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10 Best Car Air Fresheners 2020

So you think you know everything about car air fresheners?

Best Overall Choice
Febreze car air freshener

Febreze Car Air Freshener

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Best Premium Choice
Moso Natural Purifying Deodorizer Car Air Freshener

Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag

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Best Budget Choice
OZIUM odor eliminator car air freshener

Ozium 804281 Purifying Air Freshener

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A car vent clip car air freshener is in place and blowing fragrance into the inside of the car

It’s hard to love a car or truck that smells bad. When you spend so much time inside your vehicle, it is bound to pick up unpleasant smells. Food, cigarette smoke, coffee, and pet odors are just some of the scents your car can pick up. Luckily, you can get rid of all of them using a car air freshener! These car products get your car smelling nice once again. That new car smell will give you a throwback to when you first got it. Moreover, using an air freshener in your car will make any cheap car feel much posher.

There are hundreds of car air purifiers—they come in all shapes and smells. In order to pick the best car air freshener for your needs, we compiled a buying guide just for you! You’ll learn what features to look out for, how to install your air freshener in your car, and how to make it last longer.

On top of all that, we have also curated a list of the top 10 best car air freshener products money can buy. It has been updated for 2020 and we have included a wide variety of products so you can have all the freedom when picking your next air purifier!

Now, for the most important part, what is the best car air freshener? We have compiled a list of the 10 best products on the market to make shopping easier. After all, going on Amazon and seeing thousands of different products to choose from can be daunting!

Best Overall Choice

1. Febreze Car Air Freshener

Febreze car air freshener

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The Febreze car vent clips are well known for a reason. They’re affordable, easy to install, and smell fantastic.

Each small freshener usually lasts for up to 30 days, but luckily you can subscribe to Febreze and get a new product on your doorstep every month.

The two scents available are the “original,” which smells like pine forests, and the “island fresh,” which is essentially a flowery and fruity scent.

You can actually adjust the scent level, which is an awesome feature you won’t find in many air fresheners. If you like your car extra perfumed, rotate the knob to the right. If you want a more discrete scent, turn it to the left.

In addition to perfuming your vehicle, this product also eliminates odors. Thus, you get a two-in-one when you use it.

Pros

  • Affordable and easy to use
  • Blocks odors and perfumes your car
  • Lets you adjust the scent level

Cons

  • Only two scents to choose from

2. Little Trees Black Ice Car Air Freshener

Black Ice Little Trees car air freshener

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Obviously, the iconic hanging tree car freshener had to be on this list! It lasts for up to a month and can also be used in your home.

Little Trees has a long history of making scented products, which makes them one of the market leaders in the United States and Canada. Besides the bragging rights, it also means they’re trusted by thousands of customers every month.

There are forty-one different scents available on Amazon. They include masculine smells (for example, their Black Ice Car Air Freshener) to more feminine scents (for example, their Daisy Fields Freshener).

Since they come in a 24-pack, you can easily keep replacing them as they lose their scent. Once you do the math, each tree costs less than a dollar.

Pros

  • Lots of positive reviews over the years
  • Most diverse air freshener smells
  • Lasts for 30 days straight

Cons

  • Some say the scents aren’t strong enough
Best Premium Choice

3. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag

Moso Natural Purifying Deodorizer Car Air Freshener

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These linen air purifying bags are an interesting and original solution to foul odors. They can be used in your car as well as in your home.

The Moso linen bag works by absorbing bad smells. The activated bamboo charcoal filling is well known for disposing of bad scents quickly. Plus, since it isn’t scented, it won’t simply cover up odors.

On top of getting your car to smell new and fresh, this linen bag also prevents mold, mildew, and bacteria from building up. It does this by absorbing any excess humidity.

A very surprising feature is how long they last: up to two years. That is, as long as you place them outside in direct sunlight every month for at least one hour. When they’re fully worn out, you can recycle the bamboo charcoal by reintroducing it to nature (it’s a biodegradable material).

The filling of the Moso bags is chemical free, toxins, or fragrances. It makes it the perfect alternative for those allergic to car air fresheners.

