Best Car Air Fresheners

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Through regular use, any car can develop unpleasant smells. This is a natural consequence of use, and nothing to be worried about, but it can be unappealing. If you’re looking to eliminate these odors and bring freshness and a clean smell to your car, you’re going to need to buy the best car air freshener you can find to liven up your car a little. There is an enormous range of different scents and styles of air freshener available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, and an understanding of the field can help you to find the perfect car air freshener for your personal tastes and needs.

We’ve researched car air fresheners thoroughly and tested a wide range of different brands, styles, and scents in order to narrow down the wide field to a narrower selection of some of the best car air fresheners on the market in 2019. Below, you’ll find our best car air freshener reviews 2019, where we’ll break down the major advantages, disadvantages, and distinguishing features of our top 10 car air fresheners to help you get a sense of what the best car air fresheners available are.

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  • Natural enzymatic odor eliminator
  • Concentrated solution
  • Long lasting spray
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  • Activated bamboo charcoal
  • Fully biodegradable
  • 100% natural
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  • Molecular odor elimination
  • Aerosol system
  • New car smell

With the help of our guide and best car air freshener review selection, you can buy with confidence that you’re getting the best car air freshener you can find to fit your own personal needs and scent preferences.

View the Best Car Air freshener, Below.

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1. Chemical Guys AIR_101_16 New Car Smell

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The Chemical Guys AIR 101 16 New Car Smell effectively eliminates unwanted odors in your car through a natural enzymatic formulation, clearing out unwanted odors and reducing the strength of new odors forming after the spray has been used. This is a highly concentrated spray that can be diluted with a large quantity of water (up to 2 gallons) to provide a more subtle and more long-lasting odor eliminating ability for situations in which the full strength of the Chemical Guys New Car Smell car air freshener is not required.

This is strong enough to clear all odors from a car interior with only a single spray, making it an efficient method of refreshing a car and brightening up the air inside.

Why We Like It
  • Natural enzymatic odor eliminator
  • Concentrated solution
  • Long lasting spray
  • Accurate “new car smell” formulation
  • Range of sizes available
Type
Liquid Air Freshener Spray
Scent
New Car Smell
Our Verdict

Powerful, efficient, and natural, the Chemical Guys New Car Smell car air freshener is one of the best car air freshener spray cans available for eliminating odors in a car or revitalizing a tired and ineffectual cardboard air freshener.

Editor Rating
premium choice rating

2. California Home Goods Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag

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Fully natural, the California Home Goods Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag is a natural fiber bag filled with activated bamboo charcoal to absorb and eliminate unwanted odors with no introduction of chemical smells to your environment. The bags are fully biodegradable, ensuring that there is no long term waste from these car air fresheners as all the materials involved are 100% natural.

This is an excellent eco-friendly car air freshener that effectively cleans out odors from any area, and can be used anywhere in your car or house with ease.

Why We Like It
  • Activated bamboo charcoal
  • Fully biodegradable
  • 100% natural
  • Fragrance free
  • Works anywhere
Type
Odor Eliminating Bag
Scent
Odor Eliminator
Our Verdict

The California Home Goods Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag is an all natural method of eliminating unwanted odors, clearing out smells from your car or home with no risk of harming the earth at all.

Editor Rating
great value rating

3. Meguiar’s G16402 Odor Eliminator

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The Meguiar’s G16402 Odor Eliminator car air freshener is an aerosol spray car air freshener with a more powerful and effective method of removing unwanted odors from cars than most competing models of car air freshener offered. This type of car air freshener effectively eliminates all odors on a molecular level, removing the particles that cause the smells rather than simply masking them. This allows for permanent odor removal rather than just temporary concealment, giving a deeper and more powerful clean.

Simply turn the car air conditioning on high, set it to recirculate, activate the Odor Eliminator, close the door, and leave the car for 10 to 15 minutes to completely eliminate any and all unwanted odors from within the car, reaching even the hardest to access areas of the car’s ventilation system and interior.

