Maintaining a clean car smell is difficult. A car can quickly become smelly if you add a few kids and their leftover smoothies from last week, the family dog, or a road trip full of fast food. However, chemical car cleaners are not always safe. Continue reading CarMats to learn about the downsides of certain car air fresheners and discover risk-free, do-it-yourself ways to keep your car smelling fresh.
What Makes Natural Superior?
Problematic ingredients like volatile organic compounds can be found in many air fresheners and deodorizers, including those adorable trees that hang from mirrors (VOCs).
VOCs are synthetic chemicals with the ability to remain suspended in the atmosphere, which contributes to the lingering scent of pine.
More than ten negative health effects of VOC exposure are listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including headaches, vision problems, and loss of coordination. Any of those symptoms are probably undesirable, especially if you’re driving.
The long-term consequences of VOC exposure are even scarier; they include cancer, kidney disease, and damage to the central nervous system.
Not all ingredients cause concern, including VOCs. Aside from triclosan, an antimicrobial that has been linked to thyroid disruption and allergen sensitivity, many air fresheners also contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, phthalates, which can cause birth defects, and quaternary ammonium compounds (also known as “quats”), which are linked to asthma.
These problematic ingredients aren’t present in all car fresheners. Read the label to see how your air freshener compares. But be aware that many companies do not disclose all the ingredients in their air fresheners, even if the label on your air freshener looks good. Look for the Green Seal or Ecologo to make sure that a product doesn’t have formaldehyde, phthalates, triclosan, or quats.
Natural Remedies to Keep Your Car Fresh-Smelling
Fortunately, using natural remedies will prevent your car from smelling like a wet dog. With these simple, cheap, do-it-yourself tips, you can get rid of lingering smells and chemical air fresheners.
1. Vacuum the vents, mats, and upholstery.
Cleaning your mats and upholstery may seem like an obvious first step, but it’s not very enjoyable. How recently have you cleaned your vents? When you turn on the heat or air conditioning, dirt and germs that have accumulated in the vents are dispersed throughout your vehicle. The upper and lower vents can be cleaned with a thin sponge or cotton swab.
2. Purchase a seat or cargo area cover that can be washed.
Consider purchasing detachable, machine-washable covers for the seats or cargo areas if you plan to bring your dog (or your snack-eating tween) along. Just take the covers off and wash them when your car starts to smell.