What is the Best Air Freshener for Car?

Although the best-smelling car air fresheners are subjective, the best ones overall are another story. So, you may be wondering what is the best air freshener for car overall? They should last a long time, mask foul odors efficiently, and be at a reasonable price. I’ve listed six of the best car air fresheners that won’t only make your car smell fantastic but also look great!

See which one suits your ride the best.

What is the Best Air Freshener for Car? Our Top 6 Picks!




Little Trees 10-Pack Car Air Freshener (Black Ice) (what is the best air freshener for car - product 2)

When it comes to cheap yet efficient car air fresheners, nothing can beat Little Trees. It’s a classic pick among car owners proving that you don’t have to be fancy to get stellar results! These cardboard car air fresheners are enough to make any vehicle smell fantastic for a day! Hence, it’s become a popular pick for rideshare vehicles.

Little Trees offer over 40 scents, but I, alongside the crowd, suggest Black Ice. It’s a modern and neutral scent that should please any driver or passenger. And it’s one of the most famous fragrances from the brand, making your vehicle smell pleasant and inviting.

Scent aside, the overall design of these cardboard air fresheners is pleasant. They look like those classic “pine trees” in older vehicles. But these are more flexible. The design allows you to hang one from your car’s rearview mirror or place it near your air vents. Either way, it’s a fantastic way to freshen up your vehicle fast!

These cardboard car air fresheners should last you a day, but you can extend for a bit by opening its package little by little. The only downside is that the plastic wrapper hanging onto the air freshener won’t look the best. But if you don’t mind this, this can be an excellent way to save money and prolong the air freshener’s longevity.


PURGGO Fragrance-Free (product 3)

Are you looking for a natural car air freshener? Look no further than PURGGO’s Fragrance-Free Car Air Freshener. It’s one of the best health-friendly air fresheners for cars, boasting chemical-free properties.

This product contains 100% activated bamboo charcoal, absorbing foul smells. And since it only uses that component, you can expect the car air freshener to last for a while. But PURGGO has outdone itself and manufactured this car air freshener to last for over a year!

As a result, many have crowned this as one of the world’s longest-lasting air fresheners for cars.

You don’t need to buy a new one when the one-year span ends as you can always refill it. This air freshener only uses bamboo and hemp, which shouldn’t be pricy. Also, since it uses natural resources, it creates a safer environment for passengers and drivers, ideal for those with allergies.

Aside from its longevity and safety, this car air freshener’s efficiency is unparalleled. Its activated bamboo charcoal can absorb all nasty odors, leaving you in a fresher, good-smelling car. Finally, wrapping all these up is a sleek and modern design that can blend well into any car interior.

Overall, if you’re looking to go natural, PURGGO is the way!


Chemical Guys AIR_101_16 (New Car Smell) (product 4)

Nothing beats the freshness of the new car smell. But did you know that it’s possible to recreate the same scent and sensation without buying a new vehicle? Chemical Guys’ AIR_101_16 Car Air Freshener has made it possible to make any ride smell brand new!

The AIR_101_16 aims to replicate the smell of a new car, and though it hasn’t precisely recreated it, it has done a decent job! Its fragrance isn’t too overpowering and does fantastic in covering up foul smells. The brand created this air freshener by combining odor-eliminating enzymes and mild perfume.

Besides that, this air freshener’s strength is no joke! It’s concentrated, and you can use it as-is or dilute it with distilled water. Either way, it has proven efficient in masking foul odors in a car. And just a single whiff of it is enough to freshen up any vehicle!

Notably, this car air freshener does great in masking smoke or cigarette smells, which is ideal for avid smokers.

Overall, even if it doesn’t perfectly recreate the new car smell we all adore, it’s the closest you’ll get to experience it without buying a new vehicle. Chemical Guys AIR_101_16 is your best bet if you’re looking for something to eliminate foul odors fast!


Ozium 806326 Smoke & Odors Eliminator (product 5)

The Ozium 806326 Smoke & Odors Eliminator Car Air Freshener is the best pick for avid smokers. As its name says, it works well in eliminating cigarette odors.

It’s a car air freshener in a canister containing a gel-like substance. And thanks to its convenient design, you can place the product anywhere in your car. Regardless of where you put it, it will absorb all the foul odors over time while releasing a subtle yet pleasant fragrance.

This air freshener isn’t the best pick for making cars smell great fast. After all, it was formulated to absorb and eliminate foul odors over time. But if you’re not in a rush, this car air freshener makes for an excellent pick.

Aside from its efficiency, Ozium’s longevity is pretty good as well. A single canister for this car air freshener can last you a month with repeated exposure. But it can last up to four if you rarely use it. Still, it’s one of the pricier options on this list.

Also, it’s worth noting that many users have complained about this air freshener’s distinct smell. It doesn’t smell bad, but many find it too overpowering when initially opening the can. But this should subside over time, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

Overall, Ozium is an excellent pick for avid smokers looking to mask the cigarette smell in their cars. It can also be used for family vehicles that often get stained as it eliminates strong odors quite well.


Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag Car Air Freshener  (what is the best air freshener for car - product 6)

If you’re thinking of going all-natural with your scents, consider Moso Natural. This car air freshener comes in unique bags containing activated bamboo charcoal. Its unique design aims to absorb terrible odor and purify the air inside the car. And unlike other air fresheners, this one is 100% fragrance-free!

Each bag can remove odor within 90 square feet, which is ideal for absorbing foul smells from the car cabin to the trunk. And it works pretty well thanks to its use of bamboo charcoal, which is naturally porous. As a result, it traps particles as it goes through each bag, and yes, that includes scents!

Also, thanks to its use of bamboo charcoal, this air freshener can deodorize cars for two years! And after the allotted time, you can reuse the bamboo charcoal as a fertilizer.

But the downside to this is that it can’t remove foul smells like spray variations. So, if you’re looking for a fast solution, consider the other products on this list. Otherwise, this makes for a great car air freshener long-term.

These air purifying bags are an excellent alternative for car owners who want to stay all-natural. After all, they’re 100% chemical- and fragrance-free.

Choosing the Best Air Freshener for Car (Buying Guide)

We all know that car air fresheners are essential car accessories that every car owner should have. But because of the broad variations and brands available, it can be tricky to choose one. So, how can we find the best car air freshener? Below are a few factors to consider during your search to find the perfect scent for your ride! 

Type of Car Air Freshener

Car air fresheners come in various scents, designs, and applications. As a result, it can be challenging to pick one variation. So, to make your search easier, it’s best to consider what type of car air freshener would work for your car best. 

Here are common types of car air fresheners to give you a better insight: 

⭕ Plug-In

Plug-in air fresheners come with a lighter feature and a built-in liquid container. It’s like those home air fresheners you’d see typically plugged into wall outlets. Once you attach one to your car, the liquid gets heated up, releasing a pleasant scent. 

In short, it functions as an auto air freshener, replacing unpleasant odors in your ride. 

⭕ Cardboard

A cheap yet effective car air freshener to consider is cardboard variations. It works wonders in freshening up any vehicle, plus they often look the best. Cardboard air freshener for cars can add a personal touch to your ride, making it uniquely for you. 

⭕ Spray

If you’re looking for a quick way to make your car smell fantastic, spray car air fresheners are the way! They let you release a pleasant scent over a short period and allow you to target bad-smelling areas. 

⭕ Can

A can car air freshener comes in metal or plastic canisters containing gel. They come with lids with small holes that you can twist to control the level of scent released. You usually place this kind of air freshener in a cup holder. 

⭕ Vent Clip

A vent-clip car air freshener similarly functions like plug-in variations. Plus, they contain the same lighter feature and built-in liquid container. The difference is that you can clip them onto air vents, releasing your preferred scent. 


Scent or fragrance is subjective, and the same rule applies to finding the best car air freshener. In other words, whether you prefer a fresher or fruity scent, it’s up to you! After all, you’re the one who’ll be using the car, and it makes sense to make it smell like how you’d want to. 

I suggest testing different brands and their signature scents to see what will work best for your ride. 

Appearance of the Car Air Freshener

Well-designed car air fresheners don’t only make your ride smell fantastic, but they can also dramatically boost its appeal! Various car air fresheners may help improve your vehicle’s interior aesthetic significantly. But not all of them. For instance, some air fresheners, such as spray variations, won’t be visible until you whip them out to use them. 

So, when choosing a type of car air freshener to settle with, consider how it would look in your car. 


Depending on the side of your vehicle, the type of car air freshener you pick can be vital. For instance, canister car air fresheners take up a lot of space, occupying entire cup holders. Meanwhile, air fresheners like plug-ins and vent-clip designs are space savers. You can clip these on your car vents or your cigarette lighter slots.

Variety of Scents

Although sticking to a scent variation is nice, it’s better to spice things up now and then. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to choose a brand offering various scents. Doing so lets your car smell fantastic and new every time! Moreover, different scents do better in masking foul odors than the other. 

So, it’s better to stick to brands offering various packages. You can test out different fragrances based on your current needs this way. Plus, you’ll have the option to switch around each mix if you get tired of using one for a while. 

Duration of the Car Air Freshener

Duration is a crucial factor when choosing an air freshener for a car. After all, it determines how long it’ll make your vehicle smell good. Usually, expensive variations such as vent clips and plug-ins last longer than cheaper ones like cardboard car air fresheners. Still, it doesn’t make sense to pay a higher price if you’re only looking for an air freshener to freshen up your car temporarily. 

So, consider duration carefully when shopping for a car air freshener to pick the best one that meets your needs. 

? Chemicals

It’s best to choose a car air freshener with little to no harmful chemicals. Although they might smell great, these can be dangerous to your health. Studies have linked harsh chemicals in air fresheners to symptoms like nausea and conditions as bad as cancer. So, it’s better to be safe and lay low on the chemical when shopping for an air freshener for your car. 

