How to Unclog Air Vents in Car: From Removing Smell to Cleaning Fungi

Car’s air conditioning vents often remain untreated because they are vents and so they are hard to reach. Some of you may forget cleaning the vents and some of you may not care. Whatever the reason is, the untreated vents for longer create an aura of unpleasant smell at some point. So as the solution to let your car’s interior blow fresh aroma, it is vital to learn how to unclog air vents in car. Let’s see how you can clean the vents very easily-

How to Unclog Air Vents in Car: The Effortless Approach

If you smell odor in your car that comes back once the car spray fades away, it is time to implement a permanent solution so the smell doesn’t happen all over again. It is recommended to clean your A/C vents once every month or two.

Cleaning Your Vents Using the Homemade Solution

The first method is about using all homemade products so you won’t have to make any additional hassle. You would need a sponge, lemon, vinegar, and warm water.

Combine warm water and white vinegar and a few drops of lemon so the vinegar doesn’t smell awkward. Else, you can also use lemon-scented vinegar. Dip the sponge into the solution and use it between the vents. Prior to using the solution you can clean the dust and debris there using separate sponge stick. This is going to be a cost-effective method about how to unclog air vents in car. Finish the cleaning session with a dry sponge so no solution remains left there.

There are cleaning solutions available in the market that you can purchase if you don’t want to go with homemade mixture. You can find the brushes as well as the cleaning agent in the Dollar Store or anywhere else.

Choose the cleaner that is scent-free else you will smell the scent in the car until it fades away. Especially if you are allergic to any kind of smell, use a scent-free cleaner.

Once you are done cleaning the vents, you should always keep the brush ready for next use. To clean the brushes, take warm water and put some detergent into it. Take your brushes and dip them into this mixture. This would remove any grease, dust, and the cleaning solution. Keep the brushes separate and let them dry.

Remember do not forget cleaning the lower air vents as well that provide the airflow to your legs. These vents can be found under the dash and they are equally important to clean.

How to unclog air vents in car
White vinegar and lemon make perfect cleansing agent for AC ducts (Photo Source: wikihow)


Replacing Your Car Cabin’s Air Filter

Once you are done with cleaning the AC vent, you should also have a check on the car’s cabin filter. A filter that hasn’t been replaced in months may create an unpleasing smell. To locate the air filter, you may need to check the car manual as in different models an air filter can be located at different points.

If you have a newer model from Honda or Toyota, you can check the air filter by lowering the glove compartment beneath the dashboard on the driver’s side. You might need to unscrew the bolts there to access the filter. You may also stumble upon the clip that keeps the filter in place, just take it off and there you have it.

Pull your old filter and replace it with a new one. On an average, an air filter should be replaced after 15,000 and 30,000 miles however, it also depends on the area you drive in; the more polluted the area is the more frequently you need to change the air filter.

How to unclog air vents in car
Changing air filter gets rid of car smell (Photo Source: shuttershock)

Cleaning the Air Vents

The above two methods are about cleaning the air duct and air filter that are on the interior side of the car. The air vents reside on the outside near the windshield. With time, dust and debris may get accumulated that you can just brush off. Later, use a sanitizing enzymatic cleaner and clean it off with a handheld brush.

This will not just act as an air freshener but kill mold or fungi growth as well. As the spray is antibacterial, this is a permanent solution to odor or any smell. Make sure your car is off and the doors and windows are closed while you are spraying the disinfectant. Taking care is the key here that you can have some Maintenance Tips about to keep your interiors from smelling.

Now to spread the solution evenly, switch on both the air conditioner and fan blower to max and let them be for about ten minutes. Now you can turn off the A/C and open all your windows and let the blower run for five more minutes. This would be an easy and complete clean up for any musty odor that should fix the smell problem.

This works in most of the cases, but if it does not, you should not hesitate taking your car to a professional car cleaner or the nearby car repair shop.

Quick Tips to Prevent Smell in Your Interiors

Turn on your AC three to five minutes prior to turning on the engine. Open all the windows and this would weaken any moldy smell. Do this regularly when you go anywhere till you do not find a permanent solution.

Make sure no debris and dust collect around the air vents and ducts. Clean these parts weekly or at least twice a month with the cleaning agent and do use an air freshener that you are not allergic to.

Prevent future mold growth by turning only the blower without the air conditioner on periodically. Do this once a month or at least every two months and open all your doors and windows.

How to unclog air vents in car
Get professional car cleaner to get rid of moldy odor (Photo Source: depositphotos)


Once you are determined about learning how to unclog air vents in car, getting rid of the smell comes easy. Those who do not find the time or consider it difficult to deal with the vents and ducts can opt for a professional help. Choose a warm sunny day of the month before you keep running the blower to flush away any smell.