9 Car Air Fresheners That'll Make Your Ride Smell New Again

By Emily Estep

Those of us that spend a lot of time in our cars know that a truly lived-in vehicle can begin to have a certain kind of smell. We've all been there. Thankfully, using one of the best car air fresheners can make your car smell like a place you're not embarrassed for people to ride in.

There are a variety of air fresheners you can use, including ones that are designed specifically for cars and others that just happen to work perfectly there. Some plug into car outlets and are designed for cup holders, while others fit into nifty little spots in your car (like your vents) that you'd never expect.

While almost all air fresheners are designed to emit a pleasant smell, some can actually pull the bad smells out of the air. Some of these odor-magnets are even unscented, which is great for anyone with allergies or sensitivities to certain fragrances. And if you're not sensitive to fragrances, there are car air fresheners that even diffuse essential oils which can help you stay calm during rush hour.

These nine highly-rated car air fresheners will freshen up your ride and make you stop cringing every time you set food inside your vehicle.

An Air Purifier That Can Also Charge Your Devices

OSCOO Car Air Purifier, $17, Amazon

This air purifier plugs into your cigarette lighter, and it does more than just freshen your air. It includes a built-in USB port that emits enough energy to charge your phone.

An Essential Oil Diffuser That Fits Into Your Cup Holder

InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser, $20, Amazon

This essential oil diffuser fits right into your cup holder and can also change between seven different LED lights, adding some visual ambiance to your now fresh-smelling car. You can also switch it between "continuous" and "intermittent" mist modes, depending on just how much mist you're looking for.

A Purifying Bamboo Charcoal Bag That Absorbs Odors Like A Magnet

Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag, $10, Amazon

This simple air purifying bag is packed with bamboo charcoal, which absorbs and removes odors. All you have to do is stash it in the smelliest region of your car, and it'll remove any unwanted smells.

An Essential Oil Diffuser That Clips Onto Your Vents

Housweety Car Essential Oil Diffuser, $11, Amazon

This essential oil air freshener clips to the vents in your car and comes with 11 refill pads. Simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to one of the pads, pop it in the freshener, and you're good to go. Your car will be hit with freshness each time you turn on the air conditioner or heater.

An Assortment Of Classic Car Air Fresheners For The Purists Out There

Little Trees Assorted Air Fresheners, $18 (24 Pack), Amazon

Little Trees are a classic go-to car air freshener, designed to hang from your rearview mirror. These multi-pack gives you 24 trees in six scents — strawberry, Peachy Peach, Lively Lemon, blackberry clove, wild cherry, and coconut — which should keep your vehicle fresh for months, maybe even up to a year.

An Ionizer That Plugs Into The Cigarette Lighter

LINKPAL Car Air Purifier, $16, Amazon

This air purifier plugs directly into your vehicle's cigarette lighter and emits negative ions to fight odor, keeping your car nice and fresh inside. It actually destroys odors instead of simply masking them and can even neutralize some bacteria and various viruses in the air.

A Bamboo-Charcoal Freshener That Hangs On Your Seat

PURGGO Car Air Freshener, $20, Amazon

This air freshener is designed to hang around the back of any standard car seat, and it lasts for more than a year. One Amazon reviewer raved, "I no longer have to deal with the lingering food smells from fast food or the stinky sweat smell from the kids' tennis shoes and/or sports equipment bags."

A Set Of Discreet Scent Sachets You Can Place Anywhere

Qvean Air Freshener, $13 (3 Pack), Amazon

These air freshener sachets will fill your whole vehicle with either a berry scent, a tropical scent, or a cocktail-inspired "delight" scent. One Amazon reviewer said "Even before opening the package the smell was all over my apartment," so you know they'll fill a car quickly.

A Friendly Little Alien That Diffuses Essential Oils

Caitlins Home Essential Oil Diffuser, $16, Amazon

This essential oil diffuser is like no other because it comes in the form of a cute little alien buddy. You can set this up on your dashboard or anywhere else where it'll be stable, and fill it with your favorite essential oils. The robot is available in white, pink, and blue — whichever best matches your aesthetic.

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