Car perfumes are cheap, generally smell good and come in a variety of different scents. They're a quick way to freshen up an otherwise plain-smelling interior, or even mask a putrid one if you're that type of owner (which we hope you're not).
Unfortunately, if a bottle of the liquid leaks or melts, it can seriously damage your plastic trim and other interior bits, as this reader found out a couple of weeks ago. So we got to wondering if there are any safer ways to spruce up your cabin's smell other than car perfume. Here are a few of them:
1) Coffee beans
Who doesn't love the scent of coffee beans? If you're interested in replicating the odor of a steaming hot cup of joe inside your vehicle, here's how. Grab a thin sock (preferably not a smelly one), fill it with your favorite coffee beans or ground using a funnel, and securely tie off the end with rubber bands or cable tie. Alternatively, you can fill a mason jar instead. You can place a few underneath your seats, or even near an A/C vent if you wish.
2) Orange peels
These are similar to coffee beans in the sense that they're cheap and readily available. Place them (or other similar fruits) in a mason jar or any similar container—not a sock—and punch holes into the lid. Then simply place these inside your car. Important reminder: Don't forget to replace your jar's contents every once in a while. Orange peels are organic and will eventually lose their scent or even rot. You can place salt inside the jar to help absorb moisture.
3) Essential oils
A variety of diffusers are available for your car's cabin online. Buy one, and load it up with an essential oil of your choice. Just remember to avoid using oils or scents which will make you sleepy behind the wheel. Alternatively, you can simply put a drop of essential oil or two on a cloth or tissue and place it near an A/C vent—though the diffuser approach should be more efficient.
Alright, so maybe you don't want your car smelling good. Maybe you'd rather your cabin didn't have any odor at all. Well, just buy a bottle or box of dehumidifier, or go the DIY approach by filling a container with natural alternatives like charcoal or wood chips.
5) Buy a car with its own adaptive scents
Have a spare couple of million pesos sitting idle somewhere? Just buy a car with its own built-in 'odor-control' system. Some of Peugeot's newer vehicles, for example, are equipped with climate control systems with customizable scents from "internationally renowned perfumer" Antoine Lie. Available smells include Cosmic Cuir, Aerodrive, and our personal favorite, Harmony Wood. Fancy stuff.
6) The classic pine tree
Cheap, comes in a variety of different scents, easily disposable, and they won't ruin you interior either. Oh, and they're pretty neat to look at as well. You can't go wrong with the classics.