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What's that smell? (getting rid of interior scents)

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When I got my Pathfinder a bit over a month ago, the previous owner had bathed it in some sort of deoderizer/scent, obviously to cover up smoking smells in it. While the vehicle was pretty clean, a close look (under the driver's seat, for example) revealed cigarette ash.

Now, a smoker's vehicle isn't an automatic disqualification for me. I don't smoke (and definitely not in vehicles), and I've always had good luck getting the smell out with a very thorough cleaning and usually a fabric shampoo (seats and carpet). This one, however, was the worst by far. The smell wasn't actually even the smoke that was bothersome; it was the scent used to cover up the smoke smell.

I have used every trick in the book on this. Super deep cleaning; even cleaning A/C ducting, pulling dash, interior , and door panels, shampooing the carpet and seats, all manners of neutral deodorizers, baking soda, vinegar,...when I say everything, I mean everything. No matter what I did, it still smelled like this stupid Axe-body-spray-like air freshener once it heated up again from the sun. My wife wouldn't even ride in it because it aggravated her allergies so much.

I finally broke down and bought an ozone generator from Amazon a couple of days ago. It was cheap enough if it actually worked, and with Prime, it would get delivered next-day. I got it in, set it up on the vehicle, and ran it for the recommended 30 minutes. Then, I left the vehicle open with a fan to ventilate it for about an hour. I went to pick up some things from the store, came back, and once the hour for venting was up, I went to smell the truck interior.

It smelled like....nothing. It had no scent whatsoever, even in the rear seat backs where it was undoubtedly the most potent previously (I guess that's where they set off the scent bomb at). I closed it up and let it sit out in the hot sun all afternoon (which is guaranteed to heat up whatever smell you have and bring it to the forefront). After 6-7 hours of baking in the Arizona sun, I opened the door again expecting the scent to be back at leas faintly, and still...nothing.

I was skeptical that ozone would really be that effective, but I'm now a believer. If you've been battling smells in the interior, the small cost to eliminate them are worth it.

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