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How to Get that Bad Smells Out of Your Car

The average American spends 46 minutes in their car every day. Considering most Americans will be on the road driving between the ages of 16 and 80, that’s over two years of your life in just the driver’s seat alone! A big part of your (and your passengers) driving experience are the smells in your vehicle. While nothing beats that new car smell, just about everyone can agree that being trapped in a sealed car for any length of time with a bad smell is one of the worst experiences. Keep reading to learn more about how to get rid of bad smells in your car, as well as the car odor elimination service FSCW can provide.

3 Key Steps to Eliminating Vehicle Odor

Step one:

Identify the odor. Sometimes you know EXACTLY where that bad smell is coming from. The spilled milk that seeped into the carpet last week that you didn’t clean up can be pretty obvious. On the other hand, odors may just seem to show up without warning or any clear cause as to what is causing them. The reality behind identifying that foul smell comes down to experience. A trained detailer with a lot of experience can tell the difference between organic smells, chemical smells, and other causes of bad odors. Even if you plan on treating the smell yourself, it’s always recommended that you have a trained professional give you their opinion. Any reputable detail shop will do this free of charge for you.

Step two:

Eliminate the source of the odor. This is the most common sense of the three steps, however, it can take a specific skill set to accomplish. Just like treating an illness with different kinds of medicine, it takes different kinds of cleaning to eliminate the source of a bad smell. The first step is very straight forward: remove the physical body that is causing the odor. Shampoo and extract carpeting or upholstery in the affected area, and wipe down any hard surfaces that have the odor source. After that comes the time where knowing what caused the odor in the first place is important. Different degreasers, steam extractors, isopropyl alcohols based products, mild mineral spirits, and bio-enzyme cleaners are the next step. It is important to note that as mild as possible cleaners should be used, depending on the source of the odor. One should stay away from harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, acetone, other very high or very low pH, or strong chemicals as they may damage the surface being cleaned.

Step Three:

Use an odor eliminating system. The professional car washing and detailing community uses several different systems as a final step to eliminating bad smells from vehicles. While removing the source of the odor in step two keeps the smell from coming back, there often is still a lingering odor in the car. One method is an ozone deodorizing machine that can be left in the car for several hours or overnight if necessary. This machine produces ozone gas that is comprised of unstable electrical molecules that want to attach to other particles. When the bad smelling particles of the odor become attached to the ozone molecules, the odor is neutralized. The other method is with a chemical device that produces similar results. A chemical system creates a chemical reaction that produces chlorine dioxide gas. Like the ozone system, this gas penetrates plastics, upholstery, and carpeting. The chlorine dioxide gas also has the benefit of disinfecting and sanitizing the entire vehicle (eliminating bad odors) in a shorter amount of time with greater effect. Unlike ozone, however, this system is not scent free and does require the vehicle to be aired out afterward. It is important to note that while most air fresheners will hide or mask a smell, they do not treat the odor source.

Why You Should Use Professional Car Odor Removal Service

While it is possible for someone to accomplish steps one, two, and three on their own, it is much more time efficient and cost effective to have your car professionally detailed or visit a car odor removal service to remove a bad smell. At Full Service Car Wash, our trained detailing staff can properly identify the odor coming from your vehicle, meaning that we know how to treat it. This is just like when your doctor prescribes the right medicine to treat an illness they’ve identified. In the same analogy, Full Service Car Wash has the tools to treat the issue at hand. Just like comparing your doctor’s prescription to an over the counter medication, our professional detailers have access to machines and chemicals that the average public cannot purchase at your local auto parts store. Whenever treating a bad odor, Full Service Car Wash always will use the correct chemical combined with shampoo and wet steam extraction to eliminate the source of the smell. When appropriate, our staff will also recommend a “Wipe Out” odor eliminator system (which uses chlorine dioxide). Many of the products available to the general public are expensive and may not work as well as cleaning products available to a detailing service. Overall, our car odor removal service helps save you time and money. 

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