6 Ways to Overcome a Stinky Passenger

How to overcome a smelly passenger

Let’s cut straight to the point: not everyone smells like a rose garden. Whether you’re stuck with occupation-related odours or second hand pet smells, a stinky passenger can be enough to make you want to ditch the car at traffic lights and walk the rest of the way.

While confronting smelly passengers directly may put a stop to any future stinkyness, it may tarnish your relationship and make for awkward journeys in the future. Here are our top tips for dealing with a smelly co-traveller without having to hurt anyone’s feelings!

1. Get the Rules in Early

If you’ve recently started a new co-driving relationship such as carpooling, it would be less awkward in the long run to mention any ground rules for riding in your car at the beginning of the arrangement.

To avoid your car being tarnished with the smell of cigarette smoke for example, mention that you don’t allow anyone to smoke in your car, not even your lovely grandma. Most grateful passengers will kindly oblige, and schedule their smoking around your future rides together.

2. Keep It Fresh

Suffering a passenger with death breath? Keep a pack of mints or chewing gum in the glovebox for such occasions. Navigating the refreshing treat into their mouth may take a little tactfulness, however. Blurting “YOUR BREATH IS MELTING MY FACE, EAT THIS MINT” might not be a great way to phrase it; instead, maybe treat yourself to a minty morsel and offer them one in passing.

Value my car

3. Save Meals for the Dinner Table

Taking meals and snacks into a car can be a common cause of a bad whiff. The tantalising smell of a greasy cheeseburger may be enough to tempt you into the drive-thru when you’re hungry, but the stale smell left behind by any leftover snacks isn’t exactly refreshing (especially when left in the footwell for weeks before cleaning).

If your passenger can’t help but get their munch on in your car, be sure that they to put wrappers or leftovers straight into the nearest bin. Stale food and sugary leftovers don’t just smell bad, but can attract all kinds of creepy crawlies too.

4. Stockpile Air Fresheners

Keeping a ready supply of air fresheners in your glove box is a good way to quickly tackle any in-car smelliness. While they can be a little pricey in petrol stations and motorway services, you can score some great deals online, especially when buying in bulk.

If your passenger asks why you’ve decided to hang 7 fresheners from your rear-view mirror, politely remind them that is none of their business and then turn up the radio to drown out further questioning.

Value my car

5. Fabric Freshener

If your odour problems are coming from a smelly pet passenger that stinks up the place during your travels together, you may want to invest in some fabric freshener.

The well-known ‘wet dog’ smell can often sink into fabrics and upholstery fairly quickly, so a quality fabric freshener or deodoriser can prove valuable if you regularly have a dog or two in the car. A quick application after each trip should be enough to keep your car smelling reasonably fresh, but a regular bath for the pooch can be just as effective!

6. The Old “Is It Hot In Here?” Trick

Immediately winding a window down when a passenger enters your car may be a dead giveaway that you find their odour hard to deal with.

Game your way into an open window scenario by saying some textbook ‘warm person’ things like “I’m so warm”, “this car is roasting” or who can forget the classic “I’m very sweaty right now” and then roll down the window for some well-earned fresh air.

Or failing all that, give up, sell your car and never have to deal with a smelly passenger again… BE the smelly passenger instead!

We hope you find our top tips for dealing with a stinky passenger useful! Be sure to check back on the We Buy Any Car blog soon for more helpful tips & tricks!

Value my car




With a passion for great content and all things vehicular, Daniel combines his interests to update our blog with the latest and greatest motoring news.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *