6 Chemical-Free Ways to Remove Offensive Car Odors

Almost anything you bring into your car can leave a lingering smell. While this is sometimes good, what you occasionally get is the lingering scent of a gym bag, french fries, and soccer or football cleats. The good news is you don’t have to live with these smells. Here are some chemical-free ways to remove offensive car odors and get your vehicle back to smelling almost like new.

Start by Cleaning

It might take a combination of things to get the smells out of your car, but the best place to start is by cleaning it out. Look in all the storage areas for remains of food that might still smell, and check under the seats for items that passengers might have left behind. Once you have removed anything that might cause a smell, vacuum the floors and the seats to pick up loose dirt and grime.

Ground Coffee

Whether you are a fan of coffee or not, this trick works. All you need to do is leave some fresh coffee grounds in your car overnight, and they will absorb the odors. Use a can of coffee grounds with the lid open, or put some in a paper bag. Close up your car overnight or for 24 hours if you can, and the odors will disappear without leaving the scent of coffee behind.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the more common household items used for odor removal. It is important that you use it correctly though, or it won’t work. It is only effective on dry surfaces, so before you open up the box, prep your car. Start by removing the mats and vacuuming up the floors and the seats to remove all the dirt, then check all the floors and seat covers for dampness. Once everything is completely dry, sprinkle the baking soda all around the inside of the car, and leave it overnight. Vacuum it up the next day, and the vehicle should smell fresh.

Essential Oils

Combine a few drops of your favorite essential oil with some water in a squirt bottle to clean the windows. This solution will clean the windows without leaving streaks and leave a pleasant smell behind. You can also use this to wipe down other surfaces in the vehicle as well.


Leave two bowls of white vinegar in the car overnight. Put one in the front and another in the back. The vinegar should work to absorb the odors. Once you remove the bowls, leave the windows open until the smell of vinegar dissipates so that you can check to see if the offensive odors are gone.

Orange Peels

Orange peels contain natural oils that can cover up many smells. If you have thoroughly cleaned the car and removed anything that might be causing a smell, and an odor still remains, try putting some orange peels in the car. It will help cover up offensive odors and leave a more pleasant aroma instead.

If your car smells like a combination of a fast food restaurant and locker room, try these natural remedies to remove the odors.


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