always use a paper bag. Either way, your car will be smelling fresh in no time.

10. Use Baking Soda

baking soda

We all know that baking soda works wonders in the refrigerator as well as on our carpets. So, it makes sense that using baking soda in your car will help eliminate odors and keep it smelling fresh.

According to an article published by Money Talks News, Jenni of Sweet Pennies From Heaven recommends sprinkling a bit of baking soda on your car’s seats and carpets, scrubbing it in with a brush and letting it sit overnight. Then, in the morning, vacuum it.

9. Hang “Little Trees” in Your Car

Ros,,ca, ,november,22,,2020:,little,trees,black,ice

Little Trees Air Fresheners are a classic. They work really well to give your car a nice smell, and they don’t cost a fortune either. Plus, the scent lasts a long time.

There are 40 different ones to choose from, including Black Ice, Cinnamon Apple, Leather, Royal Pine and New Car Scent.

ALL TIME TIP: According to CNET, Little Trees Air Fresheners are a great choice for Uber and Lyft drivers who don’t want to spend a lot of money trying to keep their cars smelling fresh.

8. Try Scented Candles

Car Freshener

The Yankee Candle Company makes scented candles you can keep in your car.

According to the company’s website, Yankee Candle’s Car Jar Ultimates give “long-lasting fragrance” and “will keep any space smelling great for up to a month!”

Not only that but, according to an article published by CNET, they do a good job getting rid of cigarette smoke smell, too– if you’re not a very heavy smoker, that is.

ALL TIME TIP: CNET recommends beachy and cotton fragrances for eliminating the smoke smell.

7. Get an Air Vent Clip

car, air freshener, vent

Febreze Car Unstoppable air vent clips are air fresheners that you clip to your car’s vents. The clips have an adjustable dial that lets you determine how much or how little fragrance you want to pump into your car.

They come in two scents — fresh (which has more of a clean fragrance) and shimmer (which has a more perfumy smell) — and last for up to 30 days.

You can find Febreze Car Unstoppable air vent clips just about anywhere — Target, Walmart, CVS, Amazon.com. They have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $4.49.

6. Use Essential Oils

essential oils

Essential oils such as lavender, rosemary, clove, peppermint and eucalyptus are great at combating odors. So, it would make sense to use them inside your car. And, the great part about it is that there are several ways to do it:

  • Place essential oils in a vented jar with baking soda and keep the jar in your car.
  • Place essential oils in a vented jar with rice. Keep the jar in your car, and when you need to freshen things up a bit, shake the jar.
  • Glue a cotton ball to a clothespin and apply several drops of essential oil to the cotton. Next, clip the clothespin onto the vent and turn on the heat or AC, depending on what time of the year it is, to allow the aroma to circulate throughout the car.
  • Mix essential oils, rubbing alcohol and salt (just a pinch) in a spray bottle and apply the mixture where needed.

5. Keep it Clean

clean car, vacuum, wipe

Perhaps the easiest way to keep your car smelling good is to keep it clean. This includes shampooing the seats, washing the floor mats and vacuuming both the seats and floor mats,

It is crucial to get rid of any crumbs, pet hair and dander, dead skin and anything else that might be hiding in the cracks and crevices of your seats and/or under the floor mats.

You’ll also want to empty the ashtray on a regular basis if you or any of your passengers smoke.

4. Open the Windows

window, air, car

The quickest way to get some relief from a stinky car is to crack open a window or two. Just don’t forget to close them or you could have another stinky problem on your hands — mildew.

“Mildew is another source of unwelcome odors. All you need is one rainstorm and an overlooked partially opened window (or even just a small leak with a buildup of condensation), to experience this,” Nationwide wrote on its blog.

Fortunately, getting rid of mildew smells is as easy as using a wet/dry vacuum to remove any water from carpets and upholstery and setting out a jar containing an odor absorber like baking soda or vinegar.

3. Get Rid of Any Mold Growth


There could be mold hiding in your car’s air conditioning system. According to Nationwide, one way to tell is by that mildew smell coming from the AC system.

If this is the case, you will need to open the front cover, remove the filter, and use a nylon scrub pad to remove any mold growth.

After you’ve gotten rid of the mold, use a cotton swab to dry it. Once everything has been put back in place, turn on the heater to finish the drying process. Lastly, apply an anti-mildew solution.

2. Use Vinegar


You may not be fond of the smell of vinegar, but you’re probably even less fond of the smells that are coming from the inside of your car.

That being said, vinegar is not only a powerful cleaning solution, it’s also a powerful odor absorber. Just place a small cup or bowl of it inside your car and leave it there overnight. By the morning, those awful smells will be all gone.

ALL TIME TIP: You can also spray a mixture of vinegar and water onto any areas that smell, making sure to rub the area with a wet cloth. Just make sure you don’t pour vinegar directly onto anything in your car because it can damage carpet and leather.

1. Use Charcoal


Ahh, there’s nothing like the smell of a charcoal grill on a hot summer day. It gets your mouth watering for hamburgers, hot dogs, juicy steaks, and all sorts of barbecue goodies. But, what you probably didn’t know is that charcoal is good for eliminating bad odors as well.

In fact, the folks down at Leith Toyota is a Raleigh, NC, refer to it as “nature’s toxin absorber.” As such, you can use charcoal to get rid of smelly odors in your car. Just open a bag of charcoal briquettes and leave it in your car overnight. The charcoal will absorb any odors inside.