Pros

  • Fully natural, eco-friendly product
  • Lasts a very long time with low maintenance needs
  • Absorbs bad smells efficiently

Cons

  • Won’t perfume car interior or home

4. Yankee Candle Air Scent

Yankee Candle car air freshener

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It isn’t what you’re thinking — you won’t need to light any candles while driving. The Yankee Candle car jar is really a gel-based product.

As the temperate inside your car gets higher, the wax starts to melt and releases its scent. The more it’s used, the lower the level of wax you can see through the clear jar.

The built-in string allows you to hang the Yankee Candle from your rear view or from anywhere else in your car. The product itself will last you about 4 weeks.

There is a variety of fragrances available, including “turquoise sky,” “black cherry,” and “leather.” Their scent is very mild, which can be good for people with sensitive noses.

Pros

  • They look different and unique
  • Variety of scents to choose from
  • Made in the US by a trusted established brand

Cons

  • The faint scent is a deal breaker for some

5. GerTong Aromatherapy Car Diffuser

Aromatherapy GerTong Cair diffuser

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If you’re a fan of aromatherapy, the GerTong car diffuser has you covered. It uses reusable pads which are infused with natural and essential oils.

You clip on this tree-shaped diffuser straight into your car’s air conditioning vents. Then, as the air circulates, it brings out the smell (and benefits) of the oils.

This product is perfect for you if you already have a bottle of natural oils at home. You can just place one or two drops on the reusable pads and voilà, you’ve gotten yourself an aromatherapy essential oil car air freshener.

The circular tree-shaped metal disk has two magnets built into it. The clip is built in a way that it should easily fit into all car vents.

Once you notice the smell starting to dissipate, simply place another drop of your favorite essential oils and you’re good to go.

Pros

  • Durable and long lasting
  • Reusable with no need to charge it
  • Allows you to use any essential oils you like

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a bottle of essential oil

6. Chemical Guys Leather Air Freshener

Chemical Guys car air freshener

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With this product, you can get your car smelling like brand-new leather with just a few sprays. It’s a perfect way of sprucing things up.

This car spray works as a two-in-one: it is both an odor eliminator and a scented air freshener. Thus, it won’t just mask the smells, it will cut the problem at the root.

If you’re more into subtler smells, you can dilute the product in two gallons of water or less. Whatever you feel most comfortable with!

Nothing beats the leathery smell of a new car, but the Chemical Guys Leather scent is pretty close. It’ll give you a throwback to how your vehicle used to smell like when you first bought it.

Pros

  • Pleasant leather smell
  • Aerosol form perfect for sporadic use
  • Enzymes act as an odor eliminator

Cons

  • Only releases scent when you spray it

7. FRiEQ Air Freshener and Ionic Air Purifier

FRiEQ Air Purifier Car Air Freshener

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The most futuristic-looking (and honestly a bit humorous) product on our list is the FRiEQ air purifier.

While it may look like a toy or something out of a science fiction movie, we have to applaud how well this mechanism works. You simply plug it into your 12V cigarette outlet and let it do all the work.

Like the Moso bags, this product absorbs bad odors before they start to fester. By releasing negatively charged ions into the air, it kills bacteria, mold, and mildew. This way, you know you’re not simply covering up bad smells in flowery scents.

As it doesn’t need any batteries, the FRiEQ air purifier can last you years. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to plug it in and maintain it.

Pros

  • Disposes of bad smells before they develop
  • Looks futuristic and fits into car design well
  • Lasts years when plugged in properly

Cons

  • Only good for use in cars and small trucks

8. Meguiar’s Whole Car Air Freshener G16402

MEGUIAR'S car air freshener

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The Meguiar’s air freshener is somewhat special: it is a one-time use product that definitively eliminates all the bad odors in your car in one go.

The product comes in a small aerosol with a trigger button. When you are ready to use it, turn on the air conditioning airflow on high, activate the trigger button, and close the car doors for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, air the car out for another 10 to 15 minutes.

While you won’t be able to use the Meguiar’s freshener more than once, you can trust that the bad smells in your car are gone for good. This product acts instantly, unlike traditional air fresheners which may take days to rid your car of the odors.

Additionally, it will also perfume your car. There are seven scents to choose from: citrus grove, sweet summer breeze, Fiji sunset, sparkling berry, spiced wood, spring blossom scent, and new car scent.

