How To Keep A New Car Smell

There’s nothing quite like that new car smell. The aroma of freshness mixed with a bit of automotive plastic, maybe a little “new” engine smell as the oil and lubricants are distributed through the engine for the first time. That new car smell is special. It’s something you’d like to keep as long as you can, but it often fades quickly, sometimes within the first few weeks of owning a new car if you don’t take the proper precautions.

There are spray-on additives that can keep that new car smell going. You might think of them as “automotive perfume.” They only mask the smell that eventually arrives in every car, replacing that new car aroma. These are fine when added to a regime of cleaning in keeping a car smelling new, but they don’t do the job alone. Here are a few steps to keep that new car smell lasting a long time.

floormat of a car
Floor mats should be vacuumed and washed off frequently – Randy Tucker

Cleaning Step-By-Step Will Keep The New Car Smell

Cleaning is the answer to prolonging a new car’s aroma, but not just overall cleaning. There are specific ways to extend that smell. The first is vacuuming.

image of car air vent
Vents can carry a lot of odors. – Randy Tucker

Vacuum Away Dust, Dirt, and Debris

By vacuuming the interior of your car you’ll be eliminating dust, dirt, debris, and those French fries that always seem to find their way under the seats. Any food left alone will begin to decay and even something as inconsequential as a potato chip will produce an odor as it decays. Vacuuming up all this organic material before it has a chance to ripen allows the original smell to thrive. Make sure you vacuum, then hose off the floor mats while you’re at it.

Don’t forget the vents. A vent takes in outside air and by default, outside aromas too. Blow out the interior of the vents with an air hose, then vacuum them completely. Scrub the exterior with a non-scented cleanser and you’ll eliminate one of the easiest paths of smells that destroy your new car smell.

Drivers seat with grey upholstery
Randy Tucker

Shampooing Will Remove Scent

Shampooing the seats is another great idea. Seats take on the aroma of the people riding in your car. Sometimes a person’s smell isn’t the best but shampooing the seats with high-quality, non-scented shampoo will eliminate those odors.

Steering wheel after being cleaned
The steering wheel is one of the worst places for eliminating new car smell – Randy Tucker

Focus on High-Touch Areas

Clean the steering wheel, shift mechanism, rearview mirror, and entertainment controls with that same non-scented cleaner. These are areas of high hand contact and your hands, as well as those of other drivers often contain odors that can overwhelm the new car smell.

Any controls touched by your hands can reduce a new car smell – Randy Tucker

Use A Spray When Necessary

After thorough, regular cleaning, it’s time for a spray or two of that “new car in a bottle” smell that used car salesmen used to have on hand for every old wreck in the parking lot. New car spray shouldn’t be overwhelming. Think of how just a whiff of perfume can enhance a person while dousing in it makes them something to avoid. Cars are the same way.

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