How to Make Your Car Smell Good

Read on for tips on how to keep your car smelling fresh.

Depending on the length of your commute (or your kids’ schedules), you might spend a lot of time in your car. And let’s be honest – that new car smell doesn’t last. It can get a little gross in there, with traffic smells, spills that never got cleaned up, the smell that can linger if you eat in your car … and one of those hanging car fresheners you can buy in a gas station isn’t always going to do the job.

  • The first tip for how to keep your car smelling new is to immediately clean up any spills. Especially if you have young travelers with you, accidents happen. Make sure you clean them up as soon as you can to keep the smell from lingering in your vehicle.
  • Don’t let trash collect in your car. As soon as you reach your destination, make sure you throw away any food wrappers, drink containers, or anything else that might leave a lasting smell in your car.
  • Many of the odors that keep your car from smelling fresh are in your car’s upholstery. Vacuum your car thoroughly and regularly to eliminate anything that might smell bad.
  • Essential oils are a great option to add fragrance to your car. All you need is one of your favorite essential oils, and a cotton ball or pompoms glued to a clothespin. Put a few drops of oil on the cotton ball or pompoms – peppermint is a great option if you or anyone who rides with you is prone to carsickness. Clip the clothespin to your vent, and then when you turn on your air conditioning or your heat, the smell will blow through your car.
  • Another product that can help if you’re wondering how to make your car smell good is waiting for you in the laundry aisle. There are several manufacturers that make “scent beads” that are designed to be added to the wash cycle of your washing machine to add scent to your clothes. You can use these products in your car to add a fresh, clean scent. If you can spare the cup-holder space, use a lidded mason jar half-full of the scented product. Whenever you want to get a quick aroma freshen up, shake up the jar and leave the lid off for a while. If you prefer an out-of-sight option, you can buy some inexpensive sachet or treat bags at a craft store, fill them partway with the scent beads, and tuck them under your car seats.
  • You can also try fabric freshening spray, also found in the laundry aisle, or you can search on the internet for a DIY recipe. Spray the upholstery to leave a pleasant, lingering scent. Of course, like with anything you apply to your vehicle’s upholstery, test in on a small area first to make sure there’s no staining or discoloration.
  • How about trying some scented wax cubes? Put them in a jar with holes in the lid, and as they melt in the sun, they’ll release fragrance into your car. One benefit to this method is that there are so many scents to choose from!
  • If you want to remove odors but don’t want to add a fragrance, baking soda is a great option to absorb unpleasant smells. Just leave an open container in your vehicle, or maybe put some in a pretty mason jar in the cupholder. Be sure to change it out periodically to maximize the odor-reducing properties.

We can’t always limit the time we spend in our cars, so we might as well do everything we can to make that time pleasant! With some regular cleaning and a bit of creativity, you can keep your car smelling even better than new.


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