Cars tend to have low air quality due to driving in an environment of exhaust and other fumes, dust, etc. Is there anything that will help with this?

4 Answers 4


Many modern vehicles have a cabin air filter in the heating/ac system that can be replaced. These are often out of the way, so many people don't even realize that they have them. You can also scent this filter, or add a dryer sheet for scent.

  • That would definitely help with dust. Probably not as much for fumes, unless the air filter had activated charcoal in it (and was changed very often).
    – user13683
    Apr 30, 2016 at 13:52
  • Absolutely. I replaced the cabin air filter in a Subaru. The fans now flow air much stronger and the AC is much more effective. I now do this with every car I buy. Scenting the filter is an interesting idea.
    – timbo
    Apr 30, 2016 at 23:46
  • Charcoal filters are available as an option for at least some vehicles.
    – Hobbes
    Jul 8, 2020 at 11:42

A few good tricks that use to deal with odors in a vehicle.

For cloth seats and carpeting: Spray bottle with vinegar and spray until seats and carpeting are moist. Then allow vehicle to sit in full sunlight. When dry everything will smell nice.

Floor mats: Use a power washer with water and one cup of vinegar.

The reason this works is because vinegar is a powerful anti-bacterial and disinfectant which most odor causing don't develop resistance to because of its acidity. Most life lives in a relatively narrow pH range. Of course there are exception to this rule (some deep deep underwater life ...OMG)

  • Watch out for cyanobacteria! I use cider vinegar on my hair sometimes - removes oils and softens it. I suppose that white vinegar would completely evaporate and dissipate in strong sunlight, which is also mildly antibacterial and breaks up odor causing molecules. All we need now is a thunderstorm for some ions... : )
    – user13683
    Apr 30, 2016 at 13:49

Have you considered changing your air filter over to a different filter? It sounds like the air isn't being filtered in your vehicle very well.

Vinegar sprays also work well with window residue - but avoid lemon!


Yes. An inexpensive ionizer that plugs in to the lighter socket will:

  • remove fumes and dust from the air
  • provide ions which increase alertness

Should only cost as much as dinner out and could save your life. After a year or so the metal surfaces that emit ions might get corroded and so can be scraped with the edge of a sharp knife to make them sharp and shiny again. These devices are widely available.

Similar devices can be used at home to remove cooking smells, pet odors, and make the air feel fresher. (These must be cleaned occasionally.)

  • provide ions? what does that mean? isnt that what those power bracelets "do"?
    – n00b
    Nov 11, 2016 at 14:39

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