The Laundry Staple That Will Keep Your Car Smelling Fresh During Your Next Road Trip

Road trips, whether end-of-summer road trips or excursions during the winter holidays, usually mean a car stuffed with luggage and people piled in. They can be fun: you may have the music blasting with your friends singing along in the backseat. They can be boring: everyone but you might be asleep, leaving you to entertain yourself. They can be stressful: maybe you're road-tripping with toddlers who insist on arguing. Whatever kind of trip you're having, the car is likely full for hours as you cover long stretches of road.

After you get out to stop and get some fresh air, returning to the car can be jarring. The contrast between the outside air and the stuffy air in the car can be stark. If you stopped for food and ate in the car, the aromas may still be present, and that, mixed with the subtle smells of body odor can be a lot to take in. If you or someone in your group had a cup of coffee, that bitter smell may be mingled in there too. Your car is smelly. While there's no way to avoid scents from taking over entirely, you can take advantage of the beloved laundry staple, dryer sheets, to help keep your smelling car fresh.

Dryer sheets to keep your car smelling fresh

While you're packing for your road trip, throw in a box of dryer sheets. Once you're in the car, tape them to, or wrap them around the air vents. The air blowing out of them will spread the fresh scent of the sheet around the car, helping mitigate the other smells that tend to overpower the vehicle. It's not perfect and won't block out all the potential stench, but it can make a difference.

If you really want to fight the road trip aromas, you can also bring an odor neutralizer or air freshener spray. If you bring the spray, just make sure to spray it while nobody's in the car and let it sit for a while before getting in.

In addition to these tips, don't be afraid to roll down the window every so often. If you don't want to do so while driving on the highway, you can leave them slightly cracked open — just enough so that it's not noticeable — when you stop at rest areas, restaurants, and gas stations.

Minimizing odor

Dryer sheets are versatile and lightweight, meaning they'll hardly take up any space when you bring them along on your road trip. If you want to keep your car smelling even fresher, you can switch out the dryer sheets on the vent every so often. The more people you have in your car, the more often you'll want to do this.

Other tips to minimize odors in your car include always cleaning up spills right away. Have paper towels or napkins on hand so that the moment something escapes its container, you can wipe it up to prevent the odor from seeping in. Next, you can utilize a moisture absorber — this is especially helpful when you're driving through areas with humid climates. When it comes to eating, try to eat outside of the car. If this isn't doable, try cracking the windows open while you eat so the aromas from the food have a place to escape.

Road trips don't have to be smelly. Being mindful about odor and how to minimize it can make all the difference.