How to Erase Odors That Stay: The Natural Way

July 11, 2021

Picture this: your husband brings you coffee before a long road trip and you’re excited to sip it in the car! Before you get the chance to enjoy your drink, your dog knocks the cup from the center console, sending coffee all over your car seats. 

Personally, I didn’t have to picture it because that’s exactly what happened to me!

Everyone knows the feeling of panic the second you spill something in your car. You wonder: How am I ever going to get this stain out and prevent my car from smelling for weeks? 

I was worried, too! Going on a road trip with 3 kids and a dog meant there was no time to stop and spot clean my car. We had to wipe down the seats the best we could and get going. The odor didn’t leave though: by that night, the entire car smelt like old coffee and cream.  With a few easy steps, I was able to get rid of the odor naturally!

Baking soda is key in this scenario! Baking soda acts as a weak base, while most scents (like coffee) are acidic. Combining an acid and a base takes the odor out of a stain, leaving it with a neutral smell instead. 

baking soda destroys odor

I tackled the smelly coffee stain in my car by sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda around the seat stain and on the floor mats for good measure. A good tip to remember here is to lean your car seat back so that the baking soda gets into those hard to reach crevices! 

I let this mixture sit overnight so it could absorb as much of the odor as possible. After a night of soaking, I took a regular vacuum out to the garage and sucked the baking soda off of the car seats. 

Just like magic, my car is back to smelling brand new (or at least not like an old coffee cup)! 

This little trick is perfect for any soft surface that is a little smelly: car seats, mattresses, couches, and even carpets. The best part about using baking soda is that it tackles the cause of the odor rather than covering it! A lot of fabric fresheners on the market simply cover the smell for a bit, sticking you with the problem again once it fades. 

Spills are hard to avoid when your life is jam packed with kids, pets, friends, and family. Everyone makes a little bit of a mess sometimes, but you don’t have to be worried about the smell sticking around!

You’d be surprised what one simple ingredient like baking soda can do to change the way you clean!

If you like this tip, follow me on Instagram (@SlightlyGreener) to get daily tips on how to take steps toward using less artificial cleaners and products!