How to Get Bleach Smell Out of Car: Easy DIY Methods!

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As one of the most widely used cleaning agents, bleach leaves behind a potent odor in the car that is difficult to eliminate. Leaving the smell untreated can lead to your car becoming unpleasant to be in. 

So, at this point, you may be wondering how to get bleach smell out of car?

To get rid of the bleach smell out of your car, keep the door and window open to allow proper ventilation. You can place an air purifier where the bleach smell comes from. Or place an open bag containing activated charcoal in a central location in your car. Moreover, in extreme situations, the floor mat should be changed because it can trap bleach molecules that cause persistent odors.

The whole process is a bit delicate. So read the full article if you want to learn how to get rid of the bleach smell and restore your vehicle’s fresh and pleasant scent.

How to Get Bleach Smell Out of Car: General Methods

It’s true that bleach (Sodium hypochlorite) is a powerful stain remover. Despite this, it leaves a very unpleasant smell behind. Since bleach is highly reactive, it can break down organic molecules, including those causing odors, leaving behind a strong smell even after cleaning. Breathing in bleach residue is also injurious to health.

So, it’s necessary to minimize the bleach smell as easily as possible. Otherwise, it’s going to hit on your nerves. Let’s get to know the easy ways of doing so. 

Methods Required things 
Keep the door and window open for ventilationNone
Using air purifierHEPA purifier or ionizer
Put an open bag of charcoalCharcoals
Change the floor mat Use rubber mat 

Method 1: Keep the Door and Window Open

The smell of bleach itself can be very potent and easily detected, especially if the cleaning area is not well-ventilated. Opening a window or door can increase the flow of air in the vehicle, allowing the bleach fumes to dissipate. 

Therefore, it’s important to ensure proper ventilation when using bleach to prevent the buildup of chlorine gas in the air. 

So, if the weather permits, keep the door and window open overnight just for a few days. Using this method can reduce the concentration of bleach and other smells in the air and remove the associated smell.

Method 2: Use an Air purifier or Ionizer

Here is another wonderful way to get rid of the bleach smell from the interior of your car. Air purifiers cleanse the air from pollutant particles using technologies like ionizing or HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing) filtration.

Ionizers work by releasing negative ions into the air, while HEPA filters trap the particles inside the filter. Ionizers are cheap and low maintenance, while HEPA purifiers are costly and require changing filters. But HEPA ones do a better job of mitigation in comparison. You can opt for any of them depending on your preference.

If you go for HEPA purifiers then getting the LEVOIT air purifier would be the sensible option. As it is not that costly also it’s small in size which will easily fit inside your car.

 Now follow the guidelines below to perform the job properly. 

  • First, clean the car thoroughly to remove any residual bleach. You can use any of them from Chemical Guys Innerclean or Total Interior solution for that purpose. If you’re still indecisive, this Chemical Guys Innercleaner vs Total Interior comparison is going to help you to find the better one. 
  • Then, dry out the car properly once you clean the car. 
  • Finally, turn on the air purifier and allow it to run for several hours while the car is parked in a well-ventilated area. However, you should keep the window rolled up while the purifier is working.

Method 3: Put an Open Bag of Charcoal

The natural chemical properties of charcoal make it an effective odor absorber, which can eliminate the strong bleach odor.  Activated charcoal has a porous surface that can trap and absorb molecules that cause odors that prevent their recurrence.

You should place the charcoal bag in a central location inside the car, such as on the floor or on a seat. The charcoal bag should be left in place for several hours or overnight to allow it to absorb the odors from the air.

Method 4: Change the Floor Mat

If any of the ways didn’t provide enough satisfactory results. You can just change the floor mat. Carpet mats can trap and hold bleach molecules, which results in a persistent odor.

So, you must replace the existing floor mats in the car if they have absorbed bleach and retained the odor. The interior of the car should be thoroughly cleaned with water and mild detergent before installing the new mats.

You can use Chemical Guys Nonsense or Total Interior solution for cleaning the interior. After cleaning, the car should be allowed to dry completely to ensure there is no moisture left.  We’ll help you decide between Chemical Guys Nonsense vs Total Interior if you’re still unsure. 

You can use a rubber floor mat because it is less likely to absorb bleach and is easy to clean if they do come into contact with bleach. 

