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!
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.
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.
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.
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.