How to Make My Car Smell Good without an Air Freshener? 6 Alternatives

Besides using the best car air freshener, there are many ways to make your vehicle smell great again. Unfortunately, no matter how clean we keep our car’s interior, bad odors are bound to arise. Luckily, you can keep these foul smells at bay by following these tips:

✔️ Regularly Clean Your Car’s Air Vents

Among the most common causes of foul odors in a car is dirty air vents. When these accumulate dirt and other debris, it’ll gather germs and make your car smell awful. I recommend regularly cleaning out your car’s air vents, whether by you or a pro. 

But to save money, you can always do the task yourself by using sponges or cotton swabs. Regardless, ensure you cover both the upper and lower vents for the best results. And while we’re at it, I recommend checking the cabin air filter. It would help if you also changed it often to keep your car smelling fresh. 

✔️ Swap Car Air Fresheners with Essential Oils

Essential oils are excellent alternatives to car air fresheners. They can keep your car smelling fantastic while promoting aromatherapy. In other words, it can help you have a more relaxing ride. For instance, you can use scents like peppermint to prevent nausea during long trips. 

It’s best to apply this with a diffuser, which you can put on your vehicle’s console for instant results. Alternatively, you may place cotton balls dabbed with one or two drops of essential oil. 

✔️ Freshen Up Your Car’s Upholstery

Although regularly vacuuming your vehicle’s upholstery is enough to keep the dirt and dust away, it doesn’t free it from stains. And when ignored, this can lead to foul smells in your ride’s interior. So, it’s best to freshen up your car’s upholstery regularly. There are many ways to tackle freshening up a vehicle’s interior, depending on the upholstery’s material.

For instance, you may use baking soda for cloth seats. Meanwhile, you can use toothpaste or vinegar for leather upholstery. Either way, ensure to let your car’s interior completely dry to prevent foul odors from arising any further. You can do this by letting it air dry or wiping the interior with laundry sheets. 

✔️ Grab Your Baking Soda

One of the best deodorizers is baking soda. It’s flexible and works with any material, making it the perfect alternative to a car air freshener. And the best part is you only need to sprinkle some of it on your car’s seats and flooring. After two hours or more, you can vacuum your interior, which should be enough to eliminate all foul odors. 

Another way to incorporate baking soda is by adding some in a container and adding two or more drops of essential oil. This mixture can act as an instant deodorizer, making your ride smell better. 

✔️ Observe Clean Habits when in the Car

Besides cleaning your ride, it’s also best to adapt to better, cleaner habits when inside. The driver and the passengers must abide by good practices to keep the car smelling great long-term. Also, it’s best to avoid smoking inside the vehicle since it can stink up the place—literally! 

Aside from that, make sure never to leave trash inside the car, especially if it’s food or drinks. Leaving these things alone can leave a rotten odor, especially when left overnight. And if accidental spills do happen, clean them ASAP.

✔️ Give Your Car a Detailed Cleaning

Finally, give your ride a detailed cleaning to ensure that no foul odors or germs get left behind in your car. While you can save some time and have your local carwash do this, DIY is better. After all, no one knows your vehicle better than you! And you know every nook and cranny of your car, making it easier for you to clean. 

A reliable vacuum cleaner is all you need to give your ride a detailed cleaning. It should have a hose and attachments that fit into the tightest squeezes inside your vehicle. This way, you should be able to reach even the hardest to reach places in your car. 

Remember to clean everything, from your vents down to your floor mats! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best air freshener for car that lasts the longest?

A: The top brand that car owners and dealerships vouch for as the longest-lasting car air freshener is PURGGO. Any variation of their car air fresheners can last over a year. And it works so well thanks to the presence of bamboo charcoal absorbing foul odors instead of masking them with an artificial scent. 

Q: How can I keep my car smelling fantastic all the time?

A: Aside from using a car air freshener, you can keep your vehicle smelling its best by cleaning it regularly. Also, if you’re an avid smoker, I recommend avoiding smoking in your car as it can stink it up—literally! Finally, keep your car interior dry by closing your windows and using a floor mat. 

Q: What do car dealerships do to make vehicles have that new car smell?

A: Most dealers use Ozium to absorb foul odors in used cars, making them smell brand new. They often use it to freshen up old vehicles, but you can also use it on new vehicles. For instance, after cleaning your leather car interior at home, you can freshen up your car with Ozium. Either way, it’s an excellent sanitizing spray you can use to keep your ride smelling nice.

Q: Is using car air fresheners dangerous?

A: Most commercial car air fresheners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), harming our health. It’s a synthetic chemical that emits pleasant scents but can be dangerous. VOCs can cause symptoms like headaches and nausea. Moreover, some studies have linked VOCs with severe medical conditions such as cancer. But this doesn’t mean you can’t use an air freshener anymore. You have to be more careful in choosing one.

Q: Can car air fresheners make my ride smell good?

A: Car air fresheners can make any vehicle smell fantastic and may also improve its looks. After all, there is a plethora of scents and designs you can explore! But keep in mind that some solely function as scent boosters while others mask foul odors.

Final Words

What is the best air freshener for car? While the scent depends on your unique preference, the best ones should last long and are worth the money. It should be able to freshen up your car regardless of its model, size, and overall upkeep. Each product listed will give lasting results, making your ride smell better than ever!

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