How to Get Rid of a New Car Smell

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Some people love the smell of a new car, and others can't wait to get rid of that distinct aroma. It turns out the latter group is wiser as the smell in a new car is due a mix of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that aren't great for your health. Many new cars now have less off-gassing, but if yours isn't one of them, here's how to make the odor disappear faster.

  • Air out your car as much as possible. If you can, keep the windows cracked when you're not driving. Roll them down when you're behind the wheel and make sure your vents are set to "fresh air" rather than "recirculate."

  • Do more to filter the air in your car. Add an activated carbon pre-filter to your car's air filter, just like people do with their home purifiers (see Resources). You can cut the pre-filter to fit, and be sure to change it every couple of months. The new car smell may take up to 6 months to dissipate.

  • Use an air freshener such as Febreze spray or Fresh Wave, if you're partial to natural ingredients such as extracts of clove, cedarwood and pine needle (see Resources). These will help disguise the new car odor while you drive.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you research a new car, find out about the amount of off-gassing compared to other cars.
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