What's your favorite car-smell-good thingy?
April 26, 2019 10:40 PM   Subscribe

Bought a new car that was a little musty. Just needed a new air filter and some Lysol in the vents, and that fixed the smell! Now I just want to put the cherry on top with a nice smell of some sort. What car smell device or method do you use?

Ideal things:

Low maintenance
Smells nice
Long lasting?

I have essential oils but not sure how I'd diffuse them in my car, and those smells don't last forever but if you think that's my best bet I do already have the oils. But I'm also interested in any other ideas!
posted by bbqturtle to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Love any tips or thoughts you have like open can of coffee grounds or kitty litter or whatever worked for you! Specific brands or smells are also appreciated!
posted by bbqturtle at 10:42 PM on April 26, 2019

I don't currently own a car, but when I did, I loved Yankee Candle Car Jars. Rearview mirror hanging thingies from YC. Variety of scents. Lasted forever and a half. Strong enough to just cut half an inch or so of the plastic wrapping off, leave the rest covered, and ignore it for months while it makes your car smell many varieties of yummy.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 11:41 PM on April 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you like your essential oils, you can buy this thing. You soak the little pad with the oil and it clips to your vent. And it’s pretty!
posted by Weeping_angel at 1:38 AM on April 27, 2019

I actually have that essential oil clip and initially I loved it because pretty! Unfortunately the essential oil only lasts a couple of days before the smell fades and you have to renew it which is frustrating (for me, you may not care!) I tried using a different oil thinking maybe it was just that scent, but no, same thing. So I’m watching this with interest.
posted by Jubey at 3:21 AM on April 27, 2019

This is out of left field, but right now I am on a driving holiday through Crete and the scent of wildflowers is incredible in rural areas, maybe because they are ephemeral? My recommendation, then, is seasonal wild plant scents. Maybe consult with a nursery or florist ob what would work best as a dried plant in your car?
posted by mdonley at 3:35 AM on April 27, 2019

I like the smell of sandalwood, and I keep a small carved box made out of it in the center console with change in it. Once it gets hot and humid out it gets a little stronger, but not overwhelming. It's just kind of there, like a piano in a living room.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 3:37 AM on April 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

When I was growing up my mom would keep an open bar of strongly-scented soap tucked under the front passenger seat of her minivan. Every couple of weeks she'd take a knife and pare a sliver off to freshen it up a bit. It was amazing how effective it was; now that I've got a minivan full of disgusting kids of my own I'm planning on adopting the same technique (I just need to clean the damned thing first, which I never seem to be able to get around to).
posted by saladin at 3:45 AM on April 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

I keep a bar of Irish spring soap in the cup holder. It is crazy strong-smelling.
posted by pintapicasso at 5:01 AM on April 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

As a person allergic to many industrial perfumes, I get completely miserable when riding in a car that has one of those hanging scent things. If you absolutely must make your car smell like something other than a car with a clean interior, far better to stick to subtle plant-derived scents: cedar chips, sprigs of rosemary, the aforementioned sandalwood etc.
posted by flabdablet at 5:01 AM on April 27, 2019 [7 favorites]

When I was driving Lyft, I consistently got compliments on how my (2 year old) car still had "that new car smell." My secret was a pair of those side vented Arm & Hammer baking soda boxes. They will absorb an amazing amount of odors. Before you start layering on other smells, combine those with the most thorough cleaning you can manage and see what kind of baseline that gives you
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:58 AM on April 27, 2019 [10 favorites]

Dirtyoldtown, where did you put them in the car?
posted by bbqturtle at 9:13 AM on April 27, 2019

I like to spray the carpet of our old car where some rain has gotten in with some lavender essential oil mixed with rubbing alcohol, in a cheap plastic spray bottle from the drug store. It gives a pleasant scent without as much allergic potential as most, and it helps kill mold or keep it from growing.
posted by chromium at 10:39 AM on April 27, 2019

I put one under the passenger seat and one in the trunk. My car is a crossover/SUV thing so the back is semi open.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:48 AM on April 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

When you have orange peels, put them on the dash to dry. They smell great. See also, lemon, lime, grapefruit.
posted by theora55 at 2:00 PM on April 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I get a sprig of eucalyptus and keep it in the wayback area of my CRV, when it gets warm it smells nice. but not overpowering. Warning: if you get the green stuff it will also stain things green when it gets wet.
posted by jessamyn at 8:17 PM on April 27, 2019

I like the Yankee Candle Car Jars too. I don't find the scents overwhelming -- just pleasantly there. I tried one of the vent clip ones, but ended up taking it out and throwing it away, because holy cow, was it overpowering, especially when the heat was on, no matter how low.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:54 AM on April 29, 2019

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