9 Best Car Air Fresheners for 2023
New car not smelling so new anymore? Try the best car air fresheners to perk up your ride.
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Buying a Car Air Freshener
I like to ride with the windows down. From Minnesota to Texas, in freezing temperatures or triple-digit heat, I need fresh air.
Occasionally I forget to roll up the windows or close the sunroof. When that happens, a comic tragedy often befalls me. I’ve had rain saturate the seats. One time a bird flew in. And more than one early-morning sprinkler system watered the inside of my car along with the Kentucky bluegrass.
So it’s probably understandable that my car doesn’t smell great. I also parent two big dogs, so clearly the odds are against me.
If any of this sounds familiar, we have a solution. We’ve collected the best air fresheners of 2023 to get your car smelling like new — or, if that’s a stretch, at least a lot fresher than it does now.
Here’s what to ask yourself when choosing an air freshener:
- Do you like the smell? You spend a lot of time in your car. Choose a scent you can tolerate.
- How long does it last? No sense wasting money if it stops working after one day.
- How much does it cost? Decide what you’re willing to spend.
- Is it safe? Research the ingredients and pay attention to safety warnings.
Best Car Air Freshener for New Car Smell
Everyone loves the smell of a new car — or, at least, one that doesn’t reek of kids and dogs. Wonder Wafers to the rescue!
These patented, under-seat car air fresheners take you right back to the dealer showroom. That’s where many people first encounter them, because Wonder Wafers are popular with car detailers.
“Every single person who gets in my car asks me if I got a new car in the same color,” writes Amazon verified purchaser T210 of Wonder Wafers’ “New Leather” scent.
Best Value Car Air Freshener
Little Trees, those ubiquitous dangling car air fresheners, are inexpensive (about a dollar per tree) and last seven weeks if you follow the directions.
Wait, you don’t just rip them open and let ’em fly? Nope. Look at the back of the package and be amazed. Exposing just a portion of the tree each week prolongs the scent for nearly two months.
Buy Little Trees air fresheners at gas stations and grocery stores, or order them in bulk from Amazon.
Best Luxury Car Air Freshener
If pine trees hanging from your rearview mirror offends your aesthetic sensibilities, luxury car freshener brand Clemt has you covered. Clemt’s solid aluminum construction and sleek look puts this car freshener into a category of its own. Plus, it diffuses essential oils rather than bombarding you with an artificial scent.
The Clemt Pebble comes with a dashboard mounting kit and three bottles of essential oils. (Clemt says each bottle lasts two to four months.) The Mini version clips to your air vents and is a little less expensive, but plan to spend around $100 to $150 for these splurges.
Best Car Air Freshener for Smokers
Cigarette and cannabis smoke seeps deep down into the fibers of your car seats and carpeting, even if you open the windows. Ozium smoke and odor eliminators are gel-filled canisters that slide under your car seats and knock out odors through pores in the lid.
Ozium also makes air sanitizer sprays for eliminating odor-causing bacteria from the air. Use them in tandem to keep your car smelling fresh and smoke-free.
Best Longest-Lasting Car Air Freshener
When California Scents launched its canister air fresheners in 1992, people were skeptical. Now a major player in the $15 billion air freshener industry, California Scents’ claim to fame is its long-lasting fragrance. Just open the top and slide it under your seat to keep your car smelling great for two months.
Manufacturers often make claims about their products, but scores of Amazon user reviews confirm its longevity. Kasey, an Amazon purchaser, sums up the consensus: “Wow. This scent is strong and lasts a long time.”
Best All-Around Car Air Freshener
If you’re looking for a long-lasting, hard-working air freshener that takes care of any smell your car can throw at it, try Febreze Unstoppables vent-clip car air fresheners. An Amazon No. 1 bestseller, they last up to 40 days, feature an intensity dial and can withstand temperatures up to 150 degrees. The fresh laundry scent gets lots of rave reviews.
Best Car Air Freshener if You Have Pets
Our beloved animals are always getting into trouble. Dogs can turn a fun trip to the park into a smelly nightmare when they roll in something disgusting or splash though a mud puddle.
Those smells linger even after your pup has had a bath. But Arm & Hammer Pet Scents deodorizing gel beads harness the odor-absorbing power of baking soda to eradicate them.
“Awesome for the car!” writes Amazon purchaser Brooke. “And most importantly, my car does not smell like dog anymore! Yay!”
Best All-Natural Car Air Freshener
If you’re a fan of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day natural home cleaning products, check out the company’s Air Freshener Sachets that you can toss in your car trunk or slide under your seats. These all-natural, cruelty-free sachets, made from repurposed wood and essential oils, are safe for kids, pets and the environment. They last up to 60 days.
Best Fogging Car Air Freshener
If your car vents blast a stream of foul-smelling air every time you turn them on, try Armor All’s Fresh FX Rapid Odor Eliminator.
Roll up your windows, set your air conditioner on high and place the canister on the console. Activate it and get out of the car. The penetrating fog goes deep into the air vents to find and eliminate odors. Wait 15 minutes, turn off the car and open the windows and doors to allow fog to dissipate. No cleanup needed.