Best Car Air Fresheners

UPDATED OCTOBER 2018

New air fresheners for your car help you eliminate foul odors and leave behind a nice scent.

BEST CAR AIR
FRESHENER 2018

BOTTOM LINE

Hang this air freshener from your rear view mirror or anywhere else in your car. This kit comes with both an air freshener hang tag made from Amish wood and a bottle of essential oil that you add to that tag.

PROS

The included bottle of essential oil gives you months of fresh air and clean smells. Made from hardwood, the tag itself hangs anywhere in your vehicle.

CONS

You may not like that you need to frequently add more of the oil to the hanger. Some users find that the scent of this air freshener is too masculine too.

BOTTOM LINE

Show off your patriotic side with this pack of six air fresheners that you can use in any type of vehicle. The classic design and low price make this set a popular choice.

PROS

The soft vanilla scent of these air fresheners will cover most common odors. You get six air fresheners that you can use for multiple months to get the clean scent that you want.

CONS

Not everyone likes the look of these air fresheners, which feature a patriotic design. The scent may not last as long as you would like either.

BOTTOM LINE

Febreeze makes it easy to know when to change the air freshener in your car because these vent clips have a liquid material inside that dries out over time. A small button on the side lets you change the intensity of the scent.

PROS

This set comes with four clips that you can easily attach to any vent in your car. Once the material inside dries out, you’ll know that it’s time to pop in a new one.

CONS

The citrus scent of this pack may be a little too intense for your nose. You may find that the clips fall out of your vents too.

BOTTOM LINE

With this set, you can use one or more tins to absorb any odors you notice around your car. The tins both absorb bad odors and release a light fragrance back into the vehicle.

PROS

The small design of each tin that comes in this set will fit anywhere in your car or truck. Inside the tins are organic materials that work together to absorb odors in the vehicle.

CONS

These small tins can slip and slide around your car as you drive. A small number of shoppers also wished that the tins had more odor-fighting power.

BOTTOM LINE

Safe for use on almost any material, this air freshener is one that you can spray on your floorboards and dash and then around your vehicle. You can use just the right amount of spray based on the odors you want to fight.

PROS

Completely eliminate odors in your vehicle and leave behind a clean scent with this product, which you can use anywhere in your car. This air freshener is safe to use on both cloth and leather.

CONS

Some shoppers think that the name of this scent and the packaging are derogatory towards women. You may not like how often you need to spray the product in your car either.

Shopping Guide for the Best Car Air Freshener

When you surround yourself with the same odors and scents every day, you develop a condition called nose blindness. This occurs when you grow accustomed to those scents and no longer notice the odors. Using the best air freshener in your vehicle helps you eliminate the odors you notice and those you can’t smell. The best air freshener 2018 products come in different styles and use different scents that many shoppers like.

You might reach for one of the top air freshener 2018 products after taking your dog for a ride in your car. That pet can leave behind stray hairs in your vehicle and also leave behind a scent that penetrates deep into your seats and floorboards. If you take your dog for a ride after a swim, the odor of wet dog can permeate your vehicle and linger for months or more.

Our list of the top products includes those you can spray into the air whenever you notice a smell and those that you can set up and use for weeks at a time to continually fight back against odors. No matter what smells are in your car, you can use any of the top air fresheners to make that vehicle smell new again.

Shopping Guide for the Best Car Air Freshener

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Selection Criteria​

Finding the best air fresheners for cars today isn’t something that we took on lightly. We know that many people suffer from allergies and medical conditions that make it hard for them to breathe when exposed to certain chemicals. You may even suffer from intense headaches or migraines because of the chemicals around you.

Reading reviews was just one of the ways in which we identified the top products. We first looked at which air fresheners were suitable for use in cars. While you have a number of options for products that you can use around your home, you’ll find fewer products designed for use in vehicles. We then identified the top products according to the average ratings awarded to each one by shoppers today.

