Do you pretend to be in a hurry to avoid picking a coworker because your car smells? Odors are a part of our lives, but they can be embarrassing and uncomfortable in a car. Many working people spend hours in vehicles and want their automobile to have a refreshing smell. Getting the best car air freshener will make your car inviting and fun to ride in. But choosing a quality car scent is not as easy as it sounds.
That is exactly why you need to read car air freshener reviews. In this article, we review seven of the top car air fresheners that deliver value for money. You will also learn the features and specifications to look for in a car air freshener. We also discuss the types of air fresheners and how to use them. Read on to learn more about buying a quality scent for your car.
Best Car Air Freshener Reviews (Editors’ Picks)
1. Febreze Car Air Freshener
This car air freshener from Febreze features the company’s proprietary Odor Clear Technology. The device vacuums odor from your car interior. It replaces it with a sweet, fresh scent that can last up to 30 days. The air freshener comes in a package that attaches to your air vents.
It cleans out the bad smell and gives off a fresh smell as your air vents work. There is a scent dial that allows you to regulate the amount of fragrance the device releases. This ensures that you get the ideal amount of freshness for optimal comfort while driving your car.
Febreze car air freshener is available in different scents including linen and sky. Installation is fast and easy and the product is receiving good reviews online.
While the scent is excellent, you want to minimize the interval of release as it can become overwhelming. To enjoy this product, set the control to release low concentrations.
2. MOSO NATURAL Air Purifying Bag
This product uses the natural neutralizing powers of charcoal to absorb unpleasant odors from your car. It comes in a small bag that contains activated bamboo charcoal that can cover 90 square feet.
This nontoxic charcoal deodorizer contains no chemicals or fragrances. It does not release any scents but absorbs the bad odor and pollutants in your space to improve freshness.
The manufacturer of this product claims it can prevent mold, mildew, and bacteria. It does this by absorbing excess moisture in the air, reducing the ability of the microorganisms to breed and multiply.
The product can deliver up to two years of continuous use. However, you need to reactivate the charcoal every month by placing it in the sun for at least one hour.
Since it is portable, you can use it in the car and home. After two years, the ashes can go directly into the environment as manure/fertilizer.
3. QBUC Car Air Freshener Solar Energy Rotating Cologne Car Aromatherapy Diffuser
This car air freshener combines a futuristic design with practicality. It is an aromatherapy diffuser but uses solar technology for energy conservation and environmental friendliness. The device releases a delightful Cologne scent that refreshes your car with a natural aroma.
The scent ring is free of toxic materials and does not include water and alcohol. Each scent ring can provide up to a month of freshness before the aroma weakens.
QBUC’s car air freshener has a unique design. The product requires solar power to work. Once the photoelectric panel on the surface glimpses sunlight, it rotates the scent ring, diffusing the fresh aroma all over your space.
The product is suitable for cars, homes, offices, and any other place where you can get sunshine. If the product doesn’t deliver as promised, the company claims you can ask for a refund.
4. RoyAroma 2PCS 30mm Car Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser
Another aromatherapy diffuser, this product comes with two diffuser lockets and 12 felt pads. It releases scents of your preferred aromatic essential oils.
RoyAroma essential oil diffuser is not just an air freshener. You can use it to brighten your mood, improve sleep and get every other benefits of aromatherapy. The lockets even feature beautiful Tree of Life patterns.
The 22mm felt pads are long-lasting and keep your car smelling nice while helping you to de-stress and relax. All you need to do is infuse the felt with your favorite essential oil.
Using the RoyAroma car aromatherapy kit is simple. Take one of the felt pads and apply a few drops of essential oil. Put the felt pad in the car locket and slip onto an air vent. Sit back and enjoy the soothing aroma of the essential oil. You can also remove the locket and use in the home or the office.
5. PURGGO Car Air Freshener
This air freshener contains porous bamboo charcoal which acts as an active air filter. The charcoal attracts and absorbs bad odor, allergens, bacteria, and other contaminants in the air. It contains no plastic, harmful chemicals, or fragrance, making it suitable for adults, children, and pets. People who are asthmatic, allergic, and or have respiratory issues can also use it.
