How to Keep New Car Smell: 5 Ways to Get Bad Smell Out of Car

When you first bought your car, you’ll be pleased by that fragrant smell it has. Forget about even buying a car, simply stepping into a brand new car gives off that pleasant aroma that makes you want to stay longer. We’ve all ridden a fresh-smelling car. We could have experienced this either through our friend’s car or even with a taxi.


But here’s a cool trivia, a car doesn’t have to be brand new to smell fresh and clean. That distinctive car smell is not complicated at all. You can achieve this smell even if your vehicle has been through a lot of miles or if it’s not in its best shape.​

With that said, today I will give you the tips on how to keep new car smell. This will give you the additional knowledge that will help you impress your passengers and even yourself.​

Why Does That Brand New Smell Fade Away?

Although the common notion here is that all things lose its charm as it grows old, there are other reasons why the good smell fades. Many people think that it’s inevitable that your car will lose this smell as it packs the miles. However, try not to think similarly. This is because there are easy ways that let you retain this pleasant smell.


For starters, cars lose this good smell because it gets overtaken by bad ones. It’s not a matter of the car just aging, but it’s on how you maintain the vehicle. An example would be bringing smelly foods in your car. If you just did a take-out from a fast food chain with lots of salsas, sauces, and garlic-based marinades, then it’s likely the car will smell.


Another common reason is your smoking habit. Do you often smoke in your car? Then, stop it now! The smell leaving on your car furniture will annoy other non-smoking people when they get into your car. Besides, I bet you can not stand the bad scent created by smoke and foods.​

Not bringing your car regularly for a wash is also one of the main reasons why your car will smell. The upholstery of a car is very delicate, and it can smell easily. It’s not only susceptible to food smells, but it can also absorb body odor. Your friend who reeks from the afterparty is all that it takes to say goodbye to your new car smell.​

With all of that said, be sure to keep in mind that prevention is always better than cure. I will elaborate more in the next section on how to maintain your car’s smell through simple steps that you can follow.​

Things You Need

  • Car air freshener. A staple in cars that’s mainly in-charge of keeping that good smell in your vehicle.
  • Unscented candle. A clever item that you can place in your car to improve its smell.
  • Vacuum. You’ll need to vacuum your car before washing it to avoid dirt getting stuck inside.
  • Cleaning agent or car shampoos. Used for cleaning your car before adding anything else.
  • Household aerosols. Acts as a good neutralizer and remover of bad odors that might’ve stayed in your car’s upholstery.
  • Personal perfume or cologne. This is an unconventional item that you can use to enhance your car’s smell.

Steps to Keep New Car Smell

1. Fight Off the Bad Smells​


First, let’s make this clear. Bad odors are fundamentally stronger than good ones. It doesn’t take a genius to know this. If you have experienced your car smelling bad from fishy products, bad body odor, or oily foods, then you’ll know that any fragrance can be overpowered easily.

Although it’s unavoidable at times, try your best to keep these odors away from your car. It'd make a big difference if you ate that burrito at home instead of gobbling it up inside your car. Try to eat neutral-smelling foods instead. If you’re out shopping for groceries, make sure to bring a cooler. Putting fresh meat or seafood in your trunk or backseat is one of the worst smells that can stick to your car’s upholstery.

​2. Wash Your Car


When we talk about washing your car, it’s not just simply wiping the seats. It means that you should give it a good clean from top to bottom. By doing this step before the next steps, you’ll remove any smell that your car could have had before.

It might seem irrelevant especially if your car doesn’t exactly smell bad. However, take note that your car will have smells in it even though it’s subtle. If you proceed without doing these steps, then it’s likely the good smell of your car won’t last long.

You can clean your car by bringing it to the professionals or by doing it yourself. If you’re doing it yourself, keep in mind that you should target the upholsteries and the flooring. Use a vacuum before washing the interior of the car. This is because any dirt might stick if you wash it immediately. Also, don’t drench your interior. Keep it moist but don’t overflow it with water.​

3. Use a Good Air Freshener​


Here’s a good item that’s commonly used in many cars. Having an air freshener is essential in maintaining that good aroma for your car. If you’re wondering, this little product is one of the main reasons why cars have long-lasting fragrance.​

There are different types of air fresheners out there. However, there are two main ones that you should take note of. The first is a tree-type air freshener which you commonly see hanging from the rear-view mirror. This is a kind of freshener that you position in an area that has a lot of air circulation.​

The second type would be a vent/dashboard air freshener. Personally, I think these air fresheners are more effective. This is because it directly makes contact with the air conditioner of your car. This allows it to generate more aroma.​

4. Use Some Sprays​


This step is one of the more unconventional ways to improve the odor of your car, but it works. When we talk about sprays, it’s more of using a good-smelling aerosol freshener. Of course, don’t do this if you’re allergic to these chemicals or if you’re not into the smell of the freshener.

Keep in mind that these aerosols aren’t meant to add fragrance. Rather, it tries to eliminate bad odors that could’ve stayed in your car even after a good wash.

Another chemical that you might not have thought about is your perfume. That’s right, as weird as it sounds, perfume and colognes work. If your friends or your lover commends the perfume you use, then why not apply it. A quick spray every day towards the air conditioner is enough to help the air freshener improve your car’s smell.

5. Place Scented Items in Your Car​


Finally, adding a few hidden treasures in your car’s under the seat or on its flooring can be a difference maker.

Scented items can be anything under the sun that you deem as fragrant. It can be a scented candle, which works brilliantly if you place one under the seats. Scented candles are great products that deliver a good smell that sticks for a long time. Of course, never light the candle. The odor of its wax is enough to help your car smell good.

Other items like coffee beans and solid fresheners also help do the trick. Scourge your local grocery store for a solid yet small item that you can cleverly insert under your car.


When maintaining that brand new smell, always remember that you don’t need to search far for items that can help you. Sometimes, perfume or a candle at home is all it takes to give your old car a fresher scent.

With that said, always remember that the first step is the most important. No matter how many good-scenting items you spray or place in your car, bad odors are stronger. So with that, discipline is key!

How did you find this article? Is it helpful and informative? If you enjoyed reading our tutorial, please share it with your friends. Drop us a comment or a message and we’d love to hear from you.​

Anthony Ebden

He's an auto blogger. He worked as an auto mechanic for more than 5 years and his mission is to provide our readers with the best car maintenance tips, DIY guides and the most updated trends in the automotive industry.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 8 comments
Scroll Up