Once we had a list of the top products, we checked out the reviews posted to narrow down that list to the best ones. The matrix and chart above show you an image of each one and what we thought were the pros and cons you need to know about based on those reviews. As you work your way through our shopping guide, pay attention to the in-depth reviews we wrote about the top air fresheners.

Selection Criteria

Signs You Need to Replace Your Air Freshener

  • Your nose picks up new odors in your car
  • The material inside the air freshener dries out
  • You stop noticing the scent of the air freshener when you get in your car

Customers gave this car air freshener a large number of positive reviews because of how long it lasts. This kit comes with both a wood hanger that you attach to your rearview mirror and a small bottle with a mixture of essential oils that release the fragrance of those oils into your car. One simple bottle will last up to 60 times as long as a traditional hanger does. You get a bottle of the company’s Cool Breeze scent, which is a slightly masculine scent. Cool Breeze features notes of jasmine, musk, sandalwood, lavender and oakmoss, which work together to create a scent similar to your favorite cologne.

An elastic cord on the hanger expands to fit over your mirror when setting it up in your car. You’ll add a few drops of the oil mixture to the wood. The manufacturer recommends using as much of the oil as you need to eliminate odors in your car. Made in the United States, this product uses real Amish wood from Ohio. The hanger features a mountain image in the center with the company’s name and its logo “Live Life” on the top and bottom.

Arotags makes car air fresheners in different designs, including:

Ovals
Circles
United States outlines

Arotags Cool Breeze Car Air Freshener and Fragrance Oil Difuser

Odors in Your Car

One of the questions you might have is where the odors that you smell in your car come from, especially if you take the time to regularly clean your car. Odors can occur because of the things that you do in your vehicle. Smokers grow so accustomed to the scent of cigarette smoke that they often don’t realize how intense that odor smells to those getting in their cars. Even if you spray the same air freshener that you use in your home in your car, that smell will still stick around.

Odors can also cling to your car because of the food that you buy. Fast food can leave behind an oily scent that makes your car smell dirty. If you leave old fast food bags and wrappers in your vehicle, the smell will only worsen over time. We already talked about how pet odors can build up in your car, but you may not realize that you and your family can cause those smells to build up also. Sweaty gym clothes and the beauty products that your family wears every day can change the way your vehicle smells.=

Odors in Your Car

When most people think of car air fresheners, they think of products like this one from Little Trees. Little Trees actually has a trademark on the tree air fresheners that you see in vehicles today. Though each package only includes one tree, you get a set of six trees in this pack. Each one has a patriotic design that mimics the look of the American flag, complete with red and white stripes on the bottom and a blue background with white stars on the top.

One reason many shoppers like air fresheners of this type is because of how easily they can use one in their own vehicles. You simply remove the tree from the packaging and use the hang tag to hang it from your rearview mirror. This hang tag is actually an elastic band that expands to fit around that mirror. You can also place one in your glove box, under your seat or anywhere else you need. The vanilla scent isn’t too masculine or too feminine and will appeal to most shoppers. If you aren’t a fan of vanilla, you can purchase this air freshener in other scents.

Little Trees Vanilla Pride 6-Pack

Little Trees air fresheners come in traditional and unique scents, including:

Bubble Gum
Bourbon
Coconut
Green Apple
Pure Steel
Watermelon
Wild Cherry
Royal Pine

Types of Car Air Fresheners

Our shopping guide provides you with absolutely everything you need to know about air fresheners for cars and how you can choose the right one for all your vehicles. One of the first things that we want to look at is the type of air fresheners available on the market. You might think of the spray products that you use in your home, but those products are just one of the different types available.

Cans
A popular option for those who want to do less maintenance on their vehicle is a can air freshener. This type of product looks like a small metal can. The top features a lid that pops off to reveal a seal across the product. When you remove this seal, you’ll see either pellets or a gel material inside. You will put the lid on top of the product and press down until it forms a seal. Small holes in the surface of the lid allow the odor of the gel or pellets to come out and spread around your car. Some canned products also work as an odor eliminator and will pull in and absorb odors from your car.

