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How To Get The Bad Smell Out Of Car AC Vent System DIY

Odor problems in your cars ac system are easy to remove with ac car interior cleaners. The best way to remove your cars interior ac odor is to use a cleaner that uses enzymes. Enzymes in cleaners kill odors at the source and completely kill the smelly substance material and therefore stopping the a bad smell. Do not use common household cleaners as most do not have enzymes and the majority are just heavily perfumed which only masks the smell.
remove car smells from ac

How To Remove Smells From Your Cars A/C Vent System

Cigarette smoke is probably the hardest of the smells to remove from your cars ac vents. The smoke from cigarettes gets into everything within your cars interior. You can remove the tobacco stench by shampooing the carpets, the upholstery and the headliner using an enzyme based cleaning product. After cleaning these areas of your car it is best to use an Odor Neutralizer with enzymes to finish the job and remove smoke smell for good.

Does your vehicle need a new Cabin Air Filter? Find it and replace it yourself!

If the bad smell is coming directly out of the cars air conditioning (A/C) system then there are a few methods to try. The air that comes into your car through the interior ac vents goes past the cars evaporator. Water condenses around the coils on the evaporator and the moisture on the evaporator makes it easy for harmful air particles, dust, dirt, pollen, spores and germs to enter your cars interior. These air particles form harmful and smelly substances such as bacteria, mites, and fungus.

Dirty Cabin Air Filter

Removing and replacing a dirty cabin air filter on your car can stop that bad smell

Newer cars have an air filter inside the cabin of the car that removes bad smells from the air that comes into the car. You can look in your owners manual to find out if your car had a removable air filter installed. If your car has an air filter, then remove and replace it with one that your car manufacturer recommends. Sometimes after replacing the dirty air filter that horrible smell can still be present. If the smell remains you can get your car an A/C and heating system cleaning. These A/C System Cleaners are sprayed into the exterior air intake vents (located just underneath the windshield wipers) and the inside the cars vents. These cleaners kill odors that are actually inside your cars ac vent system.

First turn on the ac to full, make sure the “recirculate” button is not on, spray a large amount of cleaner with odor killing enzymes into the EXTERIOR air intakes that are located just below the windshield wipers, let the car run for about 10 minutes with the ac on, after 10 minutes turn off ac and spray the cleaner into the ac vents on the INSIDE of your car. After doing all this, let the car sit for 20 minutes turned off and windows rolled up. Then repeat if the smell is still in the car. By doing this you are killing the bacteria or mold in the car ac vent ducts and also the evaporator mold that may be present.

ac vent cleaner odor spray for car

A/C Vent Odor Cleaner Spray For Your Car

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13 thoughts on “How To Get The Bad Smell Out Of Car AC Vent System DIY”

  1. “CARS”? In most of the instances in your article, you should have used an apostrophe in that word; like this: “HOW TO CLEAN THE CAR’S AC VENT SYSTEM”

  2. I have a bad smell coming out of the cars vents and when I removed the in cab air filter I found a mouse nest on top of the filter. What would be the best cleaner to use to rid the smell from the venting system

  3. I had my car develop a SUDDEN smell in cabin when I put the air on (not air conditioner), it was worse when was on cold.
    The smell started after I had the car hand washed.
    As the problem came suddenly I felt it was connected to the people in the car wash, so far it seems likely they sprayed water into the cat converter and screwed it up.
    The fact that it gets slightly better on heat suggests it is not heater core.
    Not sure how to resolve this, maybe a long journey to evaporate water and hopefully dry out cat converter, I could replace exhaust but still not sure of the source.

  4. My Toyota Corolla 2015 started doin this from day 1, I would get this pungent smell after my car set in the garage for a few hours. The smell would last for just about 15sec when first starting my car up out of the garage at first. The smell gradually lasted longer and longer…up to 4 full min now, only 2 summers of a brand new car. When I was in a/c school a simple solution of 50/50 bleach and water sprayed on the evaporator would fix the smell and prevent it from coming back. I haven’t did this due to it still under warranty. I did take it to the dealer and the sprayed a foam up the condensate drain line that they say will fix it but I just got that done today and haven’t checked it out yet.

  5. DIY Project Help Tips

    Linda McCormack,
    Try them and see. The one with active enzymes seems to always do the trick as it kills any bacteria or mold that could be causing the manure smell in your car vents.

  6. I have a ” manure ” smell that comes out of my vents.
    Do you think that these products will help?

  7. DIY Project Help Tips

    Always try using not only a product that covers the odor but use an odor remover. You may have not changed your cars AC filter for awhile. Try changing that and see if it helps. Also there may be some mold or other stuff near where the air is pulled in from outside. Usually right below windshield. Check to be sure it is clean and no gunk is trapped near the air entrance.

  8. Most air conditioner cleaners only last a few weeks in my car (astra). Is there no more permanent way to fix this obvious design fault in air conditioning systems?

  9. I have looked all over for this or a similar product at Kmart, Walmart, automotive stores, etc., and can’t find it anywhere. Any suggestions where I can get this? Thanks!

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