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Seeing as how I haven't done any serious car work since the early 1980's, and I'm sure that available products have improved, what do other people use to clean up the interior of their cars, and get rid of that "Old Toyota" interior odor?

Some time ago (around 1986/87) I did a valve job and detail on my then Mother-in-Law's 70's Corolla station wagon so we could get it ready to sell. The engine work went fine, and I scrubbed the car out as best I could, but several of my friends commented that "It still smells like an old Jap car!".

The first time I opened up the doors on Ms Swan after she'd sat in the sun for a few hours, the aroma that came out took me back to working on that old Corolla wagon!

I'm going to start replacing the carpet after next weekend, and I'll try and clean the floor pan was well as I can before the new carpet goes in.

What are good cleaning products to use? I'm tempted to scrub the floor pan with Pine-Sol to try and get the smell out, but unless I really clean ALL the interior bits and pieces, I'm sure the smell will come back in short order.

I'm also trying to find the local auto upholstery shop that can do the door panels and other "soft" interior parts. I met somebody last year at Supras in Vegas who lives here in SoCal, and he had his door panels recovered, and they looked like new.

I know I'll probably never get ALL the smell out and keep it from returning, but I'd like to 'knock it down' as much as I can....
 

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Honestly for me i treat these cars like dusty old homes. Open all the doors/windows/hatch, and have some fans blowing fresh air in. Some febreeze off the bat to make it bearable. Remove and replace anything old and funky you can, great first step with the new carpet. Stuff like seats and floor mats you'd be surprised how well a rental carpet wet vac works, and then letting the sun cook things off a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I was definitely thinking of steam cleaning the seats.

After seeing some of the threads where people took the covers off and washed them, and reported how dirty the water was, I know they need to be cleaned.

I'll probably do them when I pull them out for the carpet.

The floor mats were so trashed I tossed them the other day. The drivers floor mat was "gooey" and the carpet is completely wasted due to the clutch master leak it had a few years ago, which is what prompted me to order new carpet for it.

Good tip on the Febreeze. I'll have to put some on the grocery lsit so my wife can get some next time she's out.
 

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As far as getting that "old funk" out of the car, the root of the problem as I have found is the following items.

Seat foam
jute padding (under the carpet)
Tar sound deadening mat

The only way I have been able to kill funk smells is by placing a box of apples (with a bag around the outside with the top open and the windows up) In the care for 1 to 2 weeks in the sun so that the apples go bad, and the gas / vapors from them going bad does an apple kinda magic that clears most funk from an interior.
 

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Remove all the interior panels and as much duct works as you can. Then clean the backsides and wipe everything down. There's a ridiculous amount of dust and old god knows what behind there.
 

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Seeing as how I haven't done any serious car work since the early 1980's, and I'm sure that available products have improved, what do other people use to clean up the interior of their cars, and get rid of that "Old Toyota" interior odor?
...
What are good cleaning products to use? I'm tempted to scrub the floor pan with Pine-Sol to try and get the smell out, but unless I really clean ALL the interior bits and pieces, I'm sure the smell will come back in short order.

I know I'll probably never get ALL the smell out and keep it from returning, but I'd like to 'knock it down' as much as I can....
Some pretty good ideas mentioned. I wouldn't go so far as Pine-sol, steam cleaning and a good sun dry works wonders.

In case you're interested, my 100% Soap Nut Powder is amazing for neutralizing the wreakiest odours. But I think mostly the stink comes from the cocofuzz under the carpet once it gets wet (check for AC evap or cowling vent plugged on passenger side). Pulling up and replacing some of the underlayer with a peel and seal duct insulation material you can get at Home Depot (something like Fatmat), add a plug-in ionizer and you otta be good to go. :thumbsup:
 

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Yeah, I'd also steer away from pine-sol. It can easily become overpowering and just as nauseating in a small box like that. I'd go with HOT water and a small splash of bleach.
 