Hanging Air Fresheners
The most common type of air freshener designed for use in vehicles is a hanging one. Though Little Trees is one of the top manufacturers of hanging air fresheners, the company only makes cardboard options. Cardboard hangers are usually more affordable than those made from other materials are. If you want to spend a little more money, you’ll find products that use wood in place of the cardboard. While cardboard hangers come with the scent already applied, wood hangers allow you to apply the scent yourself. You’ll use these hangers with essential oils or oil mixtures made by the manufacturer of the hanger.

Vent Clips
Air freshener vent clips require less maintenance than other products do and can last longer too. Vent clips get their name because of a clip located on the back that lets you clip the product right onto your vent. Febreze makes a number of vent clips in different scents that use a liquid or gel material inside. As the product works, this material will slowly evaporate. Other companies make similar products that come with a small plastic or metal wing on the front. As air moves through your vents, the fan on the front pushes the scent out to help it reach more areas of your vehicle.

Spray Products
The cheapest way you can eliminate odors in your car is with a spray product. Cheaper spray products provide results that last for up to eight hours, but other products will work for 24 hours or more. Some sprays will completely eliminate odors. Febreze sprays use a special design that allows the liquid to wrap around the molecules that create the smells that you notice and those you don’t smell. This keeps you and anyone else in your car from detecting those scents. Spray products are generally safe for use on most materials and won’t damage any of the surfaces of your car, including leather or fabric.

Oil Wicks
A unique product that you can use in your car is something called an oil wick air freshener. These products have a clip on the back for attaching to your vent. A small plastic vial sits on the bottom of the product. This vial has an oil wick inside that touches the bottom and a small amount of scented oil. The wick absorbs the oil and transfers it up and through small slots on the front. A dial on the side allows you to adjust the amount of oil used. This helps you fight back against the more intense and lingering odors in your vehicle.

Types of Car Air Fresheners

The best car air freshener for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning is this set of vent clips from Febreeze. When you remove the clip from the packaging, you’ll notice a small plastic piece on the back. This piece lets you slip the clip right onto your vent without worrying about it falling out. Whether you use the heat or the AC in your car, the air that moves through the vents will also move right through the freshener and release its light scent into your car. As the air moves around your vehicle, it takes that scent with it.

Available in a citrus scent, this Febreeze product works especially well on cigarette odors. If you smoke in your car, you’ll notice dark streaks forming on your windows. Each time that you get in your car, you may notice a musty smoke odor too. Regular use of these clips will eliminate the smoke smell from your car. Even if you keep your windows rolled down, that smoke smell will remain inside. Keeping an eye on the clip lets you keep track of the liquid inside. As soon as that liquid dries out, you can throw it away and pop in a new one.

Febreeze 4-Pack Car Vent Clips

Signs That You Need a Car Air Freshener

  • You suffer from nose blindness that makes you think that your car smells great. To determine if you suffer from nose blindness, take a deep breath after being away from your car for several hours or more. If you detect any strange odors when you open the door, you need an air freshener.
  • You often carry gym clothes in your front or back seat when heading home from the gym. The germs and bacteria that you pick up while working out can cling to your seats and leave behind dank odors.
  • Guests and passengers notice odors when riding with you. If your friends and family are too nice to say anything to you, simply watch their reactions when they first get in the car. Their body language will tell you everything you need to know.
  • You use your car for more than just driving. While you may have no problem grabbing breakfast on your way to work or picking up dinner on your way home, those foods can completely change the way your car smells. Using the right air freshener will eliminate the odors caused by foods you ate in the past and any new foods you buy in the future.

