How to Get Milk Smell Out of Car in 2 Easy Ways

Spilling something in your car at least once is inevitable. This is most especially true when you have a child or travel with pets often. It is important to know how to clean spills and eliminate unwanted odors correctly. You don’t want to mess up a good interior or expensive upholstery, would you?

how to get milk smell out of car

However, there is no need to fuss about it. As easy as your car can accumulate milk smell from spilled milk, it’s also easy to remove it. There are still a lot of other different odors out there that can emanate from your car. Some might indicate that something is wrong with your vehicle and that you have to get it diagnosed soon.

Today, we will be featuring a step by step instruction guide on how to get milk smell out of car. First, we will be telling you everything you need to know about milk smell.

What is milk smell?

As funny as it sounds, milk smell in your car directly comes from spilled milk. It only sticks around for a long time if not cleaned properly. Just wiping milk off from the dashboard or your car seat is not going to do it for you. You’re going to have to do something stronger.

spilled coffee on car

Any other effects?

Of course, spilling milk in your car can not only leave a smell that sticks around for a long. It can also leave unwanted stains on your seat, or wherever it was spilled. This scent, however, if not taken care of, can become sour smelling. Like spoiled milk.

But other than these effects, there are no other adverse effects of milk smell which can badly damage your car and its performance. Do note that like any other food spills/smell, leaving milk smell untouched might attract ants, cockroaches, or worst, even rats.

 cleaning the car seat

So be sure to clean spilled milk from your car appropriately and eliminate milk smell!

Things You Need

  • Coffee Grounds

Placing coffee grounds inside your car works as an effective car freshener. You can do this even when you are not eliminating any milk smell. If you want to smell like some good cafe and roasted coffee in the morning when you open your car, then do this.

  • Baking Soda

Not only does baking soda do a good job at making things white (even your teeth!) and scrubbing away stains, it also does an adequate job at absorbing the smell. Aka the milk smell.

  • Enzyme Spray/White Vinegar

White vinegar is a strong odor fighting substance. It can break up the proteins of the spilled milk, thus removing the milk. Another thing that’s good about it is it is chemical free.

However, if you don’t want to use vinegar spray, there are always other alternatives. An alternative might be the enzyme spray. An enzyme spray gets the job done by releasing powerful enzymes that eat away odor-causing residue.

You can find these in your local supermarkets. Do note that after an enzyme spray does its job, you must wipe it off. Also remember not to use it on leather or suede upholstery.

  • Steam cleaner

A steam cleaner is a cleaning appliance that makes use of vapor/steam. Steam then dries, cleans and then sanitizes any area where it has been applied, leaving your car spotless and odorless. Knowing how to use a steam cleaner properly will make your life easier!

  • Detergent

Detergent, of course, is something you probably have already dried. It might not be as effective but using a great soap can do the trick.

Steps to Follow in Removing Milk Smell

There are many ways to remove that annoying sour milk scent in your car. You can use a variety of materials and methods that will best suit your convenience. In this section, we will be teaching different techniques to help you get rid of that bad odor.

Method #1: Removing and Cleaning

Step 1: Wipe and Dry

cleaning seat inside the car

If the cause of that awful smell is spilled milk, then immediately wipe the wet areas. Use a damp cloth, paper towel, or a sponge. A sponge works because it soaks up the liquid that has seeped in your car’s flooring. Be sure to soak up all the moisture before continuing to step 2.

Step 2: Remove the floor mats

car mat

If there are spills in the floor mats of your vehicle, then it’s important to take them out after wiping. Wash the floor mats thoroughly with soap or detergent. Mats without rubber can be cleaned like normal clothes in the washing machine.

If your mats have rubber or plastic, use a watering hose and cleaning agent instead. Make sure to leave the mats out to air dry. Don’t use blowdryers!

Step 3: Use a Steam Cleaner

steam cleaner

Steam cleaners act as a last resort to use as a cleaning agent. Typically, steam cleaners have unique solutions that are designed to remove food smells. These solutions should be employed if the smell has penetrated deep into the surface of your vehicle’s interior.

