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Discussion Starter #1
Had my pre-owned 2008 three months now. Sold as a non-smoking car--I'm a smoker so no issue. The chemical 'detailing' deodoriser smell is wearing off leaving a faint cross between baby diaper and wet dog. Rather have a smokers car than this. Slowly going away by leaving in the garage with windows and roof open.

I do not like masking with more chemicals--pine etc. Anyone any ideas to speed the odour removal? (Rented a car earlier this year with a distinct pizza smell but am disinclined to turn mine into a dining room.)
 

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I am actually a smoker but prefer my car not to smell strongly that way. To get rid of that smell I just took a product Green Works, apparently by Clorox? It's an all-purpose cleaner. I just took that and some paper towels and went at the plastic in the car. It doesn't smell like smoke or the cleaner. Not really sure what it DOES smell like but it certainly got rid of the smell. This may be a nice option for you, but if that smell is stuck to the seat, you could probably find something for it then put on Scotchgard ASAP. That will help protect the seats from stains and spills (Which will obviously cause the car to reek)

Hope this kind of helps. I'm sure you've been driving with your windows down to try drowning the smell out a bit more. :p
 

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If the smell is indeed diaper and wet dog, you should focus your efforts on the seats and the carpet, since that is most likely where the offending items were. A good steam cleaner will rock your world.
 

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I figured all those hippy stores smelled good, and they don't burn their incents.  They just have them sitting there.  So I did that with my car. Got a large handfull of them and put them in the passanger side pocket in the door.  Smells like opium incents.  mmmmm. :D
 

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The pollen filter (if fitted) when full/damp has a similar smell, as does bacteria in the aircon.

Have you tried to eliminate these?

Also I recently swapped my carpet mats to rubber after a stink developed purely from them getting wet when I got into the car with wet shoes.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the suggestions. With our warm fall and leaving windows and roof open the smell, already muted, is slowly fading. I'm going to remove those nice Accent embroided mats, wipe the surfaces with a neutral detergent and think about shampooing the seats, maybe the carpets. If the odor causing fluids have seeped into the seat upholstery I suspect the smell--which I can live with--will take a long time to disappear.
 

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You might want to also change your cabin filter, really easy just remove the tabs in the glove box and BAM! right there. Also when putting in the new one spray your favorite air freshener on the new one and it will smell wonerful
 

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Your main job is to find the source of the smell. Options could be: ventilation system, carpeting, seats, or headliner. Judging by your description, it's something organic causing the odor (as opposed to gas, smoke, or other stuff).

Is the odor coming out of the ventilation system? Turn it on, and get your nose close to the vents to check if that's the source.

If it is coming from the vents, do the following. Check the cabin air filter, and replace if it's stinky. Take it out, turn the blower on full blast, turn off the recirculate, and spray some Lysol or other disinfectant cleaner into the air intake near the wipers.

Sometimes moisture or water in the ventilation system will make it stinky like decomposition. If there's any organic matter in there, it'll be even worse! Gotta kill the bacteria/fungus living in there, and this might work. That is, if this is the problem, and it's not too advanced.

Probably make it smell like chemicals. But it'll do more than just cover up the smell.

Alternatively, the smell might be under the carpet or in the headliner. If the carpet got really wet, that can create the smell, too. Your job will be to dry it out thoroughly, and kill whatever is making the smell (a thorough steam-clean will kill it, but leave lots of moisture to feed the new stuff). The problem is that once mold, mildew, or fungus get a hold, they come back much more easily.

If it is the carpet, you might try taking the seats out, and steam-cleaning the entire carpet. Then put a dehumidifier inside the vehicle running full blast for 24 hours to drop the humidity quickly. Check the condensation tank often and empty it when it fills up.

Your final choice is to leave a packed ashtray in the car. It'll stink, but at least you're used to it! :p
 
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