There are few things as annoying as the damp, moist smell of partially dry fabric. It becomes even more annoying because, despite washing, drying, and spraying, the scent tends to persist. If it’s in your clothes, walking around in the open air will eventually get rid of the stink, even though you’re bound to get a few stares and wrinkled noses in the meantime. But when the smell is in your car, it’s much harder to get rid of.
It doesn’t take much for the smell to build up in the first place. If your car windows are slightly open, a little moisture finds its way into the car and marinates overnight, then you’re done. The smell can also be caused – ironically – by a poorly done car wash. If you didn’t dry out your car completely, it will soon acquire that damp smell. If you’re not careful, that car smell can develop into full-blown mould.
To get rid of any car smell yourself, you have to start by thoroughly cleaning the car. This is because the smell is particulate, which means there are tiny bits of mould or lichen causing that ‘wet car’ smell. If you can, find the source of the smells and scrub that particular spot. Thorough cleansing will get rid of the visible particles, and it might eliminate some of the unseen ones as well.
Because the issue is scent-based, you need to focus on the inside of the car, not the outside. Be as thorough as you can, shampooing the seats and carpets, and getting in the spaces between cushions, under mats, and inside the dash. Scrub any cracks and crevices to dislodge dirt, and treat the leather and fabric upholstery.
Take special note of bits that often get overlooked, like ash trays, dashboards, consoles, and stains on the inside roof of the car. You should also thoroughly clean the boot and the spaces beneath the seats, where odour-inducing substances can easily hide. Clean the doors and windows, checking the jambs, rubbers, and panels. They often accumulate dirt from unwashed hands and condensation.
Once you’re sure that the car is spotless and completely dry, take a sniff to see if there’s any trace of smell left. You can now use a special anti-odour treatment to get rid of residue. Certain brands are patented to get rid of a wide range of nasty scents that include pets, babies, smokers, vomit, urine, stale food, and even cheap perfume.
These odour removers work by flushing the inside of your car with ozone. Yes, that’s the stuff that surrounds the earth, protecting it from solar radiation when we’re not busy punching holes in it. Ozone overpowers all other smells inside your car, leaving it fresh and scent free.
Ozone has an added benefit. Beyond eliminating unwanted smells, it kills any allergens or bacteria that it finds in your car. These micro-organisms are generally the source of the smell, so by killing them, the ozone ensures that the smell won’t recur. When applied properly, the ozone saturates the car, getting behind seats, between gaps, inside every inch of the car interior, seeking, targeting, and finding every microscopic source of the unpleasant smell.
This potent gas isn’t available as an over-the-counter spray can. You can only get it from professional suppliers who are trained in how to safely and effectively administer it. You shouldn’t try to do it yourself, as you could easily damage both your car and your own health. So … you could try eliminating smells using organic remedies like baking soda and lemon wedges, or you could save yourself the trouble and contact an expert, most car detailers will have a special service for removing odours. It’s your call!