5 DIY Ways to Make Your Car Smell Great

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Here are several ways to get your ride smelling swell -- and some are inexpensive, chemical-free and eco-friendly.

The average American drives 13,476 miles a year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. That’s a lot of time to spend in a less-than-fragrant car. Fortunately, there are many potential fixes for the problem — and some of them are inexpensive, chemical-free and eco-friendly.

Following are five DIY ways to get your ride smelling swell.

1. Open a box of dryer sheets

Over at Reddit, a contributor named j-mt suggests storing an opened box of dryer sheets under the front seat of your car. He says doing so is cheaper and lasts longer — up to three months — than using an air freshener or even Febreze to banish stale air.

And he suggests a bonus feature of using dryer sheets:

If you smoke, smell like the restaurant you just ate at, or just need a freshness pick-up, you can take one out of the box and rub it all over your clothes for a freshly laundered smell. 

2. Fill a sock with coffee

Love the smell of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning? Keep that pleasant scent lingering all day by creating a coffee air freshener for your vehicle. The folks at Instructables suggest taking a sock (or two) and filling them with coffee beans or even ground coffee.

Tie the sock and put it under the driver’s seat. If you have a second sock, stick that under the passenger seat and take in the heavenly aroma of your coffee shop on wheels.

If you simply can’t get enough of the smell, you can duplicate it in your home. According to Instructables:

“… if you are looking for something pretty, then try this same thing only instead of a sock us a decorative bowl and only use coffee beans. In my office I have a bowl that used to have spare change and now it’s home for a half a bag of coffee beans. It makes the entire room smell amazing.”

3. Create a ribbon-and-cotton-ball air freshener

Last year, Julie at Frugally Blonde shuttled her teen son and his friends to training sessions as the boys prepared for a mini-marathon. The experience opened her eyes — and tortured her nose: “I honestly had no idea boys could smell that bad,” she says.

So, Julie broke out her favorite essential oils and – combined with a ribbon and cotton ball — created a car vent air freshener. You can see the result at Frugally Blonde. Julie says:

They are not only cute, but because they go into the vent they make the car smell better than the hanging air fresheners. Plus they only cost a dollar or two to make.

4. Add essential oils to a clay disc

Kelly at Simple Life Mom suggests adding 10 to 15 drops of an essential oil to a clay disc purchased at a craft store or kitchen specialty store. Once the clay has absorbed the oil, you simply place it in your car’s interior and enjoy the scented air. Kelly swears by the technique:

This method is so easy and actually lasts a long time. It’s probably my favorite.

5. Pour a little baking soda

Sometimes, the best way to tackle a problem is to go back to the basics. Jenni at Sweet Pennies From Heaven suggests using baking soda, which has been eliminating odors of all kinds for generations.

According to Jenni:

Sprinkle it on your carpets and your seats. Scrub it in with a brush and let it sit overnight, then vacuum up in the morning. It really helps take all the stink away that kids and pets leave!

Do you have other DIY tips for making your car smell great? Share them by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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