Other Signs Worth Mentioning

  • You take your dog or other animals with you
  • You have small children who frequently spill food and drinks
  • You have babies and change diapers or care for them in your car
Signs That You Need a Car Air Freshener

If you want a product that will eliminate lingering odors and new scents, you might try something like this pack of tins from California Scents. Designed for use anywhere in your vehicle, the tins are small enough that you can tuck one under your seat or place inside your console without the package getting in your way. Each of the four tins in this set uses organic materials that are safe for the environment. Those materials shouldn’t affect your nose either, though you will notice a refreshing scent coming from each one.

When you remove one of the tins from the packaging, you’ll remove the lid and peel off a seal on top. You’ll then put the lid back on top, which creates a seat that keeps the materials inside from spilling out in your car. Small holes in the lid allow the scent from those materials to escape and move around your vehicle. Each one of the tins will last for up to 60 days in your car. You’ll know that you need a new one when the materials inside dry out. Many shoppers like using tins of this type because the tins fit inside their cup holders.

California Scents Laguna Breeze4-Tray Pack

Tips for Using Air Fresheners in Your Car

  • Pay attention to the way you feel when sitting in your car or driving. If you feel nauseous or suffer from headaches, you may have an allergy to the chemicals used in the product or its overall scent.
  • Look for products that use the same scents or scents that complement each other. You can use multiple products from different manufacturers to mask and eliminate any of the odors in your car.
  • Ask for feedback from your friends and anyone else who rides in your vehicle, especially if you choose an air freshener that lets you adjust the strength of the scent produced. You may find that the scent hides odors from your nose but that others can still pick up on traces of those scents.
  • When using a spray product, always test the product on surfaces in your car first. You can apply a small amount to your dashboard or seat to ensure that it won’t damage those materials before spraying it all over your car.
  • Give your car a day or two to air out before switching from one fragrance to another. If you use two different scents one after the other, you risk those scents working against each other.
Tips for Using Air Fresheners in Your Car

Chemical Guys made this spray air freshener for those tired of smelling strange odors around their cars. The bottle contains a full 16-ounces of a liquid that leaves behind a light and fresh scent when sprayed. That scent lingers in the air and attaches to anything that it comes into contact with, which helps you get more per spray. Designed for men, this spray comes in a “Stripper Scent” and features an image of a stripper on a pole on the label, which you may not like. If you can get past that image though, you’ll find a solid product that you can use anywhere in or on your car.

One of the best features of this product is that you can spray it right inside your car. If you notice odors that you can’t reach, you can spray the liquid in and around those areas. Feel free to spray a little liquid on your seats, under your seats, in your trunk and on your dash without damaging any of those surfaces. Chemical Guys designed this as both an odor eliminator and an air freshener. It will neutralize any of the unusual odors hiding around your vehicle.

Pros and Cons of Each Air Freshener Type

Cans

Pros

  • Small and compact enough for use anywhere in your vehicle
  • Available in both gel and pellet versions
  • Can last for a month or longer

Cons

  • Lid can come off and cause the gel or pellets to spill in your car
  • Comes in fewer scents than other products do
  • May not last on all odors

Hanging Air Fresheners

Pros

  • The cheapest type of air freshener available
  • Comes in classic and unique designs
  • Available in multiple scents

Cons

  • Can interfere with your view out the windshield
  • Most scents only last for a few weeks
  • Wood products are more expensive than cardboard products

Vent Clips

Pros

  • Easily clips onto any car vent
  • Works with your vents to spread the scent further around your car
  • Allows you to easily see when you need a new one
  • Scents last for a month or more

Cons

  • Requires constant monitoring
  • May not reach all the way into the back of a larger SUV
  • Comes in fewer options than other air fresheners do

Spray Products

Pros

  • Allows you to spray more product whenever you need it
  • Works on most minor odors
  • Safe for use on most common car surfaces and materials

Cons

  • Some products only last for six to eight hours
  • Will not work on any new odors
  • May require multiple applications to eliminate some odors

Oil Wicks

Pros

  • Works on all types of odors
  • Easy to install and use
  • Comes in dozens of scents
  • Fits inside any vent

Cons

  • One of the more expensive options
  • Requires that you add more oil or invest in separate oil vials
  • May be too powerful for smaller vehicles

Tips for Cleaning Out Your Car

In addition to using any of these products, you can eliminate odors with a thorough cleaning of
your car. You should clean out your car at least once a month. We created some tips that will help
you remove more serious odors before using an air freshener too.

