Deodorisers for your car are part of the mysterious multi billion dollar fragrance industry. Mysterious because due to trade secret laws, manufacturers don't actually have to reveal any of the 3,100 chemicals that can make up fragrance, many of which are toxic.
But it's widely known that those horrible dangly things hanging from your rear view mirror contain hormone disrupting phthalates and chemicals toxic to the nervous system including acetone, butane, isobutane, liquified petroleum gas, petroleum distillate and propane. Car air fresheners also emit toxins linked to cancer such as benzene and formaldehyde.
Your car is a rather confined space for fragrance of any kind, let alone toxic odour masking chemicals. And if you're noticing an increase in headaches or dizziness, this is one visible sign that your car deodoriser may be doing you damage.
Here are some of our favourite suggestions for natural car deodorisers.
That one might seem obvious, but cracking open the windows for 30 minutes a day will help keep the air fresh (weather permitting, that is).
Look for mineral deodorisers such as zeolite which help to absorb odours, not just mask them. You could also look for bamboo deodorisers - bamboo charcoal has billions of porous pockets that absorb odours and moisture.
More an air freshener than a deodoriser, this is ideal if you're after a pleasant fragrance rather than removing odours. You can even make this yourself if you can't find something store bought or at your local market. Lavender and rose petals in little satchets handing from your rear vision mirror are a much more pleasant and safe fragrant alternative to conventional car air fresheners.
Vacuum your car to remove dirt, sprinkle some baking soda in to the carpet and car seat covers, let it sit for several hours or overnight if possible to absorb any smells, and then vacuum again.
Placing a cup or open container of vinegar near any strong odours overnight and removing it the next morning should remove the offending odour with it. Vinegar is also great to use on the windows.
Air Conditioner Filter
Musty, mouldy odours might actually be a sign that your air conditioner filter needs changing. Circulation will improve with a new filter and this will help with any additional odours.
Coffee lovers can make this one at home using your favourite coffee grinds and an old stocking. Like charcoal, coffee grinds will absorb any odours. But this one will definitely give your car a strong coffee smell.
Felt is a cheap and absorbent fabric to add a few drops of essential oil to for freshening up your car. Cut into any desired shape and hang from your rear view mirror just like you're used to. You could also add a few drops of essential oil to a wooden clothes peg and peg it to the air vent of your car. Or you could add baking soda and a few drops of your favourite essential oil to a mason jar, replacing the metal lid with cardboard that has holes poked through it and sealing the ring. The baking soda absorbs any odours whilst the essential oil disperses your favourite natural fragrance.
For some more fresh and decorative ideas to keep your car fresh, check out our Pinterest board for DIY car deodorisers.