How to Clean a Car Air Vent

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Cotton swabs
Interior car cleaner
Cabin filter
Disinfectant spray
Wire hanger

If your car smells bad or different lately, it may mean that it’s time to clean your air vents. Because parts of these vents aren’t easy to access, it’s easy to forget about cleaning them. To keep your vehicle smelling fresh, follow these steps.

Step 1 – Cleaning the Vent

To clean the front of the vents, use a cotton swab that’s been soaked in scent-free interior car cleaner. While you can use a cleaner that’s scented, keep in mind that you will smell the scent for a while in your car until it’s worked out of the vents. Make sure you get into all of the corners and crevices.

Don’t forget to clean your automobile’s lower air vents, too, that are used to warm or cool your legs. These are not immediately visible, and they can be found under the dash.

Step 2 – Getting Rid of the Smell

Though cleaning the outside of the vents will ease any bad car smells, you may need to go farther into the vents to fully eradicate musty and stale scents.

Change the Cabin Air Filter

To begin, change the cabin air filter in the engine. This filters performs a function similar to what a furnace air filter does. You should change the filter regularly to keep your car smelling fresh.

Its location and the type of filter you will need depends on the make and model of your vehicle. You can find this information in your car’s service manual.

Clean the Cabin Air Filter

Alternatively, you can spray the filter with disinfectant. This will kill the germs within the filter, improving the smell. However, it might make your vehicle smell like disinfectant for a while.

Step 3 – Clean the Drain

Finally, you should clean your air conditioner’s drain. In most cars, the drain can be found in the corners next to the fenders and will consist of rubber tubing that’s usually black.

Squeeze the tubing to ease out anything that’s accumulated inside. After doing this, straighten a wire hanger, and run it up the tube to remove the last of the debris.

When these steps are completed together, they will vastly improve your car’s smell coming from the air vents. If your vehicle still smells, trying getting rid of bad car smells with other methods like cleaning the carpets.