DIY

Freshen Your Car Easily With Ordinary Tea Bags

by Rebecca Endicott
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Fuji Film USA

Becca is a writer and aspirational dog owner living in NYC.

It’s a well-documented fact that everybody loves that “new car smell.”

There’s something about sliding behind the wheel of a new car and breathing in air that smells clean, fresh, and full of possibilities.

Of course, no new car smell lasts forever.

No matter how tidy you try to keep things, every car eventually starts to smell like spilled coffee, takeout, and certain wet dogs who may have recently enjoyed a dip in the pool.

When your car starts to smell particularly rank, most of us turn to the same old solutions: Air-freshening sprays and little pine trees for the rearview mirror.

But it may be time to drop the aerosol spray in favor of an all-natural, DIY solution to your stinky car woes.

To pull off this clever car hack, you’ll just need two ingredients: A messy car and a boxful of your favorite tea!

Read on to learn how the solution works!

Thumbnail Photo Credit: Facebook/ East Heights UMC

We all know how challenging it can be to remove certain smells from your upholstery.

If you have a pooch in your life, wet dog and dog fur are usually at the top of the list.

Meanwhile, parents and grandparents are probably well-acquainted with the pungent mixture of ground-up snack crackers and hidden apple cores rotting in the corners.

Even if neither of these situations apply, your car may have acquired a slight smell from picking up food or taking garbage to the dump.

The classic solution is hanging a little Christmas tree on the mirror and hoping that the smell will disappear.

This tactic works really well for giving your car a refreshing smell if it just needs a little pick-me-up, but it doesn’t tackle the underlying cause.

For a really stinky car, this just masks the deeper issue briefly.

That’s where tea bags come into the equation.

Try swapping out (or augmenting) traditional air fresheners with plain old tea bags.

This solution should do a more effective job of tackling some of the deeper odor.

That’s because tea bags are absorbent and are especially good at absorbing ambient moisture in stinky corners of the car.

The dried leaves and bag are designed to pull water into the leaves to hydrate and reinvigorate them.

In a smelly car, that might mean pulling much-needed moisture away from smell-causing bacteria that need water and humidity to thrive.

In addition to robbing smelly bacteria of their main food source, tea bags have another advantage.

Dry tea is generally strong-smelling, as it’s a concentrated form of the tea we drink.

As moisture from the car enters the leaves, they’ll start to release more and more of their scent and essential oils, which will help perfume the car while killing the odor at the source.

Of course, in order for the tea bag method to work, you need to tidy up your car as much as possible.

Scour corners for lost fistfuls of cheerios and old popsicle sticks, and take your car to be detailed and vacuumed thoroughly.

This will prevent bad odors from recurring or worsening due to forgotten sources.

Scatter the tea bags throughout the front and back of the car. You can use fresh bags or used, though fresh may be more effective.

Focus especially on placing them under the seats, in the trunk, and possibly in cupholders and seat pockets, as well.

Pick a tea with a strong smell that will permeate throughout the car. We recommend options like Earl Grey, Chai, and Lapsang Souchong.

Have you ever tried this simple DIY solution? Let us know how it worked for you in the comments, and don’t forget to SHARE with anyone who deserves a car spruce-up!