Cut to the chase
8 Ways To Get Rid Of Vinegar Small In Your Car
- Open the windows and wait.
- Run the AC
- Run a Dehumidifier
- Use baking soda
- Clean the AC
- Replace the cabin air filter
- Wipe down all surfaces
- Try air fresheners
Are you troubled by a strong, pungent smell of vinegar lingering in your car and looking for an effective solution to get rid of it? Have you noticed your car ac smells? Look no further! We will show you how to get rid of vinegar smell in car – nobody likes that smell!
In this guide, we will delve deeper into understanding the various factors that contribute to the vinegar smell, and most importantly, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of proven techniques and remedies to eliminate that overpowering acetic odor from your beloved vehicle.
With detailed instructions and practical insights, this article aims to be your go-to resource for making your car’s interior fresh and inviting once again. So, buckle up and get ready to drive your way to a vinegar-free and pleasant-smelling car!
*This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
How To Get Rid Of Vinegar Smell In Car
If you suspect your car may smell like vinegar, there are ways to get rid of the bad odors. Keep reading to learn how to get that bad smell completely eliminated.
#1 Open the windows and wait.
When airing out your car, always select an open space for good cross-ventilation. Avoid congested or closed areas, such as garages, as these may limit airflow and hinder the effective removal of the strong odor.
Creating a solid airflow through your car is crucial to eliminate the vinegar smell. This can be accomplished by opening all the windows and doors, allowing for proper circulation. For vehicles with sunroofs, spread them as well to increase airflow. Leave the car open for at least an hour.
You can also put a small container of coffee grounds in your car overnight to absorb vinegar smells if the scent lingers.
#2 Run The Car AC
If your car ac smells, try running it! While your car doors and windows are open, you can also try running the air conditioner. This can help push the vinegar smell out of your ventilation system, especially if the culprit is something like dead animals or a moldy evaporator coil. Make sure all car vents are open and the air conditioning is on full-blast.
As well as running air conditioners, you can even incorporate an oscillating fan or box inside your garage to increase more airflow. Aim the fan for the inside of your car. The “car ac smells” should dissipate with time.
#3 Run a Dehumidifier
Humidity in the air plays a significant role in retaining odors, including the vinegar like smell. A moist environment allows the vinegar scent molecules to linger longer within the air, making it more challenging to eliminate the scent. By removing humidity from the air, you can get rid of the vinegar odor molecules more quickly, resulting in a fresher indoor environment.
To get rid of the vinegar smell effectively, head to the area where the scent is the strongest, such as inside your car, and plug in a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier extracts excess moisture from the air, creating a drier atmosphere. As a result, the vinegar-odor molecules cannot thrive and disperse more rapidly. Allowing the dehumidifier to run for about 10-15 minutes should be sufficient to eliminate the vinegar smell.
#4 Use Baking Soda
Generously sprinkle baking soda onto the primary source areas, like the carpets, seat cushions, and car seats. Ensure that the surface is dry before applying the baking soda to avoid creating a paste. If the smell is coming from the air vents, it’s best to turn on the car’s air conditioner or heating system and add a few tablespoons of baking soda directly to the vents to help neutralize the odor.
You can then use a damp cloth or plastic brush with a vacuum cleaner hose to remove the baking soda once the car smell has improved and it no longer smells like vinegar. If need be, allow this to sit overnight to get rid of any odor that smell like vinegar.
#5 Clean The Car AC
Air conditioners can usually be cleaned with a appropriate cleaning product created for them. An enzyme in the product will quickly eliminate the odor. By accelerating the chemical reaction, the smell is prevented from returning.
To eliminate lingering smells, do not use household cleaning products. In addition to damaging the internal components of the vehicle, these products can also cause the smell to return. Air conditioner chemicals can also be harmful to your health if you breathe them in while driving, so always use caution while using them.
#6 Replace The Cabin Air Filter
One effective solution is to replace your car’s air filter and cabin air filter. Both of these filters play a critical role in the vehicle’s ventilation system, purifying the air before it is circulated inside the car. As a result, if they are not functioning optimally, they may trap and perpetuate the unpleasant vinegar scent.
Replacing the air filter entails removing the old, dirty filter that is likely saturated with residue and odors and installing a new one. This component is responsible for cleansing the air that flows into the engine, thereby ensuring optimal performance and preventing contaminants from entering the internal parts of your vehicle. While an air filter may not directly affect the scent within your car’s cabin, it is important to maintain it, and the evaporator coil, in good working order to keep the engine running efficiently.
A professional service is best to only for replacing filters but in providing a more thorough inspection of other aspects of an ac unit, the electric motor, and more, such as the evaporator coils.
#7 Clean Surfaces Inside Your Car
If your car smells like vinegar from discarded food or spilled drinks, the average person can easily clean surfaces inside to get rid of any smells.
Hydrogen peroxide with some lemon scented essential oils is one of my go to cleaning tips for wiping down arm rests and the inside of doors, floor mats, and dashboards. To make this cleaning product, pour half a cup of peroxide with half a cup of lemon juice in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of essential oils. Use a paper towel to wipe down car surfaces as a bleach alternative.