PURGGO car air freshener uses sustainable manufacturing practices. It comprises bamboo and hemp which are renewable natural resources. The air freshener can last up to 365 days, making it one of the longest lasting products on the market.
You have to recharge it in the sun to keep the bamboo and charcoal active. At the end of its useful life, the product can go into your garden or pot plants as a natural fertilizer. Remember that this product does not have a fragrance; it only removes odors from your car.
6. Custom Car Vent Clip Cylindrical Essential Oil
If you are a fan of aromatherapy, you will love this beautiful product. It comes with two custom cylindrical essential oil diffusers with clips that attach to your car vent.
The unique design makes it portable and easy to use. It features an aroma control mechanism that allows you to adjust the concentration of the aroma in your space.
These essential oil diffusers come with 12 unscented refill sticks. Apply your favorite essential oil on the stick and put it in the cylinder. The stick will release the fragrance gradually, overpowering the unpleasant odors in your car so you can drive in comfort.
This product is designed for varieties of locations. The clips are wrapped with silicone to strengthen the grip and prevent scratches on the car vent. You can also use the diffusers in the office, bedroom, kitchen, and many other places.
7. MEGUIAR’S G16402 Whole Air Re-Fresher Odor Eliminator Mist
Meguiar is a prominent name in car care products and its air re-freshener works as advertised. This product is ideal for removing stubborn, persistent odors that make it impossible to give friends and strangers a ride.
The product works at the molecular level to eliminate odors from your space permanently. It can remove the odor of cigarette smoke, wet dog, and other unappealing smells from your car.
The G16402 requires a single use to refresh your car. Spray it once in every corner of your vehicle to transform it into a pleasant smelling ride. The aerosol-based formulation allows the scent to reach every nook and cranny of your vehicle. You can even use it at home.
To get the best results, read the instruction before using this product. After application, close the doors for 10-15 minutes and then open and air out for another 10-15 minutes.
Best Car Air Fresheners Comparison Chart
Febreze Car Air Freshener
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MOSO NATURAL Air Purifying Bag
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QBUC Car Air Freshener Solar Energy Rotating Cologne Car Aromatherapy Diffuser
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RoyAroma 2PCS 30mm Car Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser
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PURGGO Car Air Freshener
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Custom Car Vent Clip Cylindrical Essential Oil
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MEGUIAR’S G16402 Whole Air Re-Fresher Odor Eliminator Mist
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What Is a Car Air Freshener?
A car air freshener keeps your vehicle smelling pleasant. Like home deodorizers, car air fresheners keep bad smells out of your ride so you can drive in comfort.
Car air fresheners can be scented or unscented. The scented type work by releasing a nice smell that gets rid of the unpleasant odor in your car. There are odor eliminator types which often have no aroma. They only remove the odor in your vehicle but may not add a fragrance.
Most odor eliminator car air fresheners use an active agent such as bamboo charcoal to remove bad smell. They also last longer, although their prices are higher.
Car air fresheners come in various shapes, designs, and sizes. The traditional types feature a rope for hanging on the rearview mirror. Some are designed to be attached to the dashboard or dropping in the door compartment. Others come with clips for attachment to the air vents.
Regardless of the type you choose, it is important for the product to be capable of eliminating odors from your car.
Car Air Freshener Buying Guide
If you are reading this, you probably want to remove a not-so-pleasant smell from your car. However, choosing the right air freshener for your vehicle is not always easy. Some scents can suffocate and health issues may even rule out the use of air diffusers.
This buying guide will show you the important factors to consider when shopping for an air freshener and more.
8 Important Considerations When Buying a Car Air Freshener
Before choosing an air freshener for your car, consider:
Scented or Odor Eliminator
Do you want to eliminate an odor or give your vehicle a kick of fresh air? Perfumed products will work fine if you are only looking to add a sweet scent to your car. If you are battling a strong odor like that of cigarette smoke, an odor eliminator is your best bet.