Why We Like It
  • Molecular odor elimination
  • Aerosol system
  • New car smell
  • One time use
  • Powerful odor eliminator
Type
Liquid Air Freshener Spray
Scent
Odor Eliminator
Our Verdict

Effectively cleaning out even the strongest of odors from your car on a molecular level, the Meguiar’s G16402 Odor Eliminator car air freshener can refresh the interior of any car in only 10 to 15 minutes, making it a great choice for dealing with stubborn smells.

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4. Yankee Candle Car Jar Air Freshener

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The Yankee Candle Car Jar Air Freshener is a simple cardboard car air freshener mounted inside a plastic jar shaped shield for protection. This type of car air freshener features an indication system for when it’s running out of fragrance and can continue to provide a pleasant smell for up to a month. Available in many favorite Yankee Candle scents, the Yankee Candle Car jar air freshener brings a fresh, warming smell to any interior space, livening up any car and concealing the odors of regular car usage with ease.

Why We Like It
  • Easy to hang
  • Yankee Candle scents
  • Clear indication when empty
  • Long lasting fragrance
  • Protective casing
Type
Cardboard Air Freshener
Scent
Beach Walk, Pink Sands, and Sun & Sand
Our Verdict

Bringing the smells of Yankee Candles to your car safely and cleanly, the Yankee Candle Car Jar Air Freshener refreshes the air inside your car and offers a pleasant, powerful smell for any environment with no flame required.

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5. Happy Wax Scented Cub Air Freshener

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The Happy Wax Scented Cub Air Freshener is a cardboard car air freshener that comes in a pack of 4 brightly colored bear shaped cardboard car air fresheners, each scented with a different natural essential oil for a fresh but entirely natural fragrance that fills your car or other small space with ease. These car air fresheners may not last for a particularly long time, but their natural odors are appealing and surprisingly powerful for such a small and friendly looking air freshener.

These natural essential oil odors offer surprisingly complex scents, with natural undertones of herbs and spices for warm, woodsy smells rather than the artificial chemical smells of many other types of car air freshener.

Why We Like It
  • Made with natural essential oils
  • 4 pack
  • Great for small spaces
  • Bear shaped
  • Range of scents available
Type
Cardboard Air Freshener
Scent
Calming Lavender, Citron Mandarin, Vanilla Orchid, and Coastal Tide
Our Verdict

Bright and friendly, the Happy Wax Scented Cub Air Freshener offers a powerful natural fragrance to freshen up the interior of your car or any other small space in need of a new smell.

Editor Rating

6. Febreze Car Air Freshener

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The Febreze Car Air Freshener is a clip style car air freshener that can be mounted onto the ventilation outlets of your car, directly over the ventilation to encourage circulation of its fragrance around the car. The rear of each clip car air freshener features adjustable vents, letting you adjust how much fragrance is released and giving more control over the scent and atmosphere of your car.

These clip car air fresheners come in a pack of 5, giving several spares for a total lifespan of up to 150 days; each individual clip air freshener can last for up to 30 days, although if set to maximum fragrance release its lifespan will probably be significantly shorter.

Why We Like It
  • 5 pack
  • Clip design
  • Long lasting
  • Fresh smell
  • Powerful odor masking ability
Type
Air Freshener Clip
Scent
Linen & Sky
Our Verdict

Adjustable and fresh smelling, the Febreze Car Air Freshener is an easy option for introducing an adjustable amount of a fresh, clean scent to the air of your car, allowing you to control how strong the smell is and how much is introduced to the car.

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7. PURGGO Car Air Freshener

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The PURGGO Car Air Freshener is a large bag of activated bamboo charcoal for absorbing unwanted odors from the air. The charcoal traps odor-causing particles, preventing them from circulating around your car. This is an exceptionally long lasting car air freshener, continuing to absorb and eliminate unwanted odors for up to a full year with no major loss of efficacy.

