Introduction: How to Deodorize Your Vehicle's Interior

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Video tutorial on how to deodorize a vehicle’s interior. This was an older video I produced back in 2011, I wanted to increase the quality of this video by providing more information on unanswered questions. This is a common method used by mechanics and detailers. I’ve actually used this method many times when working at a dealership. Sometimes an odour can soak into the vehicle’s interior or mould or mildew may grow on the air conditioner’s condenser within the ventilation system. That condenser can be very hard to clean as the dashboard may need to be disassembled. With any foul smells, normally we would start with thoroughly cleaning the vehicle’s interior and replacing the cabin filter if equipped but unfortunately in some cases that doesn’t always work. So instead we used a chemical method.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • tape
  • clean cloth
  • a/c treatment cleaner/evaporator cleaner and refresher/ac odour treatment/odour eliminator/foam coil cleaner

Step 1:

Before using this treatment, it's important to clean the interior surfaces first such as wiping the plastic components, shampooing the upholstery, cleaning the windows, and headliner. An old or dirty cabin filter will also cause foul orders. Smells can come from a variety of sources such as dust, something which soaked into the fabric, left over food, spilled drinks, etc. The application must be done with the vehicle off. Turn the fan off as well.

Step 2:

Here I am using an a/c treatment cleaner or also known as an evaporator cleaner and refresher, ac odour treatment, odour eliminator or foam coil cleaner. The product can be purchased at your local automotive parts supplier, available in single cans or a kit. There is usually a few difference scents available, this one has a citrus fragrance. While this is intended for vehicles with air conditioning, is can be used on vehicles without it too.

The treatment will come with a long nozzle that is to be inserted in the vents. Normally I insert it into the main center vent in the dashboard. It can also be applied in the other vents too, but this particular vent usually has the best access to the evaporator.

Shake the product up.Install the nozzle and be sure to hold onto it. I’ve had a few viewer that has had the nozzle pop off and end up behind the vent diffuser. Even install a piece of tape as a stopped to prevent it from falling in the vent. Spray the product into the vents for a few seconds. The product will apply as a foam into the duct, expanding, and eventually vaporizing when circulated.

Step 3:

The product can also be sprayed on the exterior intake for the ventilation system, normally found in front of the windshield. Again using the long nozzle, insert it into the vent, spray for a few seconds and then remove.

Step 4:

Once done, make sure the windows are closed. Start the vehicle, turn the fan on high, select the coolest setting and select the ac if equipped. If you didn’t apply it to the exterior intake, then you can select the recirculate feature. Allow the system to circulate for 15-20min. We do not want to be inside the vehicle when the product is circulating.

Now you maybe asking yourself why can’t you use some of the household brand products. Good question… We had experienced with some of those household brand products and sadly they didn’t work. They may seem to lessen the odour, but in reality all they did was mask the odour. After a few days the foul odour came back.

Step 5:

Once the time span has passed, set everything back to it’s regular setting and turn the vehicle off. During the circulation process, the product will eventually evaporate and disappear, leaving a fresh clean scent.

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