  • Remove everything: Before you clean, remove everything that you can from your car,
    including the mats on your floorboards and any items that you usually carry in the back seat.
    This helps you remove the trash that can make odors worse.
  • Vacuum: Despite what you might think, those crumbs that you see around your car are more
    than just an annoyance. Those crumbs can mold and make your vehicle smell musty. Use a
    shop vac or a hand-held vacuum to remove crumbs and other debris.
  • Spot clean: The stains that you see on the seats and floors can relate to some of the odors
    that you smell. Use a product specifically designed for leather or cloth to remove those stains.
    You may want to steam clean the interior too.
  • Spray: No matter what type of air freshener you use, spray down the interior of your vehicle
    with a spray product first. This will give your car a fresher scent before you use any other
    product.
Tips for Cleaning Out Your Car

Unique Types of Air Fresheners

As you shop for air fresheners that you can use in your vehicle, you may come across some unique options, including:

  • Stick-on air fresheners: Stick-on products come with a paper backing that you peel off to reveal a piece of adhesive on the back. You press this adhesive against your dash or car door to stick the air freshener in place. These products may leave behind some residue though.
  • Plug-in air fresheners: With a plug-in air freshener, you get a product with a scented gel inside. You’ll plug the device into the cigarette lighter or adapter in your vehicle. Some car enthusiasts don’t like that these products take up the adapter that they use for their phone chargers and other devices.
  • Purifying bags: Purifying bags come in plastic packages that you’ll first remove. The bags have a cloth or fabric covering that allows odors in your car to penetrate deep into the bag. Activated charcoal and other ingredients inside will absorb those odors to neutralize the smells in your car.
  • Diffusers: In the same way that you use diffusers in your home, you can also use one in your vehicle. These products feature some type of scented oil inside and wicks that stick out from the top. Those sticks carry the oil up from the base and release it into your car. Some products use a fabric material that releases the odor instead of using sticks.
Unique Types of Air Fresheners

Expert Tip

When using a diffuser, you can gently shake the container in your hand to see if the oil inside is low.

Setting Up an Oil Wick Air Freshener

While many of the top air fresheners for vehicles are easy to use, some require a little more work when setting one up in your car. If you choose an oil wick product, use the following steps.

  • Remove the foil or metal piece that covers the top of the vial.
  • Insert the wick through the top hole in this vial. Apply enough pressure that the end of the wick touches the bottom of the vial.
  • Set the plastic covering on the top of the vial. Depending on the product that you buy, you may need to screw this piece in place or just snap it down into place.
  • Line the clip on the back of the air freshener up with the vent that you want to use. The vent slats should face straight out. If you place the product on angled slats, the oil inside may leak out. Push back on the air freshener until it clips into the vent.
  • Turn the AC or the heat on low in your car to provide the air freshener with the air needed to release the oil. You can adjust the heat or AC to release more or less of the fragrance.
Setting Up an Oil Wick Air Freshener

How to Buy a Car Air Freshener – Things to Consider

Vehicle Size
The size of your vehicle is one of the most important things to consider when choosing an air freshener for your vehicle. SUVs and larger trucks require something with more power like a vent clip or an oil wick product. Depending on the amount of interior space in your vehicle, you may find it helpful to use multiple products. If you use cans, you may want to place one under each seat or in each row of seating. Smaller vehicles benefit from smaller products like sprays that you use inside and cans that you slide under seats. Some products can overwhelm your senses when used in a smaller vehicle.