This is an entirely natural method of removing odors, absorbing them with no chemical scents needed. The bag itself is made from hemp fibers, making the entire car air freshener fully natural and sustainable, requiring no artificial substances or fertilizers to develop.

Why We Like It
  • Large accessory
  • Extra long life
  • Activated bamboo charcoal
  • 100% natural
  • Allergen-free
Type
Odor Eliminating Bag
Scent
Odor Eliminator
Our Verdict

The 100% natural construction and odor elimination method of the PURGGO Car Air Freshener makes it a great choice for removing unwanted odors from your car without introducing chemical scents.

Editor Rating

8. LITTLE TREES auto air freshener

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The Little Trees Auto Air Freshener for cars is an easy to hang cardboard air freshener for a warming, fresh smell in any car interior. This model of car air freshener is available in a large 24 pack, ensuring that you don’t need to purchase more car air fresheners often, as there are sufficient spares to replace exhausted and ineffectual car air fresheners when necessary for quite a long time. There are many different smells available, making it easy to choose a little trees car air freshener to suit any environment and any taste in car scents.

Why We Like It
  • Comforting smells
  • Disposable
  • Easy to hang
  • 41 scents available
  • 24 pack
Type
Cardboard Air Freshener
Scent
Black Ice
Our Verdict

LITTLE TREES air fresheners are the original disposable car air freshener and continue to be a great choice for most purposes, providing a selection of comforting scents to help your car to smell fresh and welcoming in any situation.

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9. Ozium Smoke & Odor Eliminator

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Powerful and strong smelling, the Ozium Smoke and Odor Eliminator is one of the most popular models of home and car air freshener for a reason. This model of car air freshener produces a powerful, fresh smell that promises to banish even the most stubborn scent of smoke or other unwanted odors with a strong and soapy scent appropriate for public places as well as private car interiors. This is a long lasting type of air freshener for such a powerful effect, lasting for up to 3 weeks with ease and up to 6 with careful use and a little restraint.

Why We Like It
  • 4 pack
  • Long lasting scent
  • High temperature resistance
  • Consistent fragrance release
  • Powerful smell
Type
Solid Air Freshener
Scent
Original Scent
Our Verdict

The Ozium Smoke and Odor Eliminator is an exceptionally effective car air freshener that is more than capable of overpowering even the most distinct unpleasant odors with ease, making it one of the best car air freshener types available for stubborn odors.

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10. FRiEQ Car Air Purifier

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The FRiEQ Car Air Purifier is a powerful ionizing electronic car air freshener that plugs into the 12v cigarette outlet of your car to effectively eliminate even strong unwanted odors. This type of car air freshener releases negative oxygen ions into your car, which react with odor-causing particles in the air to eliminate them, removing the chemicals that make up the smell from the atmosphere of your car without creating the artificial fresh smells of most car air freshener models.

This ionizing car air freshener lasts for a long time, eliminating unpleasant odors for at least twice as long as most chemical car air fresheners to keep your car smelling fresh and clean with minimal maintenance requires. In addition to this, it features a handy LED indicator light which glows blue when the FRiEQ Car Air Purifier is functioning, making it easy to tell when this car air freshener is no longer working properly.

Why We Like It
  • Powerful odor eliminator
  • Ionizing design
  • Plugs into 12v cigarette outlet
  • LED light
  • Adjustable power settings
Type
Air Purifier
Scent
Odor Eliminator
Our Verdict

The ionizing design of this high powered odor eliminating electronic air freshener unit allows the FRiEQ Car Air Purifier to eliminate unwanted odors far more effectively than most other methods of car air freshener odor elimination.

Editor Rating

Car Air Freshener Buyer’s Guide

How long do Car Air Fresheners Last?

Because of the chemical nature of air fresheners, there is no single answer to how long car air fresheners last that will apply to every type of car air freshener. Different chemicals will last for different lengths of time, with some smells fading rapidly and others lasting at a constant level for a long time. The natural smell of your car will also affect this, with some more neutral car odors offering no obstruction to car air fresheners and other, stronger odors overpowering car air fresheners towards the end of the lives, effectively reducing the length of time it takes for the car air freshener to become ineffectual.