Pros

  • Immediately rids car of bad odors
  • Wide variety of scents available
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Can only be used once

9. Glade Car Air Freshener

Glade Car air freshener

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These cute hanging car air fresheners look like candles and leave your car smelling fresh.

They have a string that can be put around the rearview mirror. However, if your state has anti-windshield obstruction laws, you can hang it from anywhere else in the car.

They’re made from high-quality durable cardboard that has been infused with delightful scents. Glade makes them in six different scents: apple cinnamon, clean linen, Hawaiian breeze, lavender vanilla, new car, and pure joy vanilla.

No matter the scent you pick, the Glade air freshener will cover up any bad smells you have for at least a month.

Pros

  • Affordable and long lasting
  • Variety of scents to choose from
  • Easy to install and starts working immediately

Cons

  • Won’t eliminate odors, just cover them
Best Budget Choice

10. Ozium 804281 Purifying Air Freshener

OZIUM odor eliminator car air freshener

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The last item on our list is this odors eliminator gel which, according to hundreds of Amazon customer reviews, works miracles to remove cigarette smoke from cars.

This small plastic jar has a gel product inside and is easy to use. All you have to do is place it somewhere near the driver’s seat (in the cupholder, for example) and let it do its magic. It can also be used in small rooms and offices.

As the air circulates through your car interior, the bad odors get trapped in and neutralized by the gel material. Any bad scent — from wet-dog odor to cigarette smoke — gets handled in just a few days by this product.

It also releases a citrus scent to get your car smelling fresh. You can regulate how intense you want the fragrance to be by twisting the cap on the jar.

Pros

  • Neutralizes bad scents and perfumes car
  • Easy to install and perfect for states with windshield obstruction laws
  • Lasts for several months if the cap isn’t opened to the max

Cons

  • No other scent besides citrus to choose from


Car Air Freshener Buying Guide & FAQ

What Is a Car Air Freshener?

A car air freshener is an item you place in your car to get it smelling nice. They work in the same way as air freshener home products and have the same purpose, except you place it in your vehicle.

There are essentially two kinds of car air fresheners: the scented kind and the odor eliminator kind. While the first will emit a fragrance, the second will only neutralize the bad smells in your car.

When it comes to installing them, you can either attach them to your car using a vent clip, hang them off the rearview mirror, or place them on the dashboard of your vehicle.

Hanging car air freshener placed on a rear view mirror

 

How Do Car Air Fresheners Work?

The scent molecules inside a car air freshener are constantly being released into the air. The more air circulates inside your car, the faster they get released and the quicker your car absorbs that nice smell. This is true for those hanging car fresheners, for the car vent clip ones, and for the fabric pouches that have potpourri, gel, or bamboo charcoal inside.

If we’re talking spray fresheners, which are also made specifically for cars, they work in a different way. For starters, they’re what we call aerosols. Meaning, you spray the product and the scent molecules dissolve among the air molecules. That’s why you notice their smell right away.

Are Car Air Fresheners Toxic?

Some people are allergic to car air freshener scents, while others have serious lung diseases that make them hypersensitive to scented products. For people who fall into one of these two groups, air fresheners can be harmful.

However, if this isn’t your case, car air fresheners are not toxic for you. Obviously, you should use them in moderation, as with all things in life. But they’re completely safe if you follow their (simple) instructions.

 

Where to Place Air Freshener in a Car?

Where you’ll place an air freshener in a car depends on what kind of product you’re getting.

If you have a hanging car freshener, you should place it around the rear view mirror. However, since some states prohibit any objects hanging from the front mirror, you need to check what your local laws say.

If you buy the clip freshener, you can place it on your car’s vents, the ones where the air from the air conditioning system blows out of.

Lastly, if you buy any other kind of freshener, you should place it somewhere along the front of your vehicle where they won’t fall off of. The cup holder, for example, is a good place to put them.

Air freshener in cupholder

 

How to Make Car Air Freshener Last Longer?

There really isn’t a way to make car air freshener products last longer. If it lasts longer, it is because it’s not releasing any scent or doing its job.

