Living a balanced green lifestyle

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How to Get Rid of Stinky Dog Odors in Your Car – Part 1

I bought a used car last week. With the price of gas at nearly $4.00 a gallon, commuting with my SUV was really adding up. I was filling up my tank twice a week, at about $50.00 per tank. Let me do the math: Uh, $50 x . . .  Let me just say it was too much!

So I got myself a 1998 Honda Civic HX with low miles and that was nearly stock. This car gets about 40 mpg. I didn’t want a hybrid; hybrid batteries are a whole ‘nother story. Let me tell you, I had been looking for a Honda Civic HX, VX, or CX (the three Civics of the older vintage that get the highest fuel economy) for about the last three months, but my car shopping story will have to wait. I’m here to tell you about stinky dog odors.

Well, my husband and I went to buy this car, and when we got there (200 miles later–yes, such a car with this few miles, good condition, and nearly all stock is worth a 200-mile drive), the driver’s side window was rolled all the way down. I soon understood why.

The sellers said they had gotten the car detailed yesterday, just before they posted it on Craigslist. They said the detailer overdid the shampoo and they were letting it dry and air out. What an understatement. The entire dash area glistened with an oily sheen. Looked like Armor All was applied like it was the Blue Light special. The car reeked of chemical fragrance. And beneath the overwhelming chemical odor, you could still smell dog.

Well, the car, as I said, had low miles and was in really good condition, and I was tired of paying $400 a month in gas. So I was willing to overlook the poor, chemical-laden detailing job and underlying stinky dog smell and plop down my money (via PayPal, no less, because it was Sunday and all the banks were closed). I waved the stinkyness off as being cosmetic and something I could manage when I got home.

I drove the car back–another 200 miles–with the windows rolled down. When I got home, my clothes and hair reeked of the chemical fragrances with underlying stinky dog. There was dog hair, which the detailer missed big time, floating all around. Wow, this was the worst detailing job. (If I knew who the detailer was, I’d have to go on Yelp and give them a 1-star review.)

Now that I’ve given you all this background information, I’m out of time and will have to pick up in Part 2. But I’ll just give you a hint about what I did. It involved

  • a vacuum cleaner,
  • lots of natural odor-eliminating sprays (Norwex and other),
  • Norwex microfiber and other microfiber (with water, of course),
  • the Norwex rubber brush (for the gobs of dog hair that the detailer missed),
  • a refrigerator coil brush,
  • baking soda,
  • and a lot of elbow grease.

Since I avoid chemicals like the plague, all of the above items that I used do not involve chemicals. I was trying to get rid of chemicals! You cannot get rid of chemicals with more chemicals.

A week after I drove home in my new used, reeking car, it smells 90 percent better and is 99 percent cleaner. There’s still a little more to go, much of which will involve dissipation over time.