How to Get That ‘New Car Smell’ in an Old Car

What's the secret to getting that "new car smell" in your old car? The answer may surprise you. And it doesn't involve a trip to the dealership.

According to experts, what makes cars smell like new is VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which evaporate into the air and leave behind an odour that's difficult to describe, but anyone who loves cars can recall instantly! These chemicals are used as part of the manufacturing process for tires, plastics and seat belts, among other things. As these materials break down over time, they release those VOCs. Over time, though, the smell wears away.

So how do you recreate that smell? Let's find out.

Keep The Seats Clean

clean car seat

If you want your car to smell like new, one of the first things that you should do is vacuum the seats. If your upholstery is leather or vinyl, make sure that you use a gentle cleaner and avoid getting moisture in seams and folds. No one enjoys finding stains on their seats!

Once those are clean, shampoo all of the upholstery. Some people like to make a homemade cleaning solution and other prefer commercial products. If you use one, make sure that it's safe for your type of seat and follow the directions on the label.

If you have cloth seats, they may be relatively easy to clean with a mixture of vinegar and water or baking soda and water.

Finally, when the seats are dry, add some scented seat-covering protectors. These smell great and will help keep your car smelling fresh longer than you would expect!

Wash the Floor Mats

wash car floor mat

Over time, the floor mats in your car can trap all kinds of dirt and make the interior smell like a musty old basement. This is especially noticeable in winter months when you might be walking in snow or mud on your way into the car.

To keep that new-car smell, wash all of the floor mats with detergent and warm water and let them air dry outside. You can also leave them in direct sunlight if you want to speed up the process.

In addition to washing the mats, it's a good idea to clean your floorboard with hot soapy water. Be sure to dry thoroughly after all of this is done.

Finally, leave the doors open and let fresh air in for at least fifteen minutes before you drive. While some people recommend adding scented oils or baking soda to your floorboards, this is not a good idea as it can cause problems with your airbags or other sensitive systems in the car.

Steam Clean Your Car's Interior

You can also try this DIY solution for creating a new car smell in your old ride. Combine one part vinegar with two parts water and put them into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the seats and let it sit for about 30 minutes or so, then wipe or scrub away any remaining residue. The vinegar is an effective cleaner that kills odours, while the water helps to rehydrate your vehicle's interior.

Some people say that using regular air fresheners can help restore a new car smell in an older car, so you may want to try this as well. The only problem is that you don't want your car to smell like your cleaning cupboard!

Alternatively, a car mist diffuser can release both fragrance and humid air at the same time.

Use a Car Air Spray

car air spray

There are a number of "new car scent" sprays that you can use to give your car a clean scent. These sprays are easy to use: just spritz them throughout the car and let them air dry. Some people like to put towels or some kind of fabric softener sheet under their seats before spraying, so that everything smells great all the time!

You can also try putting a new-car scent product inside of your heating and cooling vents. That way, you get a blast of luxury car air spray any time you turn the heating or air conditioning on.

At Car Cologne, we stock luxury car air sprays, air fresheners and diffusers/dehumidifiers that give you the same joy behind the wheel as you had when you first passed your test. We create high-end scents that are just like the very best perfumes and colognes on the market, but at a fraction of the price, and will keep your car smelling better than a normal air freshener and for months longer. Shop our full range today.

Related FAQs

If none of the above options work for you, there are a few other things you can try. You might want to look into buying a new car scent diffuser, which slowly releases fragrance over time. You could also try using essential oils in a diffuser, or even just placing a few drops on a cotton ball and putting it somewhere in the car. At CarCologne, we stock many different products to make your car smell good from sprays to diffusers and even humidifiers.

A musty smell in your car can be caused by a number of things, but particularly trapped moisture, for example if your car seats got damp and weren't allowed to dry. If you live in an area with high humidity this can also contribute to the problem. If your car smells musty, in addition to the tips above, try leaving the doors open for as long as possible and encouraging a draught through the car. You could also try placing a bowl of baking soda or some similar product inside the car to absorb moisture and odours.

If you have a pet or smoke, your car will absorb these smells. In addition to the tips above, try to keep smoking materials out of the car as much as possible, and if you have pets, make sure they're not allowed in the car when it's hot outside as this will make any smells worse. You might also want to try shampooing your car seats regularly, and using a pet odour remover if you have pets.

Fast food smells can linger, but will particularly do so if you actually eat in your car. That's because when you eat, you leave behind crumbs and grease. In addition to regular cleaning, try to avoid eating in your car as much as possible, and if you do, make sure you clean up well afterwards.

A sickly sweet smell in your car can be caused by a number of things, but it's most likely something to do with the air conditioning. The sweet smell could be coming from mold or mildew, which can grow in the system if it's not used often enough. If you think this might be the problem, try running the air conditioning on full blast for a few minutes to see if the smell goes away. If it doesn't, you'll need to take your car to a mechanic to have the system cleaned out.

Ex financial contractor turned E-Commerce brand owner. with a strong passion for both the automotive and fragrance industries. This passion led me to starting Car Cologne in 2018, indirectly creating a new niche in the process, providing long-lasting, luxury car freshening products on a global scale.

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