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The only way I have been able to kill funk smells is by placing a box of apples (with a bag around the outside with the top open and the windows up) In the care for 1 to 2 weeks in the sun so that the apples go bad, and the gas / vapors from them going bad does an apple kinda magic that clears most funk from an interior.
I had never heard the apple trick so i got to googling, it is up there with leaving white vinegar in a bowl for a few days as far as most suggested easy and cheap way to get rid of smells. Open coffee cans seems to be recommended as well. I read quite a few links, but this one seems to cover it all.
https://www.reddit.com/r/LifeProTips/comments/20eprq/lpt_request_getting_the_smoke_smell_out_if_cars/

This is a $25 thing recommended quite a bit as well, apparently this just releases a ton of chlorine so you close all the windows and it works the magic for a few days, just have to air it out for awhile before driving because it will smell like a public pool(also, poisonous haha).
https://www.biocidesystems.com/auto-shocker-clo2-odor-eliminator-quick-release

Apparently the way pros get rid of smells in both homes and cars is to use an ozone generator. I'm not sure of local places to you, but i did find a place that rents a unit for 2 days for a hundred bucks. It releases ozone that permeates the vents, and anywhere that the open air can get to.
https://www.ozonesolutions.com/products/Commercial-Ozone-Generators/OMZ-3400_Ozone_Generator

Here is a small bare bones ozone generator for 50 bucks, might be good to buy if you have a few stinky cars or rooms you want to do.
https://www.amazon.com/ForeverOzone-Bare-Bones-Ozone-Generator/dp/B007GS5L08/ref=pd_sim_121_5?ie=UTF8&dpID=51+6Xxn56FL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160,160_&refRID=HWXHZ7476HWRT5HY15B6


Video on one way to remove smoke smells from a car, mentions the ozone generator:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjHEcPcTJTE
 

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Try OZIUM.
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2062857.m570.l1313.TR10.TRC2.A0.H0.TRS0&_nkw=OZIUM&_sacat=0

That's the easy way.
Carpet cleaning and interior cleaning is a better way.
Compressed air into the dash vents will produce a cloud of nasties.
Carpet will get stanky with any water leaks/coffee spills.
I like seat covers to preserve the original cloth/leather.
I SMOKE in my Supra and I don't smell anything.
(Shame on me).

The covers have saved some cigarette/weed burn holes in my original seat material.
Leather? I hate leather seats.

Carpet cleaning machine does really work.
Bissel stuff smells great.

Screw the smelly trees.
The A/C can collect some really bad pollen that if left unattended,can be a real problem.
EXTREME stink. Always run the the fan ONLY a block or 2 B-4 you pull into your driveaway.
The evaporator needs to dry out before shut down.
Foolish habits can cause some real problems.(STINK)
NO A/C? No sweat.

See that stream of water that "leaks" out of your car on a summer day?
DO NOT let that happen.Dry it out,please.

If you live a hot and humid climate,pay attenttion.
Florida,South Carolina,Hawaii.....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I asked my wife, who tends to be "Mrs. Clean", about small "steam" cleaners for upholstery, and she said all she's ever seen are the machines you rent to do carpets that come with attachments for doing furniture and stuff.

My son has a buddy who runs a mobile detailing business, so I suppose I should just ask him about coming by and doing the seats when I have them out of the car.

I seem to remember that car detailers also clean the headliner with the same equipment, but it's been so long since I've had a car properly detailed by a specialist, that I've probably forgotten everything.

I wasn't able to get started on the car today, as I had to store all my radio stuff from Field Day. Tuesday the wife wants to go see the new "Independence Day" movie, and Wednesday is my day on the Iowa, so probably won't get fired up again until Thursday.
 

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The HEAT in the cleaner is the key.
Use the hottest water possible.
I use the microwave to get it really HOT.
My carpet machine does a really great job!
Look at the color of the water in the dump tank. SHEESH!
 

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I asked my wife, who tends to be "Mrs. Clean", about small "steam" cleaners for