Has anyone out there seen the episode of Seinfeld about the stinky car? It is one of my favorite episodes…or at least it was, until it happened to me. I have three small children and things frequently spill, but we had a spill last week, and this time it was different. It was foul. My nose is usually a pretty good hunter, but I could’t determine where the stench was coming from. The kids claimed to have no recollection of spilling anything, especially something that would smell the way this did. I searched and searched and finally I found the culprit. A sippy cup…with milk…had rolled under my seat. Keep in mind, it had been week…or more…in the middle of August. Not only had it been hiding out, but it had leaked. This meant that the sippy cup, turned petri dish of milk was now on my carpets. I don’t know how much you know about bacteria, but I paid enough attention in Biology to know that it thrives in hot and wet places. Both of those were how I would describe the conditions of my car. I tried everything from spraying off the mats at the car wash with the high pressure sprayers, air fresheners, deodorants, but there was still an ever so slight reminder of the game of hide and seek we had with the little sippy cup. So…I did some research to see what I could do. Here’s the magic combination that worked for me.
If the Area is Still Wet:
1. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda to soak up the liquid and deodorize. 2. Once the baking soda dries, you can vacuum it up with a wet/dry vac. 3. If you don’t own a steam vac, it would be worth the investment to rent one for this particular job. Just fill it up with distilled vinegar and steam out the affected area. Vinegar is the best all purpose cleaner because it kills bacteria and is much less harsh on carpets than using chemicals. 4. Dry completely. (Use fans or if carpet is removable place outside until completely dry).
(In my situation, the carpets were already dry so I opted for option 2)
If the Area Has Already Dried:
1. In a spray bottle mix this solution
1 c. distilled white vinegar
1 c. water
1/4 c. baking soda
2. Spray just enough to wet the area, but do not soak through
3. With a nylon brush or sponge, scrub the solution into the affected area of carpet.
4. Vacuum up the excess with a wet dry vac and let dry completely.
If smell persists, repeat steps 1 – 4
Now that I have learned how to get my car back to semi-normal air quality, my next step is to prevent the next disaster clean up situation. My next purchase is going to be some rubber mats for the car. You can buy Heavy Duty Floor Mats on Amazon.com to fit any vehicle. Don’t feel like you need to go with a brand name, custom mat. There are several universal mats that will fit and keep your carpets sippy cup free. 🙂