7 Powerful Car Air Fresheners

car air fresheners

Car and Driver

Let’s assume, if we may, that you’re not a total slob. Before entering your car, you at least bathe or change into clean, dry clothing. While driving, you refrain from smoking. And when leaving the vehicle, you remove all odorous items and assorted refuse. But you can’t control the other people and animals who’ve sat in your car—a smelly friend, a wet dog, or the previous owner. Something stinks and you can’t get rid of it.

Assuming nothing died inside, you have affordable options to clear your vehicle’s air—after you’ve vacuumed every last nook and shampooed your upholstery. These air fresheners should be the final step after a thorough cleaning and inspection of your car’s hidden parts (because cheeseburger wrappers and gym shorts can slip undetected for months). And once the offending odor is gone, please, stop using these air fresheners altogether.

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Meguiar’s Whole Car Air Re-Fresher

Meguiar’s
amazon.com

$6.47

Shut your windows, crank the HVAC on recirc, and pop the tab on this one-time-use aerosol spray. After 15 minutes, Meguiar’s promises it’ll rid odors on the “molecular level.” What’s great is that it sprays all by itself, so you can go clean something else.

Armor All Fresh Fx

Armor All
amazon.com

$16.97

This self-spraying can works similar to Meguiar’s, but Armor All’s lineup includes a hand spray, a small pen-sized pump spray, and a vent clip.

Febreze Unstopables

The legendary Febreze isn’t just a spray—it’s a vent clip with a “scent intensity dial” that works up to 30 days. Not recommended on 911s with leather-stitched vent slats.

Yankee Candle Car Jar

Yankee Candle
amazon.com

$10.99

New England’s famous Yankee Candle will fill your car with a safe, flame-free fragrance, and the hanging Car Jars mimic the shape of the company’s glass candleholders. If you miss mall kiosks, try the charm bracelet with refillable pads.

Baking Soda

Arm & Hammer
amazon.com

$9.56

What works in your fridge will work in your car; baking soda is cheap and absorbs odors without leaving a scent behind. Sprinkle on the offensive surface and clean up after a couple hours, or leave some in an open container for a few days.

Charcoal

Kingsford
amazon.com

$25.43

Your water filter uses charcoal to reduce bad tastes, and the same goes for scents. Charcoal is porous and absorbs odors—just leave some briquettes in an open bag and let nature do the work.

Cabin Air Filter

Bosch Automotive
amazon.com

$18.70

Cabin air filters trap dust and odor from your car’s air conditioning and heating, but after a couple years, they get gross and mildewy. They’re easy to replace—just make sure you buy a filter that fits your car.

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