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Old 04-22-2011, 08:28 AM
Status: "In a Mayberry Town in the Mitten..." (set 9 days ago)
Location: Pure Michigan!
4,037 posts, read 6,970,006 times
Reputation: 6091


We recently purchased a nice 2006 Ford Fusion for our daughter. The previous owner maintained it very well and kept it very clean except for that they transported their dog around in the car and now, no matter what we try, the interior still has a faint dog odor. It is especially noticable on damp, rainy days. Can anyone suggest a product or technique that will get rid of this problem?

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Old 04-22-2011, 08:34 AM
8,402 posts, read 19,527,792 times
Reputation: 6764
I've read that putting a bowl of vinegar in the car overnight will absorb the odor. Same goes for charcoal. I wonder, though, how either of those pulls in the odor from deep in the carpets.

Watch out for the products that only mask the smell. Eventually the smell of those products can be overwhelming.

If you're a little mechanically inclined, replacing the carpet isn't difficult, and will only cost a couple $100. That's probably where most of the dog smell is coming from.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:55 AM
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
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The products that the pro auto detailers use are "reodorants" ... products that absorb odors, not mask them and put another smell on top of the odor. Generally available from your local pro auto detailer supply company, rarely available through an auto parts store.

The first step is to thoroughly clean the car because all the surfaces have absorbed the dog odor. I usually scrub a car's interior with a mild solution of Murphy's Oil Soap ... including upholstery, dash, all the panels, and the carpets. Any removable carpet is pressure washed, vacuumed, air dried, and vacuumed again before re-installing it.

Then I use a spray bottle filled with reodorant solution to lightly spray all of the carpet and the accessible surfaces under the seats, and let that dry while airing out the car. Don't forget to thoroughly clean all the windows inside the car, a film on them can trap odors, too. Any air ducts for the HVAC system need to be cleaned out, too ... vacuum them out, and you may need to use q-tips or a toothbrush to remove dust/dirt residues there. Any surface that can be cleaned must be cleaned to remove all the places that have trapped the odors with dirt, dust, dog hair, etc. Examine the edges of the upholstery where there is a bead ... you can flick at that and see a fine line of dog hair and debris (usually dog dander) which must be vacuumed out.

If you don't have an afternoon of time and the equipment/materials to do this job, then I'd contact a pro auto detail company and let them do the work. Be sure to let them know that you're not interested in masking the odor, but thoroughly cleaning the car interior to remove all traces of the dog odor sources. Depending upon your local market, this might cost $125 to $250.

The cleaning and reodorant should remove all traces of the dog odor.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:57 AM
861 posts, read 2,292,772 times
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Any spray carpet cleaner will work. Just spray it on and let it sit for a few minutes then use a shop vac to suck it up. A couple of dryer sheets help as well.

Are you sure it's dog smell and the car hasn't been under water. They tend to smell the same. Something to consider if you live in a flood area.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:22 AM
Status: "In a Mayberry Town in the Mitten..." (set 9 days ago)
Location: Pure Michigan!
4,037 posts, read 6,970,006 times
Reputation: 6091
Thanks so much for all of your replies, we will definitely look into all of your suggestions.

We don't live in a flood area, plus, there were some dog hairs on the seats when we bought the car (we bought it directly from the owner, so a dealership hadn't cleaned it). We bought it from an elderly couple who traded for a new Fusion. They basically just puttered around town in it and took their dog with them a lot.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:54 AM
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,095 posts, read 22,963,452 times
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If you try the charcoal, break up the pieces for better odor absorbing.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:54 PM
Location: U.S.A.
3,306 posts, read 9,006,224 times
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Absorbing odor in the air does not take care of where it is emitting from. I would have all of the upholstery steam cleaned by a professional for starters.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:30 PM
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,303 posts, read 22,732,022 times
Reputation: 5463
Or may eventually get used to if all else fails?
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:56 PM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,382 posts, read 50,562,503 times
Reputation: 28605
I just went through that with a car I bought a year ago. I shampooed it thoroughly, twice, let it dry, sprayed everything with Fabreze, let it sit in the sun for a summer month with windows open during the day. Now, a year later, most of the smell is gone.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:39 PM
Location: Blue Ridge
20,888 posts, read 22,663,065 times
Reputation: 8634
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