Causes can include lighting up but the smells could also come from another source, such as family pets, food and drink spillages, or vomit. While the laws of the land haven’t yet prohibited smoking in a car when accompanied by dogs – nor is it likely to – the need to be able to eliminate pet, smoke and other odours remains important in order to maintain positive passenger experience, optimum resale value and, of course, the freshness of your vehicle.
My sister’s family recently returned from a weekend camping trip in less than clement weather, accompanied by their three year-old Chow Chow, Gizmo (yes, appropriately named after the cutesy star of the 1980s comedy-horror ‘Gremlins’). Due to the weather and Gizmo’s penchant for river bathing in the Shropshire countryside (fortunately he doesn’t boast the reproductive ability of Spielberg’s furry movie star), their brand new Hyundai Tucson bore the unmistakable trademarks of his drenched fur – so much for the pleasant aromas of a brand new, professionally valeted vehicle!
Low-cost ways to beat the dog pong.
According to internet guide wikiHow, bread makes an effective solution to the problem of lingering smells in cars. While baking fresh bread in your home is well-known as an effective way of encouraging viewers to purchase, placing several uncooked slices on a towel on the car seats overnight will help to eliminate the odours that make your journey to work so unpleasant in the morning.
If your day simply can’t begin without a blast of caffeine, coffee granules will also perform the same trick, according to the essential reading of dentist’s waiting rooms across the country, Reader’s Digest. An open container filled with ground coffee beans placed strategically in the car will help to remove lingering smells, including greasy fast food takeaways and Gizmo’s wet fur. Do take care not to leave the container where it can be knocked over, or else the phrase ‘ground coffee beans’ will take on a new meaning after they’ve been accidentally trodden into the carpet of your car, leaving you with a permanent reminder of your nearest Starbucks.
One liquid alternative, suggested by Petswelcome.com, could result in a fresher car interior, but timing is crucial. Diluted vodka with plain water on a 50:50 basis should be poured into a spray bottle so that it can be applied to your vehicle as a kind of homemade air freshener; the science behind the idea being that the alcohol will absorb the lingering odours as it dries, causing them to dissipate. Caution is advised on two fronts. Firstly, it’s worth testing the solution on an area of hidden fabric or leather on your car’s seats first to ensure that no lasting damage occurs to the material. It’s also prudent to leave the windows open and only to carry out the treatment when you can be certain you won’t need to drive immediately after. Winding down the window to greet a traffic officer is likely to raise more questions than you need if he’s hit by a sudden blast of vodka-infused air.
Alternatively, how about the traditional cure handed down through generations of many families: baking soda? A few heaped spoonfuls left on a dish in the car overnight is believed to be an effective remedy as the baking soda absorbs the smells. Repeat nightly as necessary, until the air is clear.
It may be, however, that good old fashioned remedies are equally effective in helping to banish the unwanted smells from your car. Steam cleaning the interior is one option, while a little warm water, a professional fabric shampoo and some proverbial elbow grease may also prove to be a solution.
Whatever smell you’re trying to eliminate from your car, it’s likely that trial and error will be necessary until you find the solution that works most effectively. Keeping Gizmo out of the water could also be a cure – but try telling him that - and whatever you do, don’t feed him after midnight.