Step 4: Consult a Professional

This step is an optional one to take. If a steam cleaner isn’t enough to remove the sour milk smell, then it’s best to go to the pros. One of the reasons why the bad smell might stick is it might be in parts that are hard to reach. What’s worse, the milk could’ve seeped beneath that particular equipment might be needed.

Method #2: Fighting Sour Milk Smell

Step 1: Baking Soda

baking soda

You’ve probably heard that baking soda is the solution to almost all kinds of stains. Well, it’s a super-ingredient in the cleaning industry. It’s a coveted ingredient in cleaning Jordans, and it can help your car too.

The reason for this is the absorption capability of baking soda. It absorbs dirt and even odor just by patching it up on an affected surface. You can do the same by putting it on the surface where the spill happened. Sit it out for a day or two, or maybe even a week.

Afterward, just simply dust it off or vacuum it and it should significantly lessen the odor. You also can choose our best car vacuum reviews here.

Step 2: Coffee is Better Than Milk

Coffee is better than milk. That’s a debatable topic when it comes to morning drinks. But when it comes to smell, coffee easily beats out milk as being more fragrant. Like milk, coffee has a strong smell that can stick for extended periods of time. However, unlike milk, coffee beans doesn’t emit a horrible smell once expired. (it takes a long time for it to expire too).

ground coffee

Having said that, if you have a bag of coffee grounds or beans at home, chuck it in a container. Afterward, put it on the spots that have the worst smell. Leave it for a week or two to spread the coffee goodness. You can even just leave the beans there and not bother removing it at all.

Step 3: Sour Against Sour?

The last kitchen ingredient here is white vinegar. Yep, you heard it right; you can use an acidic ingredient like vinegar to combat another sour smell like spoiled milk.

white vinegar

There’s a lot of chemistry when it comes to using vinegar. It’s a substance that can break down the enzymes in the spilled milk. Thus, this reduces the odor and sourness of the affected surface.

In this step, you’ll need to find a spray bottle. Make a solution that has a ratio of 4:1 (water to white vinegar). Spray it on the surface and wait a couple of hours before cleaning it with a wet cloth. Remember, open the windows or doors to let the air in when you’re waiting for the vinegar to do its trick.

Step 4: Enzyme Spray

Well, since we’re talking about enzymes, you can just jump to an enzyme spray immediately. Enzyme sprays are famous for removing pet odor at home. Likewise, you can use it for other bad smells in your car.

You can buy these at your local hardware store or order it online. An enzyme spray works similarly to what the vinegar does. The only difference is it’s better at doing the job. After all, it’s designed to eat away at odors.

Step 5: Use a Carpet Cleaner

carpet cleaner

Lastly, you can try using a carpet cleaner for your car’s mats and floor, too. Carpet cleaners have strong cleaning agents that can help remove the odor just as it does so on a regular carpet. It’s specially designed for fabric cleaning, so it works best if you use it on a mat or upholstery.

In a Nutshell

That awful milk smell can be troublesome if it sticks in your car. The good news is you can clean it with all sorts of liquid solutions. Some must be purchased in a hardware store, but there are also cheaper and more convenient alternatives that you can find in your house.

Because of its smell, you might want to avoid spilling milk or any liquid for that matter in your car. It’s always good to prevent first rather than deal with a headache later. Remember, the worst sour milk smells usually happen because car owners don’t attend to it immediately.

Also, some car owners don’t clean their cars regularly. Cleaning your car often won’t only remove bad smell, it will also prevent it from happening in the first place. Proper air ventilation is also crucial.

If there’s a foul odor already, never leave your car with its windows and doors completely shut. The smell will only worsen because it will spread from the entire surface towards the exterior.

Prevention is key. But should this incident happen, just be quick in action and try the simple steps we’ve laid out for you. Always remember, don’t cry over spilled milk!

Steven K. Galloway