If you accidentally spill milk on your car, you will first have to deal with cleaning it, and then a few days later, you will have to deal with a strong unpleasant smell of spoiled milk. Milk can penetrate deep into the upholstery or carpet of a car and leave an unpleasant odor that can linger for weeks or even months. Properly cleaning up the mess and then dealing with the odor is key to making sure your vehicle doesn’t become unusable due to the strong smell of sour milk.
While a quick mist of Febreze or the installation of a pine air freshener will briefly improve your car’s odor, the rotten milk smell will return soon enough if not addressed directly. Follow this step-by-step guide to make sure you properly clean up the mess and remove the smell of spilled milk.
Part 1 of 2: Clean up the spill: how to remove the milk smell
- Carpet cleaner
- Charcoal bags
- Clean white cloth or paper towels
- Dish soap
- Hose or pressure washer
- Stain remover (optional)
- Steam cleaner (optional)
The first thing to fix is the spilled milk and clean it up quickly.
Step 1: absorb the milk. Never allow any spill to absorb or settle – a quick response is key if you want to prevent an increasingly unpleasant odor from filling your car. Use a clean white cloth or paper towels to absorb all visible, wet milk. It is best to pat the spill dry, as scrubbing it can push the milk onto the carpet or upholstery.
- Tip: A sponge is also useful for absorbing spills on leather seats or upholstery.
Step 2: take out the mats. If milk has been spilled on the floor mats, they must be removed from the car and washed.
If the milk is allowed to remain on the floor mats, it will eventually turn sour and the smell will fill the entire car. You can put cloth mats or rugs in a washing machine. Wash them at the highest temperature recommended on your vehicle’s care label or owner’s manual.
If the mats have a rubber backing or are made of plastic, spray them with a hose or pressure washer and use dish soap on the stain. Let the rugs dry in the sun in the sun, on a flat surface. If the vehicle has removable seat covers, remove and wash them according to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.
- Tip: Take out any removable car mats or fabrics and wash them if milk has stained them.
Step 3: rent a steam cleaner. If the spill was large, or if it has penetrated the surface, rent a steam cleaner to make sure that deep-set milk comes out. A steam cleaner provides a deep clean by spraying a cleaning solution and hot water on the carpet or fabric and removing water and dirt. This will help remove any odor-causing residue from the milk.
Follow the instructions on the steamer and change the water frequently. Allow carpet or upholstery to dry for 12 hours after cleaning.
- Tip: You can rent steam cleaners from a rental store or buy them at most grocery stores.
Step 4: consider a professional. If the spill, or more likely, the odor is still present, you may need to call a professional.
- Tip: Since prices can vary dramatically between different cleaners, ask your friends and family for recommendations to find reliable and affordable cleaning services.
Part 2 of 2: how to remove the smell of rotten milk from the car
- Sodium bicarbonate
- Carpet cleaner
- Charcoal bags
- Ground coffee
- Enzyme spray
- Upholstery cleaner
- White vinegar
Use any of the following methods to remove odors:
Method 1: baking soda. Baking soda helps remove and absorb odors.
After the spill area has completely dried, shake up enough baking soda to cover the affected area. Let the baking soda sit in place for three to four days and then vacuum it up. If the odor is still present, repeat these steps or continue with one of the other methods described here.
how to get the smell of milk out of the car carpet
Method 2: coffee grounds. Like baking soda, coffee grounds will absorb odors and leave your vehicle with a pleasant coffee aroma.
- Tip: Leave plastic containers filled with coffee grounds under car seats for about two weeks. This should help remove the bad milk smell from the car.
Method 3: …