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How to Remove Odor from Car?

  • How to Remove Odor from Car?
    January 19, 2012

    Just about anyone with children, pets, or friends who drink alcohol has faced at some point the unpleasant act of attempting to remove the lingering odor of vomit from their car. It is not especially easy removing odor from a car interiors. Тhe porous upholstery and enclosed space create a perfect environment for the development of lingering unpleasant scents.

    However, this is something millions of people deal with every year. Vomit has been getting in cars since the beginning. Because of this, there has been much time throughout human history to perfect the skills in order to remove odor from car upholstery, one step at a time.

    Removing the Offensive Substance

    The very first step in disbursing this noxious odor is to remove the original source. Obviously you want to get rid of any remaining vomit, using a clean rag with cold water and a bucket. Moreover, you want to do this with gloves on. If your stomach is weak, you may want to find someone else to do it for you. Once you have removed all solids and the first layer of the stain, you should attempt to blot as much moisture and oil from the area as possible. After this, you will need to work at removing whatever stain is left behind.

    Cleaning the Stain

    The next thing that you want to do is to work at removing the leftover stain. You probably want to preserve the integrity of the upholstery fabric. Then you do not want to use any heat or harmful cleaning agents when you attempt to remove the first layer of the stain. Though some people swear by using a mix of ammonia and water, vinegar and cold water seems to do just as well and is far less toxic. The typical recipe for vinegar cleansing is one part vinegar per one part water. So for every half-gallon of water, add a half-gallon of vinegar.


    Use a mix of warm water and vinegar to scrub the stain with a soft sponge. You want to make sure that the sponge is as dry as possible. Moreover, make sure you are rinsing it out well before each scrubbing session. If it is extremely wet, you could make the issue worse by causing more odor-causing liquid to trip into the padded interior that lies beneath your car’s upholstery. You may need to rinse and ring out the sponge several times before you make headway in removing the stain. It often takes a great deal of elbow grease to remove stains, especially if it an old one.

    Airing Out

    Once you have thoroughly cleaned the area where the incident took place, you will need to air your car out for some time. Nothing is going to remove odor from car interior better than a good airing, preferably in a warm, natural environment. Of course, if it is the dead of winter and snowing, this may not be an option. If this is the case, leaving a bowl of vinegar and water in the backseat for several hours, will help to remove some of the lingering odor. Another, often less messy option, is leaving a small, slightly-opened container of baking soda somewhere in the vehicle. It will not get rid of the bacteria left behind nor will it likely work to completely destroy the scent. However, you can attempt to mask it with any number of commercial air freshening products.


    If the gentle scrubbing, cleaning, and airing out method does not manage to eradicate the heinous smell left behind, you might need to consider a professionally detailing option.

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