Does your car smell like cigarette smoke, dog hair, fast food, or something else?
Before you buy a plugin device to make your car smell better, you should know that most plugin devices do not remove bad odors from your car. They are only designed to add new fragrances to it.
This means that using a scented plugin device could produce a combination of “new scent” plus “old odor” that produces something unpleasant to smell.
The real question is: how strong is the odor in your car currently? If there is a bad odor that smells really pungent, then the best solution is to use a device that is specifically designed to remove bad odor particles from the air.
On the other hand, if your car just has a faint odor to it that is barely noticeable, then adding a new scent with a plugin air freshener may work just fine. The strong new scent will cover up the light unpleasant scent, producing the good smell that you want.
The Smelly Truth: Most Plugin Air Fresheners For Cars Don’t Work Very Well
Let’s assume that your car’s bad odor is not that strong, and you just want to cover up the light smells in your vehicle with a fresh new scent.
There’s just one problem: The most popular plugin air fresheners on the market are not really that popular. You can click here to view the Glade plugin air freshener for cars. The reviews for this product are extremely mixed. Some people really appreciate it, whereas other people complain that the scent is barely noticeable.
This is the same exact problem that another top selling plugin device has: the Refresh Your Car plugin. As you can see, this device has many terrible reviews as well, and they all complain that the scent wasn’t strong enough. This seems to be a big problem for many air freshener manufacturers.
A much better reviewed product which customers say works better, and which doesn’t take up the cigarette lighter/phone charger in your car, is the Febreze car air freshener which clips onto your car’s air conditioning vents. I personally prefer this over a plugin device, because I like to use my phone charger while driving with my phone GPS going, but using a plugin typically prevents you from using the phone charger at the same time.
There is one more plugin product that does look somewhat promising after all. It’s an essential oil diffuser that sits in your cup holder and dispenses a fragrance of your choice via the oil that you choose to put in it. This product is well reviewed by customers. However, I personally would not choose this simply because I like to use my cup holders for… well, cups. If you have an extra cup holder to spare, you might want to try this device.
How About A Plugin Odor Remover?
The one exception to plugin air fresheners seems to be a whole different type of air freshener. The car plugin air ionizer by PURE has many great reviews, probably because the device works in a totally different way. It even has USB ports so that you can charge your phone while using it.
Instead of adding a new scent to the car, this device “ionizes” the air in your car, which removes bad odor-causing particles from the air. Ionization of odor particles causes them to become “sticky” and stick to the surfaces in your car, instead of floating through the air and into your nose. This is the same way that some air purifier appliances work in houses, by using ionization to cause smelly molecules to stick to their air filter, which sucks them out of the air.
This ionizer device is not an air freshener that adds scents, it is just an odor remover. However, you may discover that just removing bad odors from your car is enough. Maybe you don’t need to add new scents, what you really want is to just remove old scents. The choice is yours.
What Are My Other Options?
There are several good options for removing bad odors from your car, or for adding new scents to it. I’ll list the best options below, but first you need to know something important:
You should not try to remove bad odors while also adding new scents. This is because all of the devices and chemicals that work well at removing the bad-smelling particles in your car, will also remove good-smelling particles in your car. Your odor removal device can’t tell the difference between odors that you like and odors that you don’t like, so it just removes them all.
Many odor removers will get “used up” faster by removing good scents from your car, so adding new scents while also using an odor remover is actually just going to make your odor remover need to be replaced sooner.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at our options:
Odor Removal Options For Your Car:
- Long-lasting container of activated carbon – This odor remover sits conveniently behind the neck area of one of your seats. The fabric is porous enough to allow odor particles to enter through it into the inside. Once inside, the odor particles are trapped by a material called activated carbon, also known as activated charcoal. Activated carbon is a type of molecule that “grabs” odor-causing particles that come into contact with it, effectively preventing them from floating around the air and entering into your nose. Although most bags of activated carbon typically last for months, this one claims to last for over a year.
- Odor-capturing gel canister – Open this up and set it anywhere in your car. The gel will absorb odor particles, similar to the activated carbon mentioned above. One canister typically lasts for a few months.
- Odor-removing “bomb” – If you have a serious odor problem in your car, such as strong cigarette smoke, you may want to use this product. It is a one-time use item that releases a massive amount of odor-destroying gas into your car all at once, which effectively “purges” all the odor-causing particles in your car. Watching it in action is very cool.
Adding Scents To Your Car:
- California Scents scented canisters – Open this small can and place it anywhere in your vehicle. The can contains a sponge-like material that is strongly scented and will add a new fragrance to your car for up to two months. There are several different scents to choose from.
- Glade scented spray bottle – This is mostly just for emergencies, not a long term solution. If you have to take a friend or family member somewhere in your car, but the car stinks, then you may want to just spray a heavy duty amount of one of these scents into your car about 30 minutes before you have to pick the person up.