By Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

July 13, 2022
How to Keep Your New Car Smell

How to Keep Your New Car Smell

When you buy a new car, you expect it to smell fresh and clean. But after a few months, the smell fades away and you end up with a potentially different odor.

What Is the New Car Smell?

The new car smell is a combination of chemicals released by the vehicle’s interior during its manufacture and subsequent use. Most of the interior of an automobile consists of plastic held together with a number of adhesives and sealers. While some may argue that the smell is actually bad for you because of the off-gassing of the materials, the fresh smell further enhances the experience of a brand new car. 

If you keep your car clean and free of potential sources of odors, you can maintain the smell for months or even years. Yes, my relative keeps their car smelling like new by taking care of their car's interior. However, there are rare instances where the new car smell can cause some issues like headaches, sore throats, nausea, and drowsiness. But that is rare. In those cases, I would leave the windows open to air out the chemical smells. 

How to Keep Your New Car Smell

Keeping that new car smell mainly requires some basic care

In this article, I will teach you how to prevent your car from smelling bad and help you get rid of any lingering odors.

The most important thing you should know about keeping your car clean is that it doesn't require any special skills or tools. Just keep the interior free from dust and dirt, wash the exterior regularly, and wipe down the dashboard once a week.

How to Get That New Car Smell

The process of keeping your car smelling fresh and new involves two steps: cleaning and deodorizing. Cleaning involves wiping down the interior surfaces of your vehicle with a very mild soap and water, then wiping down to dry with a clean cloth. Once this has been done, you should have a fresh interior to sit in.

I would aim to use a matte finish interior cleaner that doesn't leave any shiny layer on the surface. Look for Natural Shine or 303 Protectant.

Don't Leave Bad Smells In Your Car

We all love our cars, but leaving smelly items or food inside of them will quickly overpower your new car smell. This can lead to a variety of problems, including moldy and musty odors in your interior.

To avoid these issues, always remember to clean your car thoroughly after each trip and try to avoid eating in the car. If you do drop food, find the source and be sure to remove it. 

If you have kids, this will be challenge but check the floor mats for spills and residue food that can cause smells to linger. Make sure to wash everything down, from the dashboard to the seats to the floor mats. Don't forget to vacuum under the seats to pick up any other debris.

How to Keep Your New Car Smell

It's also important to remove anything that could potentially attract pests as well.

This includes pet smells. Pet owners should also consider vacuuming up any loose fur or hair that might rub off on seats and rear cargo area. If you pet had any accidents, you can used basking soda to help dry up the area then followup with a vacuum. 

For tougher accidents, you can use an enzyme cleaner made specifically for pet urine. 

Vacuum Regularly

One of the best ways to keep your car smelling fresh is to vacuum regularly. It's important to vacuum the carpeting and under the seats, too. When you vacuum, make sure that you remove all of the dirt and debris from the floorboards and floor mats. You can also sprinkle a little baking soda to help absorb any foul odors and keep your car smelling good

Plus, it keeps the dirt from accumulating, especially for lighter colored interiors.

Wash the Floor Mats

Once you clean the floor boards and remove any garbage or debris. Clean off your floor mats. If you spilled something like coffee with creamer, you will want to clean it up right away.

I had an issue where the dairy of the creamer cause mold to grow on the floor mats. You can brush with dish detergent and hose off. Otherwise, your local car wash can clean your mats for an additional fee.

Luckily, there are a few ways to clean your floor mats without having to spend hours scrubbing them yourself. One option is to buy a carpet cleaner that uses special cleaners to dissolve stains. But a good brush and a wet vac could be a better option. This will help extract any remnants that were embedded in the fibers. 

Another option is to use a vacuum cleaner with a special attachment. Simply attach the attachment to the end of your vacuum cleaner, plug it in, and run it over the floor mat. The suction will pull off any debris stuck to the bottom of the mat, making it easier to clean.

If you use any chemicals or soap just remember to thoroughly rinse them under running water to remove any residue from the cleaning solution. 

Leave the Eating to the Kitchen

I'm always amazed at how many people eat while driving. It seems like everyone has a bag of chips or a candy bar in his lap, and if he doesn't have anything else, he might just reach into the glove compartment.

How to Keep Your New Car Smell

While it's not super dangerous and or illegal to eat while driving, why does everyone practically it? The answer is pretty obvious: convenience. Eating in the car means that you don't have to stop anywhere along the way, and you can still enjoy snacks without having to worry about being late for work or missing an appointment.

However, as mentioned earlier, eating in the car can leave smells and food underneath your car seats. Then it will be a breeding ground for mold and pests infestation. Keep a container or bag in the car to throw any trash and empty it out at least once a week. 

No Smoking in the Car

Smoking in cars is bad for everyone involved. It's especially dangerous for children who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Not only does it pose health risks, but it can also damage your vehicle's interior.

To avoid these problems, make sure that no one smokes in the car. If you're driving, make sure that no passengers light up. And if someone else is smoking, ask them to put out their cigarette or turn off the lighter. Smoke can be difficult to remove but you can check out our blog post about How to Get Rid of Smoke Smell in your car. 

It's also important to clean your car regularly. Make sure that you wipe down the dashboard, steering wheel, windows, seats, and other surfaces to remove dust and dirt. 

Neutralise Odors

The best way to keep your new car smell is to ensure that you neutralize any external odors. We covered food, smoke, drinks and pets. There are a few no fragrance options that I recommend to keep your car smelling odor free. 

  • Charcoal - The first choice is Charcoal Bags. If you're looking for ways to keep your car smelling fresh, consider charcoal bags. These bags absorb odors and prevent them from spreading throughout your car. They're inexpensive and easy to use. Try placing a bag in each compartment of your vehicle. Also, place a bag in your trunk to absorb any lingering smells. The great thing about charcoal is that it doesn't add to any car scent. 
  • Baking Soda - Baking soda is great at absorbing odors. It works well for cleaning car interiors, especially when combined with vinegar.

    To clean a car interior, mix 1/4 cup baking soda with 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the inside surfaces of the vehicle, including seats, steering wheel, dashboard, and floor mats. Let sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum up any residue. Repeat the process until the smell is gone.
  • Zero Odor - Zero Odor spray is a great way to keep your car smelling fresh and clean. It works by absorbing odors and neutralizing them. There is a tracer scent of bleach but it goes away after it evaporates.
How to Keep Your New Car Smell - zero odor

To use this product, simply spray it onto any surface where odors tend to accumulate, such as seats, carpeting, and dashboards.  Once applied, the smell dissipates quickly, leaving no lingering car scent. 

TIP: I have used Zero Spray and have been very happy with the results. There isn't any smell which I enjoy.

In Conclusion... to Wrap Things Up

In conclusion, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your new ride smelling fresh and clean.

First, make sure you wash your car regularly. This includes washing the interior surfaces like the dash, seats and mats, as well as cleaning the windows and mirrors. When you wash your car, use mild soap and water or an all purpose cleaner to remove dirt and grime from the surface of the vehicle.

Finally, make sure you vacuum your car regularly. This helps remove debris from the carpeting, floor mats, and seats. Also, make sure you vacuum under the hood and behind the front wheel wells.

Now that you know how to keep your new car smell fresh longer so you will be able to enjoy the new car experience. When all else fails, you could add an air freshener. 

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Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

About the author

I am a passionate car enthusiast who likes to help people save money and avoid headaches when it comes to cars. I believe that everyone can find the right car at the right price. I share my tips and experience so you can learn quickly and maximize your next SUV, truck or car purchase.

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