Scent
The next time that you’re in a friend’s car and pick up on the scent of one of the products that they use, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask what products they use. Different scents appeal to different types of people. Certain scents can also create a specific type of mood or environment in your car. Lavender is more relaxing and can help you calm down after a rough day at work, while citrus is more energizing and can give you more energy when you’re on your way to work. Many companies make unique fragrances that are only available from them too. These scents often mix and match different ingredients.

Scent Strength
As important as the scent is to you, the strength of the scent should also be important. If you just bought a used car from someone who smoked like a chimney, you want a product that is more intense and one that will both hide the smell of those cigarettes and also eliminate the smoky odor. Some people purchase car air fresheners because they just want their vehicles to smell better. Those shoppers might find a cardboard hanging air freshener helpful. You may prefer one that uses gel, an oil or some type of liquid that you clip into your vents too. These air fresheners often have a knob that lets you adjust the amount of fragrance moving through your car.

Lasting Strength
Regardless of how much time you spend in your vehicle, you want to choose a product that will last for a long time. Though cardboard hanging products are quite popular, the scent that those produced may last for as little as two weeks. Some of the more popular products that we found will last for up to a month at a time, and some products can actually last a little longer. If you don’t want to keep replacing an air freshener, consider something like a wood hanger that works with essential oils. You can add a little more oil to the hanger anytime you need more fragrance.

Natural vs. Chemical Products
Anyone who suffers from allergies or has breathing issues should read the list of ingredients carefully when picking a new air freshener. Products that contain chemicals can make breathing conditions worse and cause other symptoms. As you shop for these products, you’ll need to choose between those that use natural or artificial ingredients. Many products that use essential oils use natural ingredients that the manufacturers sourced from American suppliers. These air fresheners are usually much more expensive and can cost twice as much as you want to spend. Artificial ingredients are not harmful to most people and allow you to purchase an air freshener at a lower price.

Air Purifiers
An alternative to traditional air fresheners is something called an air purifier. These products look similar to canned air fresheners but contain activated charcoal inside. Instead of simply covering odors with a new scent, these products actually eliminate the odors in your car and purify the air. Like canned products, you’ll first remove the lid and peel off a seal on the top before putting the lid back on the container. Openings on the lid allow the air in your car to enter the can. The activated charcoal will neutralize any odors in the air and release cleaner and purer air back into your car’s environment. You can use one of these products with a more traditional air freshener.

Reviews
We took the time to read through dozens of reviews on all the top products to find out how customers thought about the air fresheners they bought for their cars. Many of these reviews feature updates from customers that they added after they used those products for a few weeks or more. We highly recommend that you take the time to read some of those reviews for yourself, especially if you decide to look for products other than those that made our list. Make sure that you ignore reviews that list only positive information and general info because these may be fake reviews. Pay special attention to the reviews that come from shoppers who posted reviews of other products online.

Placement
Consider where you will put the air freshener that you buy in your car. Those that hang from your rear view mirror can get in your way, especially if you choose a larger option. One of the funkier air fresheners on the market is one that looks like a Hawaiian lei that features scented beads in between each of the artificial flowers. When you hang one of these from your mirror, you may have a hard time seeing the road ahead of you. If you want a product that will never get in your way, you might go with a spray product or one that clips onto your vent. Even the cans that you put under your seats can slide forward as you drive and prevent you from hitting the gas or brake pedals.

Ease of Use
Another factor you may want to consider is how easily you can use that product. Canned air fresheners are a classic example of a set it and forget it product. Once you set it up in your car, you never need to touch it or do anything else with it. Once the material dries out, you can toss the old can away and put a new one down in its place. Spray products are best for those who want to improve the scent of their vehicles on a daily basis. You can keep a small bottle in your glove box or back seat and spray the scent whenever you want. Vent clips and oil wick products require more maintenance because you’ll need to replace the oil or gel regularly.

