Just bought that used car that belonged to a smoker? Kids spilled something in the back seat that you didn't notice till it starts to stink? Bad odors really seem to be noticeable in vehicles because of the enclosed space. This article explains how to deal with them.
There are many effective methods on the market to remove odors but no matter what solution you choose the results will not be as good unless you properly clean the effected area(s) first. If you need to remove an odor from a specific spill on your carpet or upholstery simply clean that area with a good cleaner. Removing smoke odors will require a bit more time. You should first clean all your carpets and upholstery before using an odor removing product. A critical area to clean for smoke smell removal is the headliner ("roof"). Smoke travels up and the odor becomes imbedded in the upholstered headliner. Most headliners are glued on so when cleaning this area be careful not to get it too wet. An easy way is to spray an upholstery or all-purpose cleaner onto a cloth and wipe the headliner.
Replace your Cabin air Filter
You may not even know it but many newer model vehicles have an air filter for the interior of of the vehicle. Usually it is located under or behind the glove box. Depending on your vehicle many are very easy to replace on your own. The replacement filter can be found at auto parts stores such as Canadian Tire & Napa etc. If not replaced regularly (approx. every 20,000 kms), the cabin filter can collect debris which can hold unpleasant odors.
Now that your vehicle is clean you need to decide what method you will use to remove the odor...
Air fresheners are not the solution if you are trying to permanently remove an odor. Air fresheners smell great but they simply mask the odor, they do not kill it.
Ozone generators do exactly what the name says – generate ozone. The ozone produced by these machines will destroy all of the odor-causing bacteria that is floating in your environment, including smoke and mold.
Unless you happen to own an ozone generator if this is your preferred method of killing the odor you will need to take your vehicle to a detail shop to have them perform the service. Costs will run from $50.00 min and up. Also keep in mind that to kill strong odors the unit may need to run in your vehicle for at least 2 hours (often longer), so you may need to leave your vehicle for the day.
Air Sanitizer Spray
Air sanitizers such as Ozium combat airborne contaminants and eliminates odors with glycol-ized action dispensing micron sized particles that linger in the air, attach to airborne bacteria and malodors to purify and sanitize the air. These sprays are designed to permanently kill odors. This is an expensive solution costing as little as $5.99
Car foggers work in a similar fashion to sanitation sprays in that they attack and kill odors at the molecular level. One of the main benefits to these products is that are designed to be used while your car is running with the fan on so that the chemical is pulled right through the entire ventilation system. You simply depress the trigger on the fogger and leave the unit in the running vehicle. This is another very inexpensive solution costing as little as $10.00.