Areas To Clean Before Using An Air Freshener


In this article you will learn:

  • What causes persistent odors inside your car

  • Why you should clean before you deodorize

  • The best products to use for a fresh smelling car

When bad odors start to linger inside your car, it can be easy to reach for your favorite air freshener, spray a few mists and forget about the smell—until it crops up again in a couple of days.

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your car interior, masking unpleasant odors with air freshener spray won’t be enough to make your car smell good again. Instead, it’s important to take the time to remove the source of the odor, whether it’s crumbs and grease stains from a fast-food run or a pet accident that soaked into your floor mats and carpet.

But how do you know which areas of your car to clean to get rid of those lingering odors for good? We took it up with the experts at Turtle Wax R&D Labs and discovered that there are 3 surfaces inside your car that you should always clean before using an air freshener to keep your car smelling good and fresh!

1. Areas with a lot of foot traffic

One of the biggest sources of odors inside your car are the dirt and soils you and your pets track onto your floor mats, carpets and other surfaces with lots of foot traffic. These contaminants embed themselves into the rubber or synthetic fibers of your flooring and emit tough odors that are difficult to remove.

To clean these areas of your car, you’ll need a portable vacuum to suck up loose dirt and soils on and underneath your floor mats. Once you’ve vacuumed your interior, use a heavy-duty carpet shampoo to lift tough stains and road grime. We recommend POWER OUT! Carpet & Mats, which contains unique, Odor-X chemistry to seek and destroy odor molecules as you clean and prevent new odors from forming inside your car for the next 30 days!

areas with a lot of foot traffic

2. High-touch points and contact surfaces

Any areas your hands or arms touch inside your car are prone to nasty odors from food, coffee, cigarette smoke and even your sweat. And, if you have any excitable pets in the passenger seat, these contact surfaces are at the perfect height to smell and lick, leaving behind the smell of their breath and saliva.

You should wipe down these high-touch points, including your windows, cupholders, armrests and steering wheel, with a multipurpose cleaner or interior detailing spray to prevent these pesky smells from becoming a nuisance. We recommend Oxy Interior 1 or the new Multipurpose Cleaner & Disinfectant to remove dirt, stains and odors.

high-touch points and contact surfaces

3. Cloth-covered cushions and upholstery

Your cloth-covered upholstery, and the foam cushioning underneath, are highly absorbent. These materials soak up stains and odors from coffee spills, vomit and pet accidents quickly, making these surfaces of your car especially difficult to clean and deodorize. Odors can become so deeply embedded in your car seats that they’re almost impossible to remove.

It’s important to remove stains and spills from your cloth-covered cushions and upholstery as soon as you can with a heavy-duty stain remover or upholstery shampoo to prevent these odors from taking hold inside your car. We recommend our POWER OUT! Upholstery Cleaner, equipped with the same Odor-X technology as our carpet and mat cleaner to lift stains and neutralize odors all in one step!

cloth-covered cushions and upholstery

Eliminate lingering odors after you clean

Once you’ve removed the source of the smell inside your car, you can easily eliminate any remaining odors using any odor elimination spray or diffuser.

For strong, musty odors, you’ll need a more powerful solution like Odor-X Whole Car Blast to get your car smelling fresh and clean again. This powerful fogger disperses throughout your interior using your car’s air conditioning system and passing through the cabin air filter to eliminate any lingering odor molecules. For quick touch-ups and general maintenance, give your car a few mists of Odor-X Spray in Fresh Car Scent or Caribbean Crush to keep your car smelling just as good as it looks!

eliminate lingering odors after you clean


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