Brand
A brand name is only important if you want specific types of products. When you invest in some products from Febreze for example, you can purchase refill kits from automotive shops and big-box stores that contain replacements for the main product. This lets you experiment with different scents and try out various scents in your car. You’ll find good reviews for products from the Ozium company too. Ozium gained a strong reputation for its products, which completely eliminate the scent of marijuana smoke from any area. The company makes both spray and canned air fresheners that work well on all types of smokes and other lingering odors.

Cost
It’s also important that you take a look at the cost of each product. When you scroll down a little further on our page, you’ll find an in-depth section that guides you through the cost of air fresheners for vehicles. You can get any one of these products for $30 or less. Before you look solely at the upfront cost though, consider how long the product lasts and whether you can reuse it. Oil wick and vent clips cost more than sprays and canned products do but will last significantly longer. Products that you can reuse like hanging wood air fresheners may cost more upfront but will last longer.

Expert Tip

Consider changing out the scent that you use each month. This will help with nose blindness and keep you from growing accustomed to any new odors in your vehicle.

How to Buy a Car Air Freshener – Things to Consider

Basics of Air Purifiers for Your Car

We addressed air purifiers in our buying guide and went over how purifiers work and what they do, but you may still need some more information before deciding to use one in lieu of or in combination with an air freshener. In addition to basic models that use activated charcoal, there are other products that will either work with the vent system in your vehicle or plug into the adapter in your console. Air purifiers work on most common odors, but the products also work on other problems, including:

  • Environmental pollutants like smoke and smog
  • Toxins left behind by smokers who used your car
  • Dander that comes off your pets
  • Bacteria and germs that you pick up at work or while outside
  • Mold and mildew

Benefits of Car Air Purifiers
Now is a good time to take a look at some of the benefits of using an air purifier designed for use in a vehicle. Those benefits include:

  • Air purifiers can kill more than 99% of the common germs and bacteria found in most vehicles.
  • Using one regularly will remove any old odors in your car and eliminate newer odors that you pick up on a daily basis.
  • Running one of these devices in your car will kill the mold spores that you would otherwise track into your home.
  • Air purifiers eliminate all the pollutants that you can carry in your car by simply driving with your windows down.
  • You can enjoy a more neutral and natural scent each time that you step inside your car.

Types of Car Air Purifiers

Basics of Air Purifiers for Your Car
Activated Charcoal Filter Purifiers
Basics of Air Purifiers for Your Car
HEPA Filter Purifiers
Basics of Air Purifiers for Your Car
Ozone Generators

DIY Auto Air Fresheners

If you want to clean out your car and make it smell better without spending a lot of money, you can make your own air freshener from ingredients that you buy and some that you already have around your home. You just need water, liquid fabric softener, baking soda and a spray bottle. Make your own spray air freshener with the following steps.

  • Bring one cup of water to a boil in a pot on your stove or in the microwave.
  • Mix the water with 1/4-cup of your favorite liquid fabric softener.
  • Stir in three teaspoons of baking soda.
  • Transfer the fully combined mixture into a spray bottle.

One of the best reasons to use a DIY air freshener is because it gives you complete control over the ingredients that you use. You can add more or less fabric softener and choose any scent that you want. Before using the mixture, make sure that the spray nozzle is closed. Give the bottle a good shake to evenly distribute and mix all the ingredients together. You can then spray the mixture inside your car.

Other DIY Solutions

While many people like using DIY mixtures, not everyone likes the residue that fabric softener can leave behind in their vehicles. An alternative to this solution is plain vodka. You can pour ordinary vodka in a spray bottle and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or oil mixture. If you prefer a cleaner and more natural scent, you can use just plain vodka. Vodka will disinfect your vehicle and kill germs while also eliminating the odors that your nose picks up.

Distilled white vinegar works just as well as vodka does, and you can use apple cider vinegar if that’s all you have. When using vinegar, you should mix it with equal parts cool water or use a solution of two parts water to one part vinegar. Though the vinegar smell is quite strong at first, it will slowly evaporate over time.