Homemade Solution to Get Bleach Smell Out of Car

Bleach smell is so strong it can take over again even after you mask it. If you prefer to use homemade solutions rather than store-bought ones, this section is dedicated to you. How can you mask the bleach smell at home with simple homemade recipes? Let’s find out

Method 1: Using Vinegar And Baking Soda

An unpleasant odor can arise from bleach when it breaks down into chlorine gas and hypochlorous acid. Vinegar and baking soda both are alkaline substances that can neutralize the strong acidic odor of bleach.

Required Tool:

Some special tools are required for the whole procedure. Now let’s look at the tools you need to get the job done.


It’s time to shed light on the delicate procedures step by step. 

Step 1: First, you have to locate the exact area from where the smell is coming. Find out the source by opening all the doors and the trunk. In most cases, it is found in the trunk, in fact, it’s the best place to start. 

Once the location is discovered, first clean up the bleach spill if any exists. Then, put some cleaning solution on the place. After that rub the whole area with a scrubbing brush. 

Step 2: Now, thoroughly mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of vinegar and one cup of water. Then, put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the whole spilled area. 

As soon as you spray the area where the bleach was applied, wait five minutes for the solution to work. Always be ready to spray more if required.  

Note: It is important to add all the ingredients in the order given above since baking soda and vinegar react together. Water should be added between each step in order to prevent chemical reactions.

Step 3: At this point, take the scrubbing brush and start scrubbing. Scrubbing brushes have bristles that reach deep into the fibers and remove any bleach residue. 

Step 4: Once you have scrubbed the surface, spray it again with the baking soda/vinegar mixture. Then, allow the surface to dry overnight. Since baking soda is a natural absorbent, it is useful for removing bad odors. 

Step 5: Once the baking soda has dried overnight, there will be white marks on the surface, which need to be removed. Immediately after cleaning, smell everything again to see if there is any remaining bleach smell.

Now grab the microfiber towel and clean the area that shows white residue. You may need to spray some water on the area for cleaning that. 

What Are the Natural Alternatives to Bleach?

Cleaning a car with bleach might help you to get rid of stubborn stains. However, the after-result can irritate you with its strong leftover smell. That’s why you can move towards some natural alternatives that won’t let you suffer with its strong smell. 

Alternative 1: White Vinegar

A mixture of white vinegar and water can be used to clean various parts of the car, including the windshield, windows, and chrome surfaces. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and use a microfiber cloth or sponge to clean the surfaces. It also helps in cleaning car seat straps’ vomit.

Alternative 2: Lemon Juice

Cleaning the car with lemon juice is another natural alternative to bleach. For cleaning the dashboard and other surfaces of your car, mix lemon juice with water. The removal of stains from upholstery can also be achieved with lemon juice.

Alternative 3: Castile Soap

Car exteriors and interiors can be cleaned using castile soap, which is a gentle and natural soap. Make a small solution out of castile soap and water and use it to clean the surfaces. Soap can leave a residue if used too much.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What happens if you get bleach on your car?

If you get bleach on your car, it can strip the paint of its color and shine, leaving behind a dull and discolored area. Discoloration and weakening of fibers in the upholstery and carpet can also be caused by bleach. However, you can minimize the damage by properly using the bleach. 

Does essential oil remove the bleach smell from the car?

Essential oil can’t neutralize the bleach odor. However, essential oils can help to mask or cover up bleach odor. If you want to remove the odor completely, you should go for other remedies like activated charcoal, vinegar, and baking soda. 

How can I make my car smell nice?

First, always try to keep your car clean and allow proper ventilation throughout the car. You can use car air fresheners to give your car a pleasant scent. The best way to create a freshener bag is to fill it with fragrant herbs or spices such as lavender, cinnamon, cloves, or coffee beans. Hang the bag in your car, and the scent will fill the air as you drive.


Throughout the article I have tried to answer your question about how to get bleach smell out of car. 

Hopefully, you can easily eliminate the bleach smell if you act quickly according to the methods described above. However, keeping it from forming is the best course of action. So, whenever you use bleach to clean the car, ensure proper ventilation so that a strong smell couldn’t form. Best wishes for your venture!

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I am a professional automotive and car mechanic. I have been in the industry for 15+ years. At the moment I have 3 garages. Every day dozens of cars come to our repair shops that are damaged in a very short period of time. The main reason for this is not taking a proper care of the car.

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