Car air fresheners come in quite literally hundreds of different styles and fragrances (or flavors if you prefer), some can be a bit sweet and sickly, while others give up the fight after a day or two, leaving you smelling like … whatever the last bit of food in your car was.
It’s all very well just buying whatever the local mart or gas station has on their shelves. But remember … in an enclosed space like a car, you’ve got to live with it until the smell fades, and sometimes that can be … a tough choice.
Sure, you really don’t need to put much thought in to finding the best car air freshener. Personally, I prefer to choose something that I actually like, rather than just a rancid perfumed smell to mask worse smells.
Table of Contents
- Different Types
- Best Car Air Fresheners 2018
- 1. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
- 2. Little Trees Black Ice Air Freshener
- 3. FRiEQ Car Air Purifier Freshener
- 4. Ozium Smoke & Odors Eliminator Gel
- 5. PURGGO Car Air Freshener
- 6. Chemical Guys New Premium Air Freshener
- 7. Febreze Car Vent Clip Air Freshener
- 8. Meguiar's Whole Car Air Refresher Odor Eliminator
- 9. Yankee Candle Car Jar Ultimate
- 10. Citrus Magic Odor Absorbing Solid Air Freshener
First up, it’s important to understand the basics … car air fresheners can be odor neutralizers, meaning that they may not smell of much but will tackle the odor problem, or they can just be perfumed to try and compete with any smells, or perhaps a combination of both, and then we have gels, papers, cardboards, crystals, charcoal and even electronics.
It really does come down to what you’re trying to do … if (for example) you’ve just bought an old used car that smells like the worst kind of tennis shoe, you’re going to want to neutralize the smell, whereas if you just want to smell something pleasant on your daily drive, then a regular scented air freshener will do the job.
If you’re trying to remove the smell of cigarette smoke from your car, you’ll probably need to try a combination of things, including some home made remedies like coffee grinds!
The thing to remember in all of this is that an air freshener may not be the same as an odor remover.
Best Car Air Fresheners 2018
Just because I’ve rated these in my top ten, it doesn’t mean you’ll like them – aside from anything else, scent is purely subjective, and the same scent can have different ‘smells’ for each individual, but you should at least find something that you like.
1. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
I love this little bag of magic, remember that it’s a deodorizer, and does not give the car any scent whatsoever, so if it’s a pleasant smell you’re after, carry on looking. The magic with the Moso is that it uses charcoal to eliminate smell – charcoal is used in a number of processes that are similar and it’s well-known for what it does, including filtration.
So, with 200gm of active charcoal, fitted in a pure linen bag that measures up at around 7 inches square, it actually looks pretty stylish and wouldn’t look out of place in your home or car. This Moso air purifying bag is completely non-toxic, and of course, it works 24/7 without any interference.
Better still, Moso can be reused for up to 2 years, it just needs ‘rejuvenating’ every month, which is a simple process of placing the bag outside in the sun for at least an hour each month.
If it’s about keeping the car odor free, then this is one of the best car air deodorizers on the market, and for the money, I’d buy a few and scatter them around everything!
2. Little Trees Black Ice Air Freshener
What can you say about the Little Trees car air fresheners? They’re like an institution all of their own. Surely, there can’t be anyone in the free world that’s never had one of these dangling from their rear-view mirror?
OK, some of the marketing is a little … cheesy … “masculine fragrance with an air of mystery” or even dated (then these have been fragrancing the air for decades), but they have 34 different scents, ranging from Coconut through to Wild Cherry, Pure Steel and Black Ice.
You get 24 fresheners in a pack (which it’s possible to mix and match). Be aware that the scent tends to fade pretty quickly, which is fine if you just want a bit of background perfume, but if you want to assault your nostrils every day, expect to replace them weekly.
3. FRiEQ Car Air Purifier Freshener
A controversial choice in some respects, for two reasons: proving that it’s working is subjective, and the marketing behind it sounds like bunkum, … I’ve actually had one of these fitted in my car for some months now, and I believe the air quality is different when it’s plugged in.
Similar to the Moso, this device won’t eliminate poor air the second you plug it in. By releasing 4.8 million negative ions, it also works over a period of time to help improve air quality, reduce odors and neutralizes contaminants such as bacteria and mold.
I believe it’s worth trying – the results you get are subjective. This is the modern age of freshening up your car interior.
4. Ozium Smoke & Odors Eliminator Gel
The Ozium spray has been used by professionals to remove odors forever, this is what Ozium is all about. However, these little gel tubs are different – they have a slightly different smell, and they’re designed more for background use rather than full on odor elimination – use the spray first, then pop one of these and you’re set to go.
The tubs have adjustable vents, and when set to just slightly open, a tub should last anywhere between 2 – 4 months, but it gives a consistent release, in other words, not an overpowering scent for a day or two and then nothing.
