Science / Health

7 Simple Tips to Keep Your Car Smelling Great

If you have a long commute to work, you might spend hours in your car every day – and even if you don’t, you probably at least do a bit of driving on the weekends. We are a civilization that’s always on the move – and when you’re on the move, the last thing that you want to be is uncomfortable. One of the things biggest contributors to your level of comfort in your vehicle is the way the interior smells. Considering the way many of us treat our cars, though, it’s no wonder that many cars don’t exactly smell so great.

You’ll be amazed by how much more you enjoy your daily commute if the air in your car smells clean and fresh, and it might surprise you how easy it is to rid your car of the bothersome musty odors that tend to collect over time. Follow these simple steps to keep your car smelling as fresh as possible.

Don’t Eat in Your Car

Drive-through fast food joints are incredibly convenient when you need food while you’re on the run. The major drawback of fast food, though, is that it creates the strong temptation to eat in your car. While there’s no denying that chomping on a burger while listening to the radio in your air-conditioned car is a great pleasure, there is almost no way to eat in a vehicle without getting crumbs everywhere – and nothing makes a car smell dingy more quickly than a few bits of day-old French fries. When you want to eat, get out of the car. That little change can make a world of difference in the way your car smells.

Don’t Smoke in Your Car

If you eat in your car and happen to drop a couple of fries under the seat, it doesn’t smell good – but at least you can generally get rid of the odor with a good vacuuming. If you smoke in your car, on the other hand, it’s an entirely different story. Smoking is easily the worst thing that you can do if you want your car to smell good. The smell of stale smoke is extremely difficult to remove from a car’s upholstery. It’s so hard to remove, in fact, that smoking in your car will almost certainly end up lowering the car’s value permanently. We’ll discuss some options for removing – or at least minimizing – the smell of smoke in your car. Cleaning your car, however, won’t make a difference over the long term unless you stop smoking in your car.

If you’re a long-term smoker who needs a constant supply of nicotine, trying to stop smoking in your car is obviously something that’s much easier said than done. What you really need is an alternative that’s just as satisfying but doesn’t leave a lingering smell, and the best option for that is a vaping device like the Geek Vape Aegis. Bring it with you when you’re out and about, and you can just vape when you’re driving and are in need of a nicotine fix. Who knows; vaping may actually and up being the thing that makes it possible for you to give up smoking permanently.

Throw Trash Away When Leaving Your Car

Just about everyone is guilty of letting trash collect in their car from time to time. You grab a cup of coffee on the way to work, and you leave the cup in the cup holder until the end of the day. You fill up on gas, and you toss the receipt into the passenger’s seat. You eat a protein bar, and you leave the wrapper in the center console. The problem with leaving trash in your car – especially if that trash includes any organic particles – is that the interior of your car is like a greenhouse. It becomes extremely hot during the day, and that encourages rapid bacterial and fungal growth. Every time you get out of your car, make it a habit to bring your trash with you and throw it away.

Deep Clean the Upholstery with Baking Soda

Once you’ve started making the right decisions to keep unpleasant smells from developing in your car, the next step is to do what you can to remove the smells that are already there. A good way to do that is by giving your car a deep cleaning. Baking soda is extremely effective for absorbing unpleasant smells, so sprinkle it liberally on your car’s upholstery and leave it there overnight. The next day, give your car a thorough vacuuming to remove the baking soda along with any odors that the baking soda has absorbed.

Put Activated Charcoal Under the Seats

After you’ve given your car a deep cleaning, maintenance is the final step to keep it smelling great. The easiest way to do that is by placing bags of activated charcoal under your seats. Activated charcoal is highly absorbent, and it does a great job of absorbing airborne gaseous particles that would otherwise cause musty smells to develop and linger. You can buy bags of activated charcoal from most home improvement stores. Every couple of months, refresh the bags by leaving them in direct sunlight for a few hours. Replace the bags every year for maximum odor protection.

Keep the Sunroof Drains Clear

If your car has a sunroof, cleaning your car requires a bit of extra effort because your car’s roof has drainage channels that allow water to flow out through the bottom of the car. If those channels become blocked with dirt, leaves and other debris, water will pool in the drainage channels and may actually flow into the interior of the car. That can lead to mold growth. Mold doesn’t just smell horrible – it’s also a serious potential health issue, so remember to inspect your sunroof drains at least once a year.

Replace the Cabin Air Filter

The cabin air filter is one of the most commonly neglected aspects of car maintenance. That’s a shame because, in most cars, the cabin air filter is something that you can replace yourself even if you have no mechanical ability whatsoever. It’s usually in a compartment inside the glove box, but you can find directions for your specific vehicle online and in your car’s instruction manual. The cabin air filter captures airborne particles like dust and pollen before they can enter your car’s airconditioning system. Cabin air filters are generally inexpensive, and you’ll want to buy a new one about once a year to keep your car smelling nice and to ensure that your climate control system works efficiently.

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