For best results, you can combine both types so that your car will smell nice after removing the displeasing odor.
Depending on your state of residence, it may be legally impossible to use certain types of car air fresheners. In states with anti-windshield obstruction laws, traffic laws may not allow you to use hanging-type car air fresheners. In many places, traffic officers will penalize you if they find air fresheners on your rearview mirror.
If you can’t buy the hanging type, the car vent air fresheners are also effective, although some require you to use the ventilator for circulation. There are several scent diffuser air fresheners that will also make your ride smell great.
Whatever you do, choose a product compatible with your car and the road transport laws in your area.
If you are choosing a scented air freshener, it is important to buy one with an appropriate fragrance. Consider the people who share the vehicle with you such as family members and colleagues. You want a scent that is gentle on the nose, not overpowering or irritating.
Most people can tolerate natural scents such as lavender, grass, and mint. If you and your family members have any health issue that a fragrance can trigger, check that the product doesn’t contain such substances.
Car Use Habits
You will need a powerful air freshener if you use your car to haul fresh produce every time. If you smoke in the car or have other habits that leave the vehicle smelling badly, an odor remover is your best choice.
A small light-scented air freshener should keep the air fresh if you use a compact car. If your vehicle is big, such as a minivan or SUV, consider getting something with a stronger aroma. That will ensure every part of your ride has an inviting smell.
Long-lasting car air fresheners can save time and money and keep your car smelling nice always. However, the longevity is often related to the price and design.
Aerosols and scent rings weaken quickly. Gels and oil-based air fresheners last longer. You can also use types that allow you to refill the air diffuser with an essential oil of choice.
When in doubt, ask for the life span and other related information before you buy a car air freshener. Some people like to change the scent in their car every season. If you do this, get a product that keeps your car fresh until the next season.
Few people say this, but the ingredients in air fresheners can affect your health. Check the active agent in the product before you buy.
Some manufactures pack their air fresheners with toxic but sweet-smelling substances. These products may be cheaper and last longer, but they can expose you to harmful chemicals.
If possible, go for products with natural-based fragrances. Check that the item is safe for pets, kids, pregnant women, and other living things. That way, you get a fresh car without jeopardizing your health.
Car air fresheners can retail for as low as $1 to over $50 depending on the manufacturer, design, and other factors. However, buying the most expensive doesn’t mean it will last long. Go for the best product you can afford and read customer reviews to be sure it works.
7 Valuable Car Air Freshener Features and Specifications
Here is a list of the features and specifications to look for in a car air freshener:
This refers to the ingredients used to make the air freshener. You want to buy a product formulated from natural or non-toxic substances.
Manufacturers often state the longevity of the product on the package. This will show you how long the air fresher will last until you need to buy a replacement.
If you don’t follow the correct usage instructions, your car may still have a bad smell. The usage instructions are important because it allows you to get value for money. Following the manufacturer’s direction will also prevent accidents such as spraying on sensitive parts of your vehicle and body.
Car air fresheners use varieties of release mechanisms. The old types deliver the scent via a printed paper. Sophisticated modern air fresheners can be aerosol-based or use aromatherapy.
Some come in gel form and others are in liquid form. This may not be listed on the package but it is better to know before buying.
Many car air fresheners come with a feature that allows you to control the release of the scent. This function provides comfort and convenience and will save you money.
You can adjust the concentration for different occasions. For example, you can reduce the intensity when a sensitive person is in the car or while passing through a smelly area.
If you are buying a charcoal-based air freshener, it will often come in a bag. Check that the bag has an attachment cord. The cord allows you to mount the bag at the back of your seat.
Air vent products often feature clips. You want to make sure the clip provides a secure grip and doesn’t scratch the vents.
Hanging types also have cords to attach them to your rearview mirror. Make sure the cord is made from a durable material, preferably washable.
Warranty and Refund Policy
Many car air freshener manufacturers offer generous warranties and refund policies to boost buyer confidence in their products. It is better to choose a product you can return in case the performance is unsatisfactory.
