Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My car smells like vinegar and coffee grounds

I am still loving my new car, but there was one thing that I really wanted to change about it: The smell.

You know how when you buy a new car it has this great new car smell and you're sad when it eventually fades?? Not this one. We bought the car very gently used, but the previous owners must have:

a. Been chronic smokers
b. Eaten every fast food meal in the car
c. Owned 17 dogs

The "new car" smell I expected was instead the grossest (is that a word?) synthetic, sickly sweet smell I have ever encountered.

Ok, disclaimer. I understand when you're pregnant your sense of smell is extremely heightened. So my nostrils might be a teeny weeny bit sensitive. But other people noticed it too. It wasn't bad, they'd say, but it wasn't good. I just couldn't live with that. I can't take my baby girl home in a car that smells half-bad! That's horrible parenting! Even though I vacuumed the whole thing out twice and left the windows open, the smell remained.

So off to Google I went! Google solves all my problems.

Google tip #1 for removing odors without masking them. First, I read that I should sprinkle baking soda onto all of the upholstery, let it soak in for 15 minutes, then vacuum it up. Great, I said.

Let me tell you, what a hot mess I looked like. I bought the soda from the store, sprinkled it everywhere, then went back into the store to shop for awhile. Little did I realize that I still had to drive over to the outdoor vacuum. Good grief, I had white powder all of over my hands, shirts, and pants, and all of the patrons at Giant Eagle now think I am mother of the year and addicted to drugs. I got all of the powder up and..... it was better. Better, but the stench remained.

Google tip #2: Place a bowl of white vinegar in the space overnight, and by the next day the odor will be completely absorbed. Never one to do things in halves, I decided two bowls of vinegar in the front and back seat would works twice as well.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. Sickly sweet smell? GONE. But now the car REEKS of vinegar. Vinegar. Not a great smell either. Very strong. I gagged all the way to work.

Google tip #3. I told my favorite barista at the local coffee shop about my vinegar problem, and she confirmed what Google said, that fresh coffee grounds will help take the vinegar smell away. She generously donated some to my cause. Irish Mocha to be exact.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon... Car now smells like 60% coffee grounds, 40% vinegar, 0% of the old smell. We're making progress!!!

Left the windows open all night. On the way in this morning I smell 10% coffee, 30% vinegar, 60% fresh air. Getting there, getting there.

Then I had an impartial (and non-pregnant) judge check out the smell for herself. I drove to lunch today, and Holly swears she smells no vinegar, only clean fresh air and definitely not the gross smell we started out with. So I think I'm just paranoid. Or maybe my nose is too sensitive. I'm thinking maybe one more day of the windows open will bring it back to homeostasis.

Either way, this is the most amount of time I have ever spent discussing an odor. And if you've made it to the end, here is a bouquet of flowers just for you. Enjoy. They smell like a computer monitor.

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