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How to Remove Smells From an Auto A/C Vent

by Nigel D'Orville

Does your car smell bad when you turn on the heating or air conditioning? If so, it might be time to clean the air vents in your vehicle. After awhile, moisture, mildew, mold spores, bacteria and other odor-causing things can become quite a nuisance to both the driver and passengers. Solve the odor problem by eliminating it at the source.

Mix a solution of dish soap, water and odor eliminator spray in an empty spray bottle. Add about 20 drops of dish soap, 8 ounces of water and 4 ounces of odor eliminator (such as Atmosklear odor eliminator spray). Mix the solution well.

Spray all hard surfaces of the interior of the vehicle with the solution, and let it sit for about two minutes. Then wipe off the solution with a paper towel.

Spray the carpet and upholstery lightly with odor eliminator (not the solution), and gently work it into the fibers. Make sure you don't miss the headliner (ceiling) and trunk space.

Spray the odor eliminator into each vent in the inside of the car. Make sure the fan is off before you start spraying into the vent. Otherwise, the spray will immediately blow out.

Turn on the vehicle, and turn the ventilation system on to "cool" without turning on the AC or recirculation feature (sometimes called "maximum AC"). Go to the outside of the vehicle, and spray some odor eliminator into the air intake vent (usually located at the bottom of the windshield).

Turn on the air conditioning and the recirculate setting. If there is a "maximum" air conditioner setting, turn it on. Spray the interior of the vehicle with the odor eliminator, spraying toward the headliner (ceiling). Close all of the doors and windows, and let the system run for about seven minutes on high.

Turn the AC system off and wipe any remaining odor eliminator from the hard surfaces of the vehicle.

Tip

  • Replacing your cabin air filter may also help get rid of musty smells coming from your ventilation system.

Items you will need

About the Author

Nigel D'Orville began writing seriously during the first semester of his undergraduate studies in 2007. He is a published writer for eHow, specializing in "how-to" articles in a variety of subject areas ranging from car maintenance to consumer electronics. Nigel is currently a senior at the University of Dayton and plans on graduating in May 2011.

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