The Ozium says that they won’t dry out, ever, but in my experience they can do, especially with the vents fully open. You could always try and rehydrate it with a spot of hot water (top tip!).
I like these because they’re fuss-free, not overpowering and just sit in the background helping to keep your car smelling fresh, or at least a manufactured freshness!
5. PURGGO Car Air Freshener
What you’re getting here is pretty much the German equivalent of the Moso – a bamboo charcoal natural deodorizer that’s completely safe for pets, children and adults, with zero chemicals, heck, even the bag that the charcoal sits in is made from Hemp cloth.
The PURGGO lasts easily for 365 days, and you should activate it with an hour or two of sunlight each month to keep it working at its best.
I personally don’t think it looks quite as stylish, but it comes with a handy hanging cord pre attached.
This item won’t eliminate odors overnight, it does a solid job of keeping the air fresh after a day or two in the car. Definitely a worthy contender for best hanging car air freshener.
6. Chemical Guys New Premium Air Freshener
The Chemical Guys know everything about car care, they do everything from foam cannons right through to detergents and clay bars, and this is their take on an air freshener.
As I mentioned earlier, everybody smells things slightly differently, so what smells like ‘New Car’ to one person, may be totally different to another, but let’s go ahead and say that however your nose and brain interpret this smell, it won’t be unpleasant!
This is an engineered formulae, a natural enzymatic freshener that eliminates odors by breaking them down, and leaving a pleasing smell that lasts for a few weeks. Although being a concentrate, it can be diluted with up to 2 gallons of distilled water (which is recommended), and dilution could affect the length of time that you’ll notice the smell for.
One 16oz bottle should last for months when diluted, even when used neat. You’ll need so little of it that it’s still going to be going strong well after that cheap air freshener has run out of stink.
A great alternative to hanging a nasty piece of cardboard from your rear view mirror.
7. Febreze Car Vent Clip Air Freshener
Febreze have been making things smell nice for a while, whenever I’d work on a car that was a bit musty, I’d Febreze it and almost instantly, it was a nicer place to be.
These little air fresheners clip on to the air vent, and due to the nature of the fluid inside, you need to ensure that it doesn’t come in to contact with any plastics (like the vent or dash), because it will damage the plastic, but putting all that aside … they’re great at eliminating odor.
The Febreze fresheners feature ‘Odor Clear Technology’. On the low setting, they last for around thirty days, but cranking everything up to the max can see that reduced to less than a week.
Best thing about the Febreze freshener? The Linen & Sky scent – very airy and fresh.
8. Meguiar's Whole Car Air Refresher Odor Eliminator
This is different to the rest of the products here, it’s like a bug bomb for your car. Designed as a one time only fix to bad smells. A small aerosol can that you set off in the car with the engine running and a/c set to recirculate – the mist it produces gets sucked through the air vents and circulated throughout the car, including the headliner and any other hard to reach area.
I’ve seen a number of products like these in the past, and having tried them extensively, I can tell you that they work well. While some users say that the fragrance doesn’t last, it seems to me that they’re missing the point – it’s not really intended to continually mask any bad odor, but eliminate them once and for all, the fragrance is there purely as a bonus.
For me, this type of deodorizer is one of the best, it’s simple to use.
9. Yankee Candle Car Jar Ultimate
Yankee candles produce some great smelling candles, they could be described as … a luxury – not exactly cheap, but the Car Jar is very reasonably priced.
With a menu of flavors such as Pink Sands, Bahamas Breeze and Midnight Jasmine, these conjure up the illusion of being in a world of dusky maidens, long nights and rolling waves on the beach. So are they any good at deodorizing your car?
The Yankee offering falls in to the category of masking the smell rather than odor neutralizer, but that’s not a terrible thing providing your car isn’t smelling like an ashtray. The fragrance lasts for around a month, and looks just like a mini candle.
I’d give it 10/10 for looking like it does, and on the whole, it’s cool girly car air freshener. Find a fragrance that works for your girl and she probably won’t go back to any other brand.
10. Citrus Magic Odor Absorbing Solid Air Freshener
The Citrus Magic fresheners are a little light on the fragrance, do a solid job of deodorizing any bad smells. You’re looking for something to fragrance the air, you’d be better off with maybe the Yankee Car Jar.
It’s a unique formula that avoids the use of harsh chemicals, helping to absorb odors for long lasting up to eight weeks.
With a 3 pack, and each block is around 8oz in weight, they’re ideal for a car or other confined spaces. But for a large SUV, I’d be tempted to place a block in the front and rear just to be sure.
A handy car air freshener, and being solid, it won’t spill out or ruin any plastics that it comes in to contact with.