Perfumed Air Freshener or Odor Eliminator?
Should you choose a perfumed air freshener or an odor eliminator? Let’s look at the two.
Perfumed Air Freshener
This is the most common product people use to keep their cars smelling fresh. Perfumed air fresheners come with a fragrance.
The smell can be released through evaporation, diffusion, and other methods. These products are also far more affordable because of their simple design and availability.
That said, perfumes may not be the best solution for everybody. If you react to certain odors, select a perfumed air freshener carefully. Some of these products have toxic chemicals that can trigger or aggravate respiratory issues such as asthma and allergic reactions.
If your kid, partner, friends, or pets are sensitive to perfumes, consider non-perfumed or scented air fresheners in your car. Otherwise, these products provide the easiest and most affordable way to freshen up your ride.
An alternative to perfumed air fresheners are aromatherapy-based products. These often come with diffusers. You will select a preferred essential oil and apply it to a release mechanism.
The device will then diffuse the essential oil into your car gradually. This provides a nice smell and soothing atmosphere without the downside of synthetic fragrances.
Odor eliminators remove bad smells from your vehicle. They may or may not leave a scent after getting rid of the unpleasant smell. These products are designed specifically for strong, stubborn odors that perfumed air fresheners can’t handle.
Most odor eliminators absorb the air pollutants, leaving your car odor-free. Others like the Meguiar product reviewed above add a pleasant aroma. But charcoal-based odor eliminators have no scent.
The only time an odor eliminator is better than a perfumed air freshener is when health concerns makes the latter unadvisable. You can use the odor remover if the smell is too overpowering for perfumed products.
Odor eliminators can remove smells of rotten food, smelly shoes, cigarette, and other persistent smells. However, many of them are slow-acting and require regular recharging in the sun. This is important for the active charcoal-based odor eliminators.
If you want your car to be free of unfriendly smells, an odor eliminator will serve you well. However, most people want to rid their rides of bad odors and enjoy the freshness of natural scents. In that case, find a suitable scented air freshener and combine with the odor remover.
What are the Types of Car Air Fresheners?
Which should you choose from of the many types of car air fresheners out there? You can select from the hanging, car vent clip, aerosol, diffuser, and gel types.
5 Types of Car Air Fresheners
Hanging Car Air Freshener
The hanging car air freshener is practical and affordable. All you need do is hang it on your rear view mirror and the scent circulates through the vehicle as you drive. However, the scent often weakens after a short period.
Traffic rules may also prevent you from using them in some states. Hanging car air fresheners are excellent if local laws permit and they don’t obstruct your view while driving.
Car Vent Clip
These car air fresheners have a clip for mounting them on the air conditioner vents. They are practical, portable, and diffuse their scent as the climate control system recirculates the air. However, the air droplets in these products don’t last long.
Every part of your car will smell nice. However, you may need to buy the air freshener frequently to keep foul odors away.
Aerosol Car Air Freshener
These are one of the oldest car air fresheners on the market. Rather than hang them to a part of your vehicle, you spray. Aerosol air fresheners are fast acting and ideal for localized odor control.
The problem with aerosol, however, is that they don’t circulate evenly throughout the vehicle. Additionally, the scent evaporates quickly once you open the doors and windows.
Aerosols are ideal for delivering a faint smell in your car. If you want the fragrance to linger, you may need to go for something with more sticking power.
Diffusers use aromatherapy to surround your car interior with nice aromas. The devices often come with a pad or stick where you apply an essential oil.
Some diffusers use the car lighter to release their scent at intervals. Others may come with clips, cords, or suction devices for attachment to your vehicle.
Diffusers are excellent because most of them use natural essential oils. However, they can be pricey and need frequent refills.
Gel Car Air Fresheners
Gel-based car air fresheners are easy to use and long-lasting. You can fix them on your dashboard, a door pocket, or anywhere you like.
Gel air fresheners can also deliver powerful scents evenly around your car. The only problem is that you can’t choose the ingredients like a diffuser.