While there is a large range in the lifespans of different air fresheners, most brands fall into the same broad category. In general, these air fresheners should last for at least 2 weeks before the fragrance fades, keeping your car smelling fresh and clean. This 2 week period may well last as long as 3 weeks in some cases but is unlikely to last for longer without use of some handy tricks.

If you leave half of the packaging on your car air freshener, reducing the amount of the air freshener’s surface that’s in contact with the air at any one time, you can effectively double the lifespan of your car freshener, extending it to 4 to 6 weeks. A sealed air freshener left in a cool, dry place will last for up to 2 years, continuing to provide roughly 2 weeks of fresh smells once opened. If left sealed for longer than 2 years, or in warmer or wetter conditions, the car air freshener will become ineffectual, failing to provide much smell at all once opened.

What Air Fresheners do Car Dealers Use?

Car dealers are well known for their “new car smell,” but it’s not always clear exactly what they use to achieve this pleasant, fresh smell. New car smell is generally caused originally by the materials used when building the car; wood, plastic, leather, rubber and other materials all have their own smells, which can be covered up by the smells generated by regular use.

Deep cleaning the car with unscented cleaners can make a significant difference to restoring this new car smell by removing any other smells that have built up, leaving no smell other than that of the materials. Car dealers do not apply a new car smell with an air freshener, despite the air freshener trees that you may have seen hanging in cars in dealerships.

Heavy duty application of smells is generally achieved with the use of fog machines, blasting smells into the car overnight to eliminate any truly stubborn odors left in the car. Alternatively, some car dealers will replace the air filter to freshen up the smell of a used car. Odorous particles in the air circulating around a car will be dragged into the air filters, remaining inside for a long time even when the filters are not in use.

Replacing the filter can remove a major source of odor, helping to restore a car to “new car smell.”There are other methods that car dealers use to create “new car smell,” but none of them involve air fresheners. It is possible to buy car air fresheners that claim to produce this smell, but it will not be entirely accurate, as true “new car smell” is the product of the materials used in building the car rather than of any chemical air freshener.

How to make Car Air Fresheners Last Longer?

Most commercial car air fresheners only provide a noticeable smell for about two weeks before fading into nothing and allowing the natural smells of your car and everything inside it to return. This means that if you want to maintain the smell of a car air freshener constantly, the costs will mount up rapidly. If you can boost the lifespan of your car air freshener and help it to last a bit longer before the smell fades, however, you can reduce the need for regular replacements and cut costs effectively.

If you only partially open your car air freshener, leaving some of the packagings on to cover part of the car air freshener’s surface, you can cut down on the amount of the car air freshener’s surface in contact with the air at any one time, reducing the amount of smell producing chemicals that diffuses out into the air and increasing the lifespan of the air freshener to up to double its original functional life.

If you’re using a cardboard air freshener, a type known for generally only have a short lifespan, it is entirely possible to revitalize a dying car air freshener. Simply buy a spray can of liquid air freshener in the fragrance of your choice and spray it onto the cardboard car air freshener. This diffuses the smell into your car more slowly than simply spraying liquid air freshener around the car, keeping your car smelling fresher for longer because the cardboard shape will absorb the liquid car air freshener, revitalizing it a little.

Expert Tip

Air fresheners are more effective in cooler weather. If you have a car air freshener with a range of different intensity settings, you can usually turn it down a notch or two in colder weather, only turning it up to full power in hot weather or emergency situations. Don’t forget your exterior! Grab one of these car waxes.

Did you know?

Paper air fresheners, such as the traditional tree shaped hanging car air fresheners, are the least effective and shortest lasting type of car air freshener. This type of car air freshener may be very common, but they only provide fresh smells for a week or two before fading away into insignificance!