Disadvantages to DIY Solutions

Once you look at some of the DIY options, you might wonder why you should bother purchasing a car air freshener. Commercially available products are much stronger than homemade products are. You may find that you can get a commercial product for less than it would cost to make your own product too. Other problems with using DIY products can include:

  • Liquid fabric softener solutions will leave behind a sticky or thick residue on any surface it touches.
  • Solutions that use vodka can smell so overwhelming at first that you hate driving your car.
  • Most DIY products will only eliminate odors without leaving behind any scent that hides future odors.
  • You’ll need to frequently apply more of the DIY solution when you notice odors later.
  • Homemade products are not as effective at battling odors caused by cigarettes or pets as commercial products are.

How to Completely Eliminate Car Odors

Completely eliminating all the odors found in your vehicle is easier than you might think. We broke down the process into several steps that you can do on your next day off from work.

Do Some Thorough Cleaning
We highly recommend that you thoroughly clean your vehicle at least once every few months. Now is the time to remove the ashtrays from your car and any other parts that come out. Wash those parts with soap and water before patting dry or letting air dry. You’ll also want to clean the dashboard and all surfaces inside the car. Leather, plastic, cloth and other materials can absorb odors from a variety of sources. Even if you use an air freshener, those materials can still make your car stink.

Clean Accessories
You should also remove any of the accessories that you use in your car, including the mats that protect your floorboards and the toys that you display in your back window. All those accessories and products can pick up odors from the cigarettes that you smoke or the food that you take home. Even if you use one of the best car air freshener 2018 products, you’ll still detect odors from those accessories.

Use a Combination of Products
The next time that it’s sunny and warm outside, roll down the windows in your car and let the vehicle air out for a few hours. As the wind moves through those windows, the breeze will carry out some of the odors you notice. You can then use a combination of products like a spray that you use underneath your seats and vent clips that you use on the vents in the front and back of your car. Using products that work together and complement each other will make your car smell better than it ever did before.

Average Price for Car Air Fresheners

You can get a good air freshener for your car that eliminates lingering odors and new odors for less money than you expected. Little Trees and similar products made from cardboard retail for less than $5. A few companies make cardboard air fresheners that feature popular cartoon and comic book characters like Batman and Harley Queen. These figures have an elastic band at the top and come with a body that moves separately from the head as you drive. You’ll pay a little more for a licensed character air freshener than you would pay for a basic cardboard model.

Spray products and vent clips retail for less than $10. Vent clips last longer and can eliminate odors and leave behind a nice scent for up to 30 days or more, while spray products usually last for between eight and 24 hours.

The most expensive product we found is the wood hanger that works with essential oils. You’ll pay between $20 and $30 to bring home one of these models, but you’ll get enough oil to use the wood hanger for several months. A new bottle of oil that works with that hanger can cost as little as $5.

Average Price for Car Air Fresheners

Benefits of Using an Air Freshener in Your Car

  • Reduce the overwhelming new car smell found in newer vehicles
  • Eliminate the common odors that change the way you feel about driving your car
  • Make your vehicle smell better to prospective buyers when you decide to sell it
  • Add a touch of fun to your car and show off your sense of humor or personality
  • Reduce the odors caused by the things that you do every day in your car, including smoking or eating while on your way to work

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Air freshener sticks are small sticks that have an oil-based scent applied to the surface. Some of these products feature a hole in the top and an elastic band that let you hang one from your mirror. Other products lack any hanger and are suitable for placing under your seats or in other areas of your vehicle.

A: A limited edition scent is a scent that is only available for a set period of time. You’ll often find these scents popping up around the holidays. Both Glade and Febreeze offer holiday scents for your car that work with the products you use in your home. Limited edition scents might be available for several months or just a few weeks.

A: An ozone neutralizer, also called an ozone generator, is a device specifically designed to change the ozone in an environment. These machines work particularly well at battling cigarette odors and other smells that you pick up each time you get in your car. You’ll usually plug in the machine and let it run in your car for several hours or overnight. An ozone neutralizer will also eliminate odors found in a new car.

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