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The stinkin stinky car

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I bought my moms car after she died because she had been a recluse for 3 years and it only has 18,000 miles on it and she only owed $1,000 on it. It's practically new. Her car is smaller than mine, gets great gas mileage and is cheaper to insure. My kids are older, so I no longer need my minivan, it's paid off but has a TON of miles, gets horrible mileage and seems to be in the shop every 8 months. I feel guilty driving such a big vehicle when I really don't need too.

The only problem. My mom was a heavy smoker and had liver disease, both created horrible, horrible smells in the car. I had the vents flushed, the seats and floors washed and have washed it all out with vinegar and citrus enzymes. I have a garage, so I can leave the windows all the time. If one more person tells me to spray it with Fabreeze I'm going to SCREAM, but HOW do I get the smell of smoke and yuck out of there? I almost vomit every time I drive the car.
post #2 of 23
Take it to a detailer. Tell them about the smoking. They will put it on an enzyme fogger. It really does work.

I bought a nice, new car for my former step daughter.. she and her boyfriend smoked in it, and then she lost her DL... so we took the car back. It was totally thrashed. I think she was smoking meth in it too. It had a cat pee, smoke and baby vomit smell in it. We cleaned it, and then paid 119.00 for the smoke eliminator treatment. No funky smells.. just clean. My husband now drives it daily, as it gets better gas mileage than the truck.


We are both non smokers... and have walked away from relationships, cars and friends because of smoking. This process really works.. there is no way he would drive it, or allow our children in it, if it still smelled like smoke or febreeze.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thats what I did I had the carpets and seats shampooed, the vents flushed and the interior power cleaned. It seemed ok for 2 weeks, now the smell is creeping out again

Unfortunately, it's more than just smoke. When her liver began to fail, she let off a horrible smell, it's a combination of both.

It's a beautiful day today, so I just went out and cleaned with baking soda and vinegar again and then sprayed the citrus enzyme. I have it sitting in the sun with the windows down hoping to bake it out.

Any other natural/green suggestions for the vents and upholstery? My daughter has asthma and I'm very concerned about using more chemicals to get this out.
post #4 of 23
The headliner... did you shampoo or replace the headliner?
post #5 of 23
Believe it or not unused coffee grounds really worked in my dh's car that we bought used. We don't drink it so I just bought some coffee on sale, put it in a cup in the cup holder and left it there for a couple of weeks. It took all the smoke smell out.
post #6 of 23
Do you think open boxes of baking soda (anchored so they wouldn't fall over of course) might help absorb some of the smell?
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
The headliner... did you shampoo or replace the headliner?
What is the headliner?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 34me View Post
Believe it or not unused coffee grounds really worked in my dh's car that we bought used. We don't drink it so I just bought some coffee on sale, put it in a cup in the cup holder and left it there for a couple of weeks. It took all the smoke smell out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
Do you think open boxes of baking soda (anchored so they wouldn't fall over of course) might help absorb some of the smell?
I wonder if a combination of coffee and baking soda would do it? I've got a ball that I use in the refrigerator for baking soda, I wonder if I fill it with coffee and baking soda and hang it for a week if that'll help?

Thank you all for the suggestions. I really think I need to keep the car, but it's grossing me out.
post #8 of 23
Some detail shops will connect your car to an ozone machine, that should get it out.

I had a corolla about 10 years ago that was having problems. I couldn't afford to fix it at the time, so I parked it in our basement garage where it was always wet and musty. I didn't even think about what could happen, but it sat there for 8 months and completely mildewed and molded all over the interior. DH worked for a dealership at the time and asked the detail people to take care of it because nothing we did would clean it or get the smell out. They cleaned it and connected it to an ozone fogger...it never smelled again.

Now that I think about it, MOLD!!! how scary. Ug, the things we did before we learned.
post #9 of 23
What about one of those ozone machines? My mom rented one for a week to get the smoke smell out of her house and it really made a difference. I can't remember exactly where she rented it from, but she did it online and it was really easy. They sent it to her house, she kept it for a week, and then she sent it back. They are used in car detailing at dealerships I believe!

eta: oops, just saw the post above! That's what I'm talking about
post #10 of 23
Ozone... that is what I was talking about in my first post.

Head liner.. the thing above your head... often holds the stinkiest smells and no one remembers to clean it.

Even wiping it down with vodka.... yes vodka removes smoke odors.. thanks mythbusters.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
Ozone... that is what I was talking about in my first post.

Head liner.. the thing above your head... often holds the stinkiest smells and no one remembers to clean it.

Even wiping it down with vodka.... yes vodka removes smoke odors.. thanks mythbusters.
Good to know, but maybe don't drive it for a few days after you do that. Can you just imagine getting pulled over with your whole CAR reeking of alchohol?
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Actually the vodka might work. I don't drink, but I have a bottle of 151 proof vodka that I use in a spray bottle as an underarm and foot deodorizer. Works great in hot sticky weather and as soon as it dries you can't smell a thing.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 34me View Post
Believe it or not unused coffee grounds really worked in my dh's car that we bought used. We don't drink it so I just bought some coffee on sale, put it in a cup in the cup holder and left it there for a couple of weeks. It took all the smoke smell out.
Ditto on the coffee grounds! I had some friends who bought a hearse and used coffee grounds and cut up apples to get the embalming fluid smell out of the car.

I've used the coffee grounds trick myself to get the smell of vomit out of our car when just cleaning didn't do the trick.
post #14 of 23
I second the suggesting of an ozone machine and cleaning the headliner/ceiling with vodka.

edited to add: it go the smell from a man the died from liver disease out of a house and the bedroom he slept in.
post #15 of 23
I recommend to change the headliner also, I recently did it on my ford and it cost me only 90 bucks. I used to work for a car dealer and my boss uses this product called Husky 400 made of live bacteria, here is link and info:

HUSKY 400
or Private Branded
Bacterial Digestant/Deodorant

Contains live bacteria, acts fast, digesting grease and other organic waste. Deodorizes instantly contains a superb malodor counteractant, in addition to removing the source.
Safe non-acid, non-caustic, non-pathogenic, contains no solvents, digests grease nature's way. USDA Authorized. Minimum 200 billion per gallon.
http://www.hall-o-roma.com/cleaning/.../husky400.html

It's expensive I know, but it works! I personally used this product on the cars, but I had to leave it for 3 days or so with the windows down since it works slowly, I am not so sure when they say acts fast lol. Those little creatures work really hard!!!!
post #16 of 23
To mask the smell, try lush ballistics- particularly the avabath. Most of the staff over here use them as car air fresheners.
post #17 of 23
Have you tried Nature's Miracle? That gets the cat pee smell out of my carpets very well. The liquid just has to touch every bit of the odor to get it out. It must be some kind of neutralizer. It works wonders for my carpet! You might be able to spray the headliner with it as well. I get it from the local pet supply store.
post #18 of 23
Maybe try an essential oil diffuser with a sweet orange oil in it, i use this for a lot of things and it works great. Just an idea. Good Luck
post #19 of 23
I spilled milk in my trunk and tried to fix it with carpet shampoo (bad, bad mistake) but I got a $20 ozone plug-in for my cigarette lighter and it fixed the problem. No more smell of spoiled milk and no more smell of nasty carpet shampoo.
post #20 of 23
Biokleen has a spray on, enzyme based, deodorizer.
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