In this article, CarMats describes how to quickly turn your car odor into a pharmacy (in 60 minutes or less).
The truth is, there’s nothing more annoying than starting the car and turning on the air conditioner and suddenly a musty, fishy or urine smell fills the cabin.
But don’t worry, I’ve never had a car problem that was simple to fix.
So if you’re wondering “Why does my car’s air conditioner smell like poop?” You are in luck because I will show you how to solve this problem.
Let’s find out what causes an unpleasant urine-like odor in your car’s air conditioner before moving on to how to fix it and avoid it in the future.
Let’s get started right away.
Why Does the Air Conditioner in My Car Have a Pee Smell?
Does the air conditioning in your car, especially when you first get in and turn it on, smell somewhat like a combination of urine and mold? If so, you should be aware that it’s a common issue. Due to the high daily a/c usage in Texas and Arizona, this may not be a very pleasant situation.
After a few minutes, the smell usually disappears when the car’s air conditioning is turned on. In some extreme cases, though, it won’t go away until after a long trip with the A/C running nonstop.
Bacteria and mold are to blame if your car smells like cat poop.
When the air conditioner is on, an “evaporator” inside your car’s air conditioning system cools the air by removing heat and moisture from the inside of the car. There is still enough moisture in the air to condense on the evaporator even when it is relatively dry.
The evaporator’s condensed moisture is meant to drip and drain. The drain, however, frequently gets blocked and takes too long to drain. Let’s say that the evaporator unit’s water can become stagnant. In that case, the water in your vehicle’s air conditioning system eventually molds and bacteria, giving off an odor, especially when the system is first turned on.
How to Remove the Urine Smell from Any Car’s Air Conditioning?
There are only three solutions to this [spoiler alert: my favorite is solution # 3].
Thoroughly clean the ducts, air vents, and evaporator. Of course, in order to reinstall those parts, you would need to disassemble and remove them from your car first. It’s your last option because, as you can imagine, it requires a lot of work.
The good news is that, barring extremely rare circumstances, this shouldn’t be required. But if the car with the bad a/c smell is left parked for a long time or if you ignore the smell for long enough, this might be your only choice.
Use the specialized chemical to clean the air conditioner. They are widely available and claim to kill any bacteria or mold that may be growing in your car’s air conditioning system. You can also try to fix the smell yourself by spraying an odor neutralizer into the air vents every so often.
[My favorite technique—you’ll feel like a superhero using it!] Change the cabin filter, and while the air conditioner is running, pump ozone into the car’s interior. Every pore will allow ozone to enter, which will then interact with every living thing in your ventilation system.
When no animals or people are present, high ozone concentrations in the air can be used to effectively clean an empty space of specific chemical or biological odors.
Instead of a pee smell after your car’s air conditioning and ventilation system have been successfully decontaminated with ozone, you will experience a strong, pharmacy-like odor for at least another 3 to 7 days.
By running the ozone generator for at least 10 minutes with the windows closed and the internal air recirculation on, you can make sure that the OZONE (O3) concentration inside the car is high enough. O3 can easily enter any duct, fabric, or vent.
Try not to attempt this in a garage or other enclosed area. strictly only do this when the car is outside. Make sure to wait at least another 30 minutes after turning off the OZONE generator before getting inside the car to allow the ozone to settle down a bit.
After that, leave the doors, trunk, and windows open for at least another 30 minutes to let fresh air in and ozone out of the vehicle.
Please only use this technique if your car’s air conditioner already smells like pee. Do not use it frequently or as a preventative measure.
How to Stop Your Car’s Air Conditioning from Smelling Like Pee?
There is a way to stop mold and bacteria from ever starting to grow.
Five minutes before you stop driving, simply turn off your air conditioning. Then start your interior fan at full speed to aid in drying out the A/C system in your car. Before you turn off your car, just five minutes on a fan (without using the A/C) will make a significant difference.