Wipe the entire interior car surface dry completely with a paper towels until you see it shine and it smells good inside.
#8 Use Air Fresheners
Car air fresheners serve as an effective solution to eliminating unpleasant odors that smell like vinegar and maintain a refreshing atmosphere inside your vehicle. With a diverse range of delectable scents and attractive designs available, these air fresheners are not just mere accessories for your car, but rather an essential tool to improve the overall ambiance and provide a pleasant driving experience.
One key reason behind the efficiency of car air fresheners in tackling bad smells can be attributed to the powerful neutralizing agents they contain. These agents work effectively by trapping and eliminating odor-causing particles, thus purifying the air inside your car. By replacing the foul smells with refreshing fragrances, car air fresheners enable you to create a more inviting and enjoyable environment for you and your passengers.
Furthermore, advancements in technology have revolutionized the effectiveness of car air fresheners. Modern varieties encompass a range of types, such as vent clips, gel-based products, and hanging air fresheners, catering to individual preferences for fragrance release and intensity. These improved designs provide a prolonged scent experience, ensuring that the desired aroma remains consistent and long-lasting.
The use of car air fresheners is particularly beneficial for drivers who frequently embark on long journeys or for those who spend an extended amount of time inside their vehicles. Hopefully all of the above tips can keep your car smelling fresh!
Why Your Car Smells Like Vinegar
There are several reasons why you may notice your car ac smells in general or notice a sour smell that smells like vinegar in your vehicle. There are a few possible reasons…
Mold And Mildew
According to Infiniti, Mold and mildew are common culprits responsible for the unpleasant vinegar smells some people experience in their cars. These fungal growths flourish in damp and humid environments and can easily establish themselves in the interior of vehicles exposed to excessive moisture.
Numerous factors contribute to the growth of mold and mildew in cars. Leaky sunroofs, faulty door seals, or even spills that aren’t properly cleaned up can create the dampness required for these fungi to thrive. Additionally, warm weather and poor ventilation can exacerbate the problem, as these conditions hasten the development of mold growth and mildew.
Additionally, your car vents will smell musty. If your car air conditioning is emitting a vinegary odor, turn it off.
A mold-induced smell in the cabin filter vents is likely to be the cause of the vinegar smell after the air conditioner is turned off. As dust accumulates in air vents throughout the year, mold growth can occur.
Nevertheless, if the musty smell lingers after you turn off the car air conditioner, your AC system might be malfunctioning, and your cabin air filter needs to be cleaned.
There can be a strong vinegar like smell in your car if you have food remnants in your vehicle. The food in your car may rot (since it’s organic material) after being left unattended for a long time, releasing acidic compounds and causing a vinegar-like odor as it decomposes.
You can eliminate the bad smells in your car by searching your floorboard, underneath the seats, cargo nets, and other storage areas to locate the food. To avoid direct contact with spoilt food, it is recommended that you wear gloves while cleaning any time your car ac smells.
Engine Fluid Leaks
Something acidic is usually present in a car when there is an unpleasant smell. A lot of car batteries are acidic, which is why you should check them first. Hydrogen Sulfide emissions result from battery acid being volatile and containing sulfuric acid, which is similar to rotten eggs or vinegar. The catalytic converter, in particular, can leak sulfur gas if worn or poorly connected. If your car’s battery leaks, you’ll need to replace it.
Gas leaks can also cause an unpleasant odor that smells like vinegar. Vehicles occasionally develop holes in their fuel lines, despite the fact that it happens very rarely. In such instances, foul odors persist in the car’s air conditioner, which is caused by the strong smell of gas.
Drivers and passengers are not only repulsed by the smell of gasoline, but they are also at risk. In the event of a battery acid leak in your car, you should have a mechanic check it out.
Vinegar Smell From Cleaning
In certain instances, the primary culprit behind the foul smell in your car could be vinegar. In particular, white vinegar is a frequently found item in many households due to its versatility and wide range of applications, especially in the realm of cleaning and pest control. This inexpensive and eco-friendly solution is known to be an effective, natural cockroach deterrent, which makes it a popular choice among homeowners for keeping their vehicles pest-free.
However, accidents can happen, and an accidental spillage of white vinegar might lead to a strong, unpleasant odor pervading your car’s interior.
Decaying Organic Material in Car
Decaying organic matter, such as accumulated leaves or a dead animal like squirrels or lizards, is another likely culprit for the unpleasant car smell. These organic materials can find their way into different parts of your car, including the air conditioning system, and as they decompose over time, they emit a strong, unpleasant smell. This “vinegar smell” becomes more noticeable when you turn on the air conditioner, as the system circulates air through the car’s cabin, effectively spreading the scent throughout the interior.
The decay process involves a series of biological and chemical reactions that break down the organic material, releasing various gases, such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia. These gases give off a foul odor, which can sometimes smell like vinegar.
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Grainne Foley is a wife and mother of 2 great kids. During her 5 years of full time RV travel, Grainne learned to become very efficient at household chores, in order to make time for family adventures. Now, back in a house, she has continued to create tools and techniques to help others lighten the load of household organization and cleaning.