Best way to freshen up the interior smell of an older car?

Other than Febreeze … what do you use? do? Thanks

It depends on the nature of the odor. The first order of business is a thorough vacuuming. I have even removed the front seats to do this, if the car was really messy. Pull out the back seat too. You never know what kind of detritus you might find, not to mention loose change! While things are apart, use a carpet cleaner on all fabric surfaces. This can be an aerosol spray or a miniature version of a steam cleaner. Also clean all the hard surfaces (windows, dash, hard plastic trim, etc.).

If that isn’t enough, throw in an air freshener. I usually use a “new car scent” pine tree thingie under the front seat.

My wife’s car is normally clean but during wet weather it smells somewhat stuffy. She throws acouple of Bounce towels (used in clothes dryers) under the front seats, and is happy.

For the A/C and heater ducts there are professional fungicide/deodorizer sprays you spray in the air intake with the heater or A/C running. About $12 for a Wynn’s product at any auto supply store.

Clean the interior thoroughly. Vacuum real well…Also get some carpet cleaner. This usually works real well. As NYBO said…remove the front seats and thoroughly clean under them (again with carpet cleaner).

If cloth seats use the carpet cleaner on them too.

After the carpet and seats are clean…clean all the surfaces…(dash, doors, windows, console…etc). If you can remove the covers for the heat/ac ducts…do so and clean inside the ducts.

And don’t forget the ashtray. In fact remove it and clean behind it. If it was used…I guarantee you ashes got behind it.

Fabric softener sheets are not appropriate for anyone with asthma and, in many cases, allegies. As soon as I get a whiff of one of those things, I am gasping for air. Even if you or your family members don’t suffer from this type of problem, some of your passengers could wind up in repiratory distress from exposure to fabric softener sheets in an enclosed space.

Thanks VDdriver; I believe we had this dialogue before. My wife has no allergies, and likes to drive with the windows open whenever she can. In my car, I use a special feshener spray made for cars, as well as fumigating the air ducts once a year.

Good comment re: allergies and Bounce…I have a plethera of chemical allergies: “Fresheners” such as Renuzit or products like Bounce contain nerve deadeners which will trigger a potent allergy response in sensitive people. (Had an asthma attack riding in a Greyhound Bus due to the chemical deoderizer used in the toilet). Essential oils, such as Tea Tree (good for getting rid of mold) or Lemon, Lavender, even Peppermint can do an amazing job of getting rid of the odor source. Get a spray bottle and fill it with about 4 ounces of water, and about 40 drops of your chosen oil. Shake well, and often, to disperse the oil in the water. Important: use only real essential oils, not perfume oils. Many grocery stores and almost any health food store will carry essential oils. Go ahead and spray the whole interior, top and bottom…good suggestion about vacuuming behind the ash tray. You don’t have to soak the interior, just get it good and sprayed…leave the doors open to dry, then vacuum away. Occasionally spritz the car whenever you want. Tea Tree, Lavender and Lemon would be a great combo for odor removal and uplifting the spirit. Pure, essential oils do not contain petroleum distillates and won’t cause allergies, although rarely, people may be allergie to oils from Compositae plants, such as Chamomile. However, this is rare, and in fact, essential oils are used to relieve allergies, especially Lavender.