How To

How To Get Vinegar Smell Out Of Car?[Explained]

Last Updated on September 4, 2023 by Thomas James

No one likes the smell of vinegar. It’s an awful smell, and some people can’t stand it. It’s even worse when it gets all over your car. There is nothing worse than the smell of vinegar in your car. It’s a bitterness that can sometimes linger for days.

Vinegar is a popular household item. It can be used for many reasons, from household cleaning to cooking. If you notice a vinegar smell in your car, it may be time to clean it out.

The vinegar smell can be eliminated by wiping down the car and vacuuming the floor mats. Something acidic is most likely causing the vinegar smell in your car.

However, numerous factors could cause that odor. Identifying the source will assist you in eliminating it. This blog will explain how to get the vinegar smell out of the car.

How To Get Vinegar Smell Out Of Car

Why Does Your Car Have a Vinegar Odor?

Several things could cause the vinegar smell in your car. A leak in the fuel line could cause it. The fuel line could be damaged and leaking. A crack in the fuel tank could also cause a leak. A problem with the air filter could also cause it.

Here are a few possibilities for what’s causing the odor!

Old Food Left in Car

Old food is one of the most common causes of a vinegar smell in your car. Some people like to leave their leftovers in their cars. It’s not a good idea to leave food in your car. The food can get old and then rot. The smell of rotting food is something that can get into the car and create a vinegar smell. It’s not suitable for the car and not good for your health.

Spilled Drinks On the Floor Mats

Spilled drinks are another common source of vinegar smell in your car. When you spill something on the floor mats, the liquid mixes with the air. The air is then replaced with the smell of vinegar. If you have a spill, wipe it up and clean the floor mats.

Some things are more complicated than just cleaning up spills. If you have a spill with alcohol in it, it can create a vinegar smell. You’ll want to clean up spills that have alcohol in them.


Mold can develop when things are overlooked. It’s unavoidable, and the only way to avoid further damage is to remove the object and have it professionally cleaned.

Don’t wait because mold worsens over time and eats away at components until they rust. Every second counts if you notice anything that looks like black stains inside your vehicle.

Old Auto Transmission Fluid

Auto transmission fluid can get old and then smell. Letting your car sit with old transmission fluid and smells is not good. It’s an oil that helps in gear shifting, so if your vehicle begins to whine, this could be the source of the foul odor!

If you leak, it could signify that the transmission needs to be replaced. You can have a professional mechanic look at it if you need more clarification.


Antifreeze is a liquid that is used to prevent your engine from overheating. It’s a liquid that can cause a vinegar smell.

When antifreeze isn’t properly circulating through an engine, it can emit a vinegary smoke odor. It could indicate a faulty radiator fan or a low antifreeze reservoir. In this situation, getting your car checked out by a professional is important.

Left Old Gym Clothes in the Car

Gym clothes can have a vinegar smell. It’s not good to have gym clothes in your car. The smell can get into the car and then get into the air.

If you don’t clean them, they can get moldy and smell. If you have a gym bag in your car, it’s good to put it in the trunk or the back seat.

A Lot of Condensation in the Car

Condensation is a byproduct of a car’s air conditioning system. When the air conditioning system works, it can remove the moisture in the air.

Keeping your windows open in the summer is a good idea to help remove the moisture. That is why having the windows down while driving is a good idea.

The smell of vinegar is something that’s going to be hard to get rid of. You’ll want to have a professional mechanic look at your car to determine the source of the smell.

Problem with an evaporator or any part of your AC system

If you’re noticing a vinegar smell in your car, it could be a sign that your car’s evaporator is broken. The evaporator is the part of the air conditioning system that cools the air inside the car. When it’s broken, the air in your car will be warm and moist. It can create a vinegar smell.

If you leak into your air conditioning system, having it checked out is good. It could be a sign that the system needs to be replaced.

It’s possible that fumes were caused by gas leaks from your air handler onto your carpeting and upholstery, becoming trapped under your dashboard and causing your car to smell sour.

In some cases, it may even enter the ventilation ducts and spread throughout your vehicle, causing that distinct sour odor.

Ways On How To Get Vinegar Smell Out Of Car

You can do some things to get the smell out of your car. You can try to clean it up. If you spill something on the floor mats, you can wipe them up and then clean them.

Use our list to see if you can locate the source of the odor. Could you get rid of it once you’ve discovered it? Use something to kill mold or mildew.

If it’s old clothing, get rid of it! Alternatively, if the food is old, throw it out!

Using a Baking Soda

To begin, we recommend purchasing a box of baking soda. Then, evenly distribute it throughout the interior of the car.

Make sure you have some on the upholstery and floorboards. After that, place a small amount of baking soda in the trunk of your car.

Leave a few boxes of baking soda inside the car to eliminate the odor. Open them and place them in various locations. Typically, one can be placed in front and one in the back. Remember to keep one in the trunk as well.

It takes time to eliminate the smell. Getting rid of it may take a few days to a few weeks.

Drying it Out

If you can’t get rid of the odor with baking soda, try to dry it out. You can do this by using a hairdryer or opening all the windows. It will allow the air to circulate and remove the odor. Keep an eye on the weather and ensure the windows aren’t closed.

Using Air Freshener

If the smell persists, you may need to use an air freshener. It can help to mask the smell and get rid of it. Make sure you use an air freshener that is safe for your car.

Using an Odor Eliminator

If you’re having trouble eliminating the smell with baking soda, try using an odor eliminator. It is a product you can use to eliminate the odor. It’s a liquid that can be sprayed into the air.

Fresh air can also help to eliminate odors. A long drive with the windows down could be extremely beneficial.

If you’re in a hurry, try cleaning the car with bleach. But be cautious. Bleach can evaporate and produce a hazardous gas. Hiring a professional to assist you with this might be a good idea.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a vinegar smell?

It’s a pervasive odor that a variety of things can cause. It’s a sign that something is wrong with your car.

Q: How do I get rid of a vinegar smell?

Try using baking soda to get rid of it. It’s a great way to eliminate odors. You can also try using an odor eliminator.

Q: Can I use bleach to get rid of the vinegar smell?

Yes, you can. But it’s not recommended. Bleach can evaporate and produce a hazardous gas. It’s best to have a professional assist you.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed our blog about how to get the vinegar smell out of cars. We know how frustrating it is when you can’t get rid of that vinegar smell from your car. However, there are various ways you can use to remove it.

We know this is frustrating, but we hope one of these will help you remove the vinegar smell from your car. Thank you for reading. We appreciate your time!

Thomas James

Thomas James is an experienced auto mechanic who enjoys writing comprehensive guides and offering valuable tips on various car issues.

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