6 Ways to Make Your Car Smell Good
Here are useful tips to keep your car smelling nice always:
Keep Your Car Clean
The simplest and most cost-effective way to make your car smell nice it to keep it clean. Remove any junk that can breed germs and contaminants from the vehicle. A thorough wipe with soap and water will do the trick.
If you have leather car seats, consider getting the best car leather conditioner to keep your interior in top shape. You can also buy products that will remove nicotine, coffee stains, and other odor-causing impurities from your car.
Besides wiping the dash, doors, and other compartments, you also want to wash your floor mats. If you enjoy snacking while driving, food particles can drop on the floor mats.
Over time, the food will decay and make the car smell horrible. If you can’t stop dropping organic matter in your vehicle, try to clean it out more often.
Change You Cabin Filter
Your car may smell if it has a dirty or clogged cabin filter. For vehicles that come with this air control feature, it is important to check the filter regularly. If the filter is dirty, worn, or clogged, change it to improve the air quality of your car. A good cabin filter can also prevent the circulation of foul air.
Buy a Car Air Freshener
If a regular cleanup doesn’t eliminate the foul smell in your ride, consider investing in a quality, long-lasting air freshener. You can choose from varieties of products based on your situation and preferences.
Apply Baking Powder
Baking powder is an effective home remedy for removing unpleasant odors. The powder absorbs bad odors, removing pollutants from your vehicle and leaving a fresh smell. However, you will probably need a dedicated odor eliminator if you are dealing with a strong, pungent smell.
Run the Air Conditioner
Without frequent use, your air conditioner can accumulate moisture from the condensation process. Normally, the water drains while the AC is working. When you don’t use the climate control system, the water collects.
Stagnant water is prime real estate for bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms. Run your car AC unit for 10-minute intervals at least every two weeks to remove any moisture buildup.
Use an Odor Eliminator
If a car air freshener cannot remove the smell, get an odor eliminator. While this product may be slow acting, odor eliminators can remove all the contaminants and irritants in your vehicle.
You may need to spend more on odor neutralizers but they work. They can also make your air freshener more effective.
Meanwhile, check out our in-depth car window cleaner reviews to learn more about how to give your vehicle a lasting shine.
Everything You Need to Know About Car Air Fresheners
Of course there are many questions that come to mind when you think about car air fresheners but we believe the 2 are the ones most seek answers to first.
How Do Car Air Fresheners Work?
Car air fresheners work either by covering up bad odors or reducing our sensitivity to the foul smell. Car air fresheners release substances that add a fragrance to the air molecules in the car. This will overpower the bad smell in the car, replacing it with a nicer scent.
The air freshener can also have a scent and a chemical that numbs your nose to the unpleasant smell. They achieve this by binding to the molecules causing the bad odor to neutralize them. That way, the odious smell will become more tolerable for the car occupants.
Odor eliminators absorb the molecules causing the odor rather than replace it with a more pleasant smell. In some cases, the odor neutralizer will also be scented. So don’t be surprised if you buy an odor eliminator but smell nothing.
Are Car Air Fresheners Toxic?
Moderate use of car air fresheners is safe. However, long-term exposure to air fresheners in high concentrations may pose health risks. Most car and home air fresheners are made from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
When released, VOCs can stay suspended in the air, which is why they can mask odors with a nicer scent. Excessive exposure to VOCs have been reported to cause mild and severe respiratory reactions. They can also cause headaches, itchy eyes, nausea, and liver damage.
Some car air fresheners contain formaldehyde which has been proven to be carcinogenic. In some cases, companies add phthalates into their air fresheners without listing it as an ingredient. Phthalates can cause reproductive problems in men and women and birth defects in fetuses.
Considering the number of toxic chemicals that can be in air fresheners, it is important to check the package properly before buying. Your best choice is to look for products that contain only natural ingredients. However, this is not enough as companies have been found to mislabel their products.
The most important thing is to use car air fresheners sensibly and in moderation. If you use these products sparingly, there is a very low risk of experiencing toxic reactions. However, if you are allergic to certain chemical compounds, make sure it is not present in the air freshener product you want to buy.
