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Clean Car Interiors To Remove Pet Odor And Hair

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Clean Car Interiors To Remove Pet Odor And Hair


As a pet owner, you know the joys of having a furry companion, but dealing with pet hair and odors in your car can be a real challenge. Whether you’re taking your dog to the park or your cat to the vet, the fur and smells they leave behind can quickly accumulate, making your car feel less than fresh. Fear not, for I have compiled a comprehensive guide to help you clean your car’s interior and banish those pesky pet odors and hairs for good.

Understanding the Problem

Before we dive into the solutions, it’s essential to understand the root causes of pet odor and hair buildup in your car’s interior:

  1. Pet Dander: Pet dander, which consists of tiny flakes of skin shed by animals, is a significant contributor to pet odor.
  2. Urine and Feces: Accidents can happen, and if not cleaned properly, urine and feces can leave behind persistent and unpleasant odors.
  3. Pet Saliva and Sweat: Your pet’s saliva and sweat can also contribute to unpleasant smells, especially if they lick or pant excessively in your car.
  4. Pet Fur and Hair: Shedding is a natural process for most pets, and their fur and hair can quickly accumulate in your car’s upholstery, carpets, and crevices.

Once you understand the sources of these odors and hair, you can better tackle the problem and restore your car’s fresh and clean interior.

Preparing for the Clean-Up

Before starting the cleaning process, gather the necessary supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Vacuum cleaner with attachments
  • Lint roller or sticky tape
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Enzymatic cleaner (for removing biological stains and odors)
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • Garbage bags or containers for disposing of pet hair and debris

Having the right tools and supplies on hand will make the cleaning process more efficient and effective.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Now that you’ve assembled your cleaning arsenal, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Follow these steps for a thorough clean-up:

1. Vacuum the Interior

Start by vacuuming the entire interior of your car, including the seats, carpets, and floor mats. Use the appropriate attachments to reach tight spaces, crevices, and corners where pet hair and dander can accumulate. Pay special attention to the areas where your pet frequently sits or lies down.

2. Remove Stubborn Hair

After vacuuming, use a lint roller or sticky tape to remove any remaining pet hair from the upholstery, headliner, and other surfaces. This step is especially important for light-colored interiors, where pet hair is more visible.

3. Clean Upholstery and Carpets

Next, focus on cleaning the upholstery and carpets. Use an upholstery cleaner specifically designed for pet stains and odors. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage.

For stubborn stains and odors, consider using an enzymatic cleaner. These cleaners contain enzymes that break down organic matter, making them effective against pet urine, feces, and other biological stains.

4. Deodorize with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are two powerful and natural deodorizers that can help eliminate lingering pet odors. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the upholstery, carpets, and floor mats, and let it sit for several hours or overnight. The baking soda will absorb odors and moisture.

After the baking soda has had time to work its magic, vacuum it up thoroughly. Then, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and mist the interior surfaces, including the upholstery and carpets. The vinegar will help neutralize any remaining odors.

5. Add a Fresh Scent (Optional)

If you prefer a subtle, pleasant scent in your car, consider adding a few drops of essential oils to a spray bottle filled with water. Lavender, lemon, or eucalyptus oils are excellent options for their fresh and invigorating aromas. Lightly mist the interior surfaces with the scented water.

Maintaining a Clean and Fresh Car Interior

Keeping your car’s interior clean and free of pet odors and hair is an ongoing process. Here are some tips to help you maintain a fresh and welcoming environment:

  • Brush your pet regularly to reduce shedding and minimize the amount of hair in your car.
  • Use seat covers or blankets to protect your upholstery from pet hair and stains.
  • Keep a small trash can or bag in your car to dispose of pet hair and debris promptly.
  • Consider investing in a portable vacuum cleaner specifically designed for car use, making it easier to clean up hair and crumbs on the go.
  • Schedule regular deep cleaning sessions, depending on how frequently your pet rides in your car.

By following these steps and incorporating regular maintenance into your routine, you can enjoy a clean and fresh car interior, free from the pesky pet odors and hair that can detract from the driving experience.


Owning a pet is a joy, but dealing with the mess they can leave behind in your car doesn’t have to be a headache. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle pet odors and hair, restoring your car’s interior to a fresh and welcoming state. Remember, with the right tools, techniques, and a little elbow grease, you can banish those lingering pet smells and enjoy a clean and comfortable ride with your furry friend by your side.

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