Skip to main content

If you’ve ever stepped into your vehicle and been taken aback by a horrible smell, you’re probably wondering what to do about the stench. In the interest of better-smelling rides for everyone, here are a few TikTok hacks that will make your car smell incredible with easy maintenance or inexpensive accessories.

TikTok explains how to make a car smell good

A man smelling car components during a diesel retrofitting of a VW T5 in Germany
A man smelling car components | Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images

We’re not sure how she manages to manipulate much with her impressive two-inch-long talons, but TikTok star Jasmin Kamani made her hot Texas car smell better with wax melts and a silicone cup. To replicate her aroma hack, you’ll need a pliable, unbreakable wine tumbler and a few scented wax melts.

We found the ideal silicone cup at Silipint for around $11, and super-fragrant soy wax melts at Happy Wax for $14.95 a pack. Place the cup in your cup holder, drop in a couple of melts, and the sun will do the rest.

Another DIY car freshener to try

A TikTok car smell hack shared by PopSugar involves a couple of bottles of Better Homes and Gardens plug-in fragrance oil and a small travel-size spray bottle. Pour both bottles of oil into the spray bottle, and use it to freshen your car’s interior aroma. The oils shown in the TikTok video came from Walmart at the cost of $2.93 each, and the spray bottle was priced at $0.97.

Another PopSugar-posted TikTok car hack requires a portable fragrance diffuser and a couple of spritzes of your favorite perfume. Pure Enrichment Go Home and Auto Aroma Diffusers are available at Bed Bath & Beyond for under $30. The cost of perfume, even if you go for the pricey stuff, is negligible as you only need a small amount to make a TikTok car air freshener that lasts a long time.

Cheap air freshener hacks

TikTok star Itsari_B hacked her car odors with three items found at Dollar Tree. To make your car smell as good as hers, purchase a pack of Gain scent booster beads, a small glass shaker jar with a perforated lid, and a package of sticky pads. Place the beads in the jar and use one sticky pad to adhere your homemade car air freshener anywhere you like.

Nellie Rodriguez, who goes by the handle l3litta on TikTok, uses Meguiar’s aerosol spray in New Car scent to get rid of unwanted odors in her vehicle. Rodriguez explains that for best effect, put the ventilation system in circulate mode, crank the A/C to high, Place the spray can behind the front seat, release the spray cap, and close the car door.

Once the spray can is fully discharged, turn off the air conditioner, toss the can in the trash, and let the vehicle ventilate for 10 minutes. Three-packs of Meguiar’s New Car scent spray are available at Amazon for $25.76.

Reasons your car smells weird

All sorts of things can add a not-so-fresh aroma to your car’s interior. According to Cenex, certain bad smells may indicate something’s going wrong. For instance, a pervasive odor of rotten eggs may mean that your catalytic converter is on the way out. The overwhelmingly sweet smell of maple syrup could signify that ethylene glycol antifreeze is leaking from the cylinder head or radiator.

When shifting gears, the smell of burning paper may indicate a failing clutch face, while the scent of burnt oil can mean the engine is overheating. A burning carpet smell can be a sign of overheating brake pads, and the unpleasant aroma of a musty basement might mean there’s mildew in the air conditioning system.

HINT: If you notice the aforementioned aromas or smell gasoline inside your vehicle, have your car checked out by an expert before trying a TikTok DIY car air freshener.


‘My Car Smells Like Rotten Eggs’ and 6 Other Odors That Signal a Problem