Meanwhile, check out our detailed car buffer buying guide if you love to polish your car to a perfect shine.
Tips for Car Air Freshener Uses
Here are general tips on how to make the best use of your car air fresheners:
How to Use a Car Air Freshener
The usage instruction of car air fresheners depends on their design and manufacturer. However, here is how to use the different types of car air fresheners:
Paper Air Fresheners
For paper air fresheners, unpack about 1cm of the product per week to release the fragrance. If you expose a large surface area, the air freshener will evaporate too quickly. Not exposing enough will release only a faint smell, which may be inadequate for a powerful odor.
Other Hanging Car Air Fresheners
Other hanging car air fresheners have a mechanism for controlling the release of the scent. Some will come with a turning control while others have a battery-powered regulator.
If your car air freshener is clipped to the vents, the rate of diffusion depends on the intensity of your ventilation control system. The air freshener will release more scents when the vents are working at high speed. At low speed, the fragrance will be faint.
Where to Place Air Freshener in a Car
Car air freshener manufacturers often instruct users to place the product out of contact with other surfaces. Transport laws may also prevent you from putting a car air freshener on certain parts of your vehicle. You may not place an air freshener on the gear stick, dashboard, and rearview mirror.
Follow the manufacturer’s usage directions and avoid placing the product on other surfaces to prevent damage.
How to Make Car Air Freshener Last Longer
Use these tips to make your car air freshener last longer:
Increase Fresh Air
Letting in fresh air will reduce the amount of stale air, contaminants, and odor-causing particles in your vehicle. This decreases the intensity of foul odors in your car. It will also reduce the amount of air freshener you need to keep the vehicle smelling nice.
Identify Odor Sources
You can also make your air freshener last longer by identifying the sources of the bad smell. If you can find the odor source, you can direct your air freshener to that area or eliminate it altogether.
Lower the Concentration
One way to make your air freshener last longer is to put in on low. We discussed how to control the release of various types of air fresheners above.
For most mild odors, low to medium setting will keep your car fresh and pleasant. When you need to control pungent smells, increase the concentration for a short period. Once the fragrance has overpowered the unwanted smell, revert to a lower setting to conserve your air freshener.
Flush the Car AC
Does your car still have a terrible musky smell after using multiple air fresheners? Your car air conditioning system might be contaminated with mildew or mold. Flushing the system with a disinfectant can improve the air quality in your car and increase air freshener longevity.
Buy Gel-Based Air Fresheners
Gel-based air fresheners last longest because of their tightly bound molecules. If longevity is important to you, gel air fresheners last long and are some of the most affordable on the market.
Meanwhile, if you are having a hard time choosing a windshield washer fluid, this comprehensive article will point you in the right direction.
FAQs and Answers
Here are frequently asked questions related to car air fresheners:
- Are car air fresheners bad for you?
No, most car air fresheners will not harm you with normal use. However, it is important to read the instructions before using air freshener products.
- Are hanging car air fresheners illegal?
The legality of hanging car air fresheners is state and country dependent. Transport laws may prohibit the use of hanging car air fresheners because they obstruct the windshield. Before buying this product, check with your local transport authorities to be sure you are not breaking rules.
- What car air freshener lasts longest?
The longevity of a car air freshener depends on factors such as the interval of diffusion and concentration. However, the gel and oil-based air fresheners often last longest because they release their scent gradually.
If you commute to and from work or run errands in your car, you will appreciate a nice smelling vehicle. Spending hours in our rides means higher amounts of contaminants that reduce air quality and cause foul odors. Getting the best car air freshener is one of the most effective ways to keep the car smelling fresh.
The problem is there are too many products on the market, making it difficult to make an informed choice. That’s why you need to read car air freshener reviews to know the best brands to choose for your situation.
This in-depth article gives you all the information you need to choose the ideal air freshener for your car. We’ve covered everything from the types, usage, to the most important features and specifications. We hope our guide helps you buy a top quality air freshener that will keep your car looking new.