The best air freshener for your car depends on the answer to two questions: What do you want your car to smell like, and what kind of air freshener device do you want to use?
There are all sorts of different ways to make your car smell like a bunch of different scents – or smell like nothing at all, if you just want it to smell clean. Below, I’ll show you the best ways to get your car smelling great with a ton of different air freshener options.
Let’s take a look at all the options for adding scents to, and removing bad odors from, your stinky car:
Option #1: Hanging Air Fresheners
One of the most popular air fresheners used in cars for many years has been the hanging air fresheners that are shaped like pine trees.
These air fresheners are small, cheap, and are available in a large variety of different scents. There are also other brands who offer similar hanging air fresheners. You can take a look at the options here:
- Pine Tree-shaped Hanging Air Fresheners – The most popular air freshener for cars in the entire world – Shaped like a pine tree but scented however you want – Available in different 42 scents – Click here to view.
- Animal Paw-shaped Hanging Air Fresheners – Cuter than a tree, don’t you agree? – Available in 13 scents or in a variety pack that comes with 4 different scents – Click here to view.
- Candle-shaped Hanging Air Freshener – A unique design shaped like a glass candle holder – Comes in a variety pack that comes with 3 different scents – Click here to view.
Option #2: Vent Clip-on Air Fresheners
Vent clips are the next most popular type of air freshener for a car. They will often produce a stronger scent than the hanging air fresheners listed above, which makes them more useful for adding a fragrance to your entire car instead of just the front seat.
Febreze is the most popular brand that has vent clip-ons available, but there are also some other brands as well that have different fragrances. Most vent clip-on air fresheners are going to work about the same regardless of brands, so just choose whichever fragrance sounds like it’s your thing.
Since Febreze’s product page doesn’t list every scent option together, I had to go and find them all for you. So, here’s the Febreze scents listed individually, and then the other brand pages which contain all their scents:
Febreze Brand Vent Clip-on Air Fresheners:
- Pine – Click here to view.
- Combo “Unstoppables” pack with 2 unique scents – Click here to view.
- Bamboo – Click here to view.
- Cranberry – Click here to view.
- Pumpkin – Click here to view.
- Tide laundry cleaner – Click here to view.
- Old Spice deodorant – Click here to view.
- Platinum Ice – Click here to view.
- New Car – Click here to view.
- Linen & Sky – Click here to view.
- Midnight Storm – Click here to view.
- Gain Original plus bonus Heavy Duty scent – Click here to view.
- Gain Island Fresh – Click here to view.
- Citrus with added smoke odor elimination – Click here to view.
- Meadows and Rain – Click here to view.
Other Brands Of Vent Clip-on Air Fresheners:
- Lexol Vent Sticks – Leather scent only – Click here to view.
- Little Trees Vent Wrapper – 6 different scents – Click here to view.
- Yankee Candles Vent Clips – 15 different scents – Click here to view.
- Armor All Vent Clips – Available in 11 different scents – Click here to view.
- Decorative Vent Clips – No scent – These are special vent clips that are designed for you to add your own scented oil of any fragrance you desire – Scented oil must be purchased separately – Click here to view.
Option #3: Spray Bottles For Instant Aroma Or Odor Elimination
Even if you use a hanging or clip-on air freshener in your car like the ones I listed above, it’s still a good idea to keep a bottle of air freshener spray nearby as well.
You never know when you might be picking up a friend or family member and you want your car to smell extra fresh right away. A spray bottle is the best way to make your car smell better as fast as possible in an emergency.
Below, I’ll show you one good option for odor elimination called an ozone spray. Ozone is a natural gas that destroys odor particles, without leaving a new scent in its place after it dissipates. There will only be the mild smell of “fresh rain” when the ozone gas is still lingering for a short while after you spray it.
The other spray bottle options are for adding new fragrances to your car. These won’t remove odors but will do a good job of covering them up instead. Obviously, odor removal is preferred for a long-term solution, but covering up odors is just as useful when you’re in a rush.
- Ozone Odor-Destroying Gas Spray – Ozone is a natural gas that destroys odor particles – Spray this in your car about 20 minutes before picking up your passengers – Do not breathe this gas heavily, allow it to dissipate for a few minutes after spraying it before you get in the car – Click here to view.
- Scented Car Spray – For instantly adding a strong new aroma to your car – Available in New Car Smell found here, and in Leather Seat Smell found here.
- Flower Power 3-scent Variety Pack – If you prefer scents that come from all-natural essential oils, then grab this value pack that comes with 3 different natural scents – Just stick one or all three in your glove compartment and you’ll have instant, natural aroma any time you need it – Click here to view.
- OdoBan Scented Sprays For Killing Germs – These sprays will kill germs, destroy odor-causing particles, and add a new scent all at the same time – For use on car fabric or any other type of fabric – Click here to view.
Option #4: Long-lasting Odor Absorbers
On the opposite end of the spectrum from instant spray bottles is long-term odor removal options. These options aren’t focused on adding new scents, but on removing bad odors that show up in your car over time.
If your car regularly has bad odors introduced to it, such as from smoking or transporting stinky food or animals, then you should definitely invest in one of these devices.
The two main types of odor absorber for a car are bags of activated carbon, and canisters of odor-absorbing gel. And frankly, both of them function very similarly. The bags of carbon and the canister of gel will both absorb odor particles that drift around your car, keeping them out of the air and thus out of your nose.
The bags of carbon will not produce any scent at all, whereas some of the gel canisters will produce a mild “fresh” cleaning product type of scent. Take a look at them both below:
- Odor-absorbing Bag Of Activated Carbon (Hanging Shape) – Made specifically to hang from the back of a car head rest – Click here to view.
- Odor-absorbing Bag Of Activated Carbon (Pillow Shape) – The same product as above, but in the shape of a small pillow that can sit on or under your car seat – Click here to view.
- Odor-absorbing Gel Container – Absorbs odor particles and produces a mild new scent – Available in 2 different scents – Click here to view.
Option #5: Scent-producing Gel Cans
The gel can that I linked to in Option #4 is made primarily to absorb odors, but will also produce a light scent. However, the gel cans in this section are not made to absorb odor particles.
Instead, they will just produce a strong new scent for your car. The benefit of these cans is that they are available in more scents and are focused solely on producing the scent of your choice instead of trying to absorb odor particles at the same time.
There are a few different brands to choose from, all with a variety of great car smells:
- California Scents Gel Cans – Available in 6 different scents – Click here to view.
- Little Trees Gel Cans – From the makers of the hanging air fresheners that are shaped like pine trees – Available in 8 of their most popular scents – Click here to view.
- Citrus Magic Gel Containers – Available in 8 different scents – Click here to view.
Option #6: An Air Freshener “Bomb” For A Total Car Scent Makeover
An air freshener bomb is a container of pressurized gas that can destroy the bad odors that linger in every crack and crevice of your car.
When opened, the “bomb” will spew out a massive amount of odor-destroying gas, completely filling up your car. If you leave the air conditioning running while the air freshener bomb is working, the gas will even get into your air vents and destroy odor particles there.
These air freshener bombs are one of the best solutions for removing deeply-embedded car odors, such as the smell of smoke that is caused by regularly using cigarettes in the car.
You can get an air freshener “bomb” in two varieties. The first is one that will destroy odors and replace them with a strong new smell, and the second is one that will destroy odors but without adding a new scent to your car.