We’ve all had it happen: You’re driving down the highway at seventy miles an hour with your friends in the back seat when a foul odor assaults your nose. Is it the exhaust from the car ahead or the rotting banana peels in the cooler? It can be hard to tell where a bad odor is coming from, but you don’t want to stay cooped up in a smelly car for eight hours. There are plenty of opportunities for bad odors during road trips, so here are a few ways to avoid them.
Clean the Car Before You Leave
If you know that you’ll be heading out on a road trip, clean your car thoroughly before you leave. This means shampooing the carpets and seats and cleaning the dust and grime from your dashboard. If there are any stains, use a special stain remover like Spot Shot or OxiClean. You can also spray your carpets with a stain resistant formula like Scotch Guard to prevent stains while your driving and make them easier to clean up.
Stop for Meals
I know that you want to make good time on your road trip, but passengers — and the driver especially — are likely to make a mess when you eat in the car. Even something as simple as crackers will produce crumbs, and you’ll wind up having a clean-up job when you get home. So stop at a fast food restaurant or a rest stop to eat your meals. If this isn’t an option, stop after eating to clean out your car and dump all trash in a receptacle. Leaving half-eaten sandwiches and rotting apple cores in the car will spawn bad odors.
Not only will the air fill with cigarette smell if everyone is smoking in the car, but it will be difficult to remove from the upholstery when you arrive. If you have to smoke, take breaks at rest stops or roll down all the windows and make sure to blow smoke out of the car. Remember that if you’re driving and you don’t smoke, you have every right to stop people from smoking in your car. You can also avoid bad odors from your car’s ash tray my sprinkling a layer of baking soda at the bottom before you leave.
Stop for Motion Sickness
If someone is starting to feel ill during your road trip, stop by the side of the road to avoid a particularly bad odor from permeating your car. Vomit is notoriously difficult to clean and you might have other accidents on your hands as a result of the smell. If someone feels like they are going to throw up, you’re much better off having them do it outside of the car.
Use an Air Freshener
Before you leave for your road trip, start avoiding bad odors by purchasing an air freshener. You can find them in all kinds of shapes, colors and smells, and they often do wonders to chase bad odors away. You can also purchase a spray air freshener if you need a little boost while you’re on the road. Just stay away from scents that might irritate a passenger’s allergies. If the air freshener is too intense, try putting it in the trunk or behind the back seat so the smell isn’t overpowering to the passengers.
If you’re thinking ahead, put one or two dryer sheets under every seat of the car to help avoid bad odors. You can also use a bar of sweet-smelling soap or a stick-up.