The only solution would be to take the air freshener out of the car and putting it in a drawer that doesn’t get ventilated once you’re satisfied with how your car smells. Thus, you get to save up a little bit of product, even though the difference isn’t huge.

To solve this issue altogether, make sure to invest in a long-lasting car air freshener in the first place.

Car Air Freshener Buying Guide: What To Look For

Before you go out into the “real” world and place your order for your next freshener, there are a few things you should consider.

Keeping these things in mind will make it easier for you to pick the best car air freshener for you and your car.

Perfumed Air Freshener or Odor Eliminator?

First things first, decide if you want to simply neutralize smells or if you want to add a specific scent to your car. This totally depends on your personal preference and, above all, on what you intend to achieve with the air freshener.

If you’re trying to get rid of pet odor, for example, you want to get an odor eliminator air purifier. This way, you’re not just masking the smell, you’re cutting the problem at the root.

If you want to spice things up and make the interior of your car more interesting, then a scented air freshener is the right choice for you.

However, if cigarette smoke is what you want to deal with, then you want to play with both kinds of fresheners. Tobacco has such a strong smell that it makes it hard to eliminate. Therefore, try a combination of both techniques and air out your vehicle frequently to speed up the odor elimination process.

Once you know which kind you want, you can move on to what type of installation process you’re interested in.

 

Hanging Car Air Freshener, Car Vent Clip, or Other?

As there are three different kinds of air fresheners when it comes to how and where you place them, you have to decide which kind is best for you.

When you think of an air freshener for cars, what comes to mind? An object that looks like a pine tree? If so, you’re thinking of the infamous hanging mirror freshener. They’re pretty, work like a charm, and are very affordable.

Unfortunately, they are not legal in twenty-six states in the United States. California, Texas, Nebraska, New York, and New Jersey are just some of the states with anti-windshield obstruction laws. If you live in any of these states, you will have to skip out on the hanging car freshener crazy, as you could be pulled over and fined.

Car vent clips are a good alternative. They’re more sophisticated and usually last longer than the hanging mirror ones. Since they’re in direct contact with the car’s ventilation system, they act faster and get rid of bad smells more quickly.

Lastly, you will find plenty of additional air fresheners that work in a unique way. There are fragrance oil candles, fabric bags with oil diffuser balls inside, and even car aerosols. If the other two methods don’t sound appealing to you, it may be worth looking into these ones.

Different air freshener options

 

Aromas and Scents

If you’ve decided you want a scented freshener, now is the time to decide what you want your car to smell like. The most popular car air freshener scents are pine, citrus, and flowery scents. However, there are plenty more smells to choose from!

 

Longevity and Cost

Lastly, think of how long the air freshener will last you and how expensive it is. The goal is to get a good balance in the middle.

 



Frequently Asked Questions

Are car air fresheners bad for you?

If you don’t have a freshener allergy or a serious lung disease, your car air freshener will not cause you any harm. Nowadays, they are made from safe, soft scent chemicals that are tested thousands of times before being commercially released.

Where to buy car air fresheners?

As with most home products, you can find car air fresheners and purifiers on online retailers, such as Amazon. You will also find them in most retail stores, such as Walmart and Target. They are so common that you will not have a problem finding one for you!

How to get air freshener smell out of a car?

Airing your car out gets rid of any smell, including those of air fresheners. Roll down the windows the next time you are driving and just wait for the smell to come out.

Are hanging car air freshener illegal?

In some states, yes they are. Twenty-six states have anti-windshield obstruction laws that completely forbid anything from hanging from the rear view mirror. Eight additional states have laws that place some restrictions on what you can put on the front mirror. The best thing to do is to check your state’s windshield laws, in order to not get into any trouble.

Do car air fresheners cause cancer?

No, car air fresheners do not cause cancer. The chemicals, scents, and materials used to manufacture them are tested thoroughly before they’re made available in stores.

What is the longest lasting car air freshener?

Air Purifiers: By far the Moso air purifying bags and the FRiEQ air purifier last the longest. They can each work for up to two years of continuous use.

Air Fresheners: If you don’t set the fragrance levels to the max, the Ozium car air freshener lasts for several months. It’s the most long-lasting freshener we’ve reviewed.



Rita Cunha
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