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Classic red car wtih red steering wheel, red fuzzy dice in the window and white interior, source:
With a toddler and several dogs to transport, I feel like I can never get that lived-in smell out of my car. And summer heat makes it so much worse.

Does your car stink? Obviously, the first step is a thorough cleaning of the interior using a vacuum and fabric shampoo. Beyond that, however, I've discovered lots of clever budget-friendly little tricks for removing persistent odors. Try them out yourself ... and keep your vehicle smelling fresh.

1. White vinegar. Half-fill an open travel mug with vinegar and leave it in your cup holder for a day or two. Just don't forget and take a swig! Or soak a rag or piece of bread with vinegar and keep it in an open container under a front seat.

2. Coffee beans. Place a container of fresh-ground aromatic beans under your seat. Go for a good strong French roast with an odor more likely to stick around. Odds are, the delicious smell will perk you up as well. Yum.

3. Baking soda. Like vinegar, baking soda is well known for its odor-absorbing abilities. So try it in your car. Bonus: unlike vinegar, you won't have to worry about spills while you're driving. Just place an opened box under your seat.

4. Dryer sheets. Cheap and easy to transport, these suckers have a stick-around fragrance that costs pennies – a much better deal than car air fresheners. Tuck a couple sheets in the glove box and one under each seat, or use them to rub down upholstered surfaces.

5. Charcoal. Yet another all-natural option that's worth a try: Place an open bag or small box of activated charcoal under your seat and let it work its funk-erasing magic.

6. Scented candles and soaps. Love the way they smell, but don't have time to enjoy them anymore? Put them to work out in the car. Stash a few votive-sized candles under the seats and see if they help mask those unpleasant smells. Or tie small candle stubs or soap pieces up in an old sock and toss it under the seat.

7. Citrus peel. Hmm, not a bad idea ... and yet, the thought of bringing fruit peelings into the car doesn't sit right with me. I'm trying to get the trash out of my car, after all. Still, it might be worth a try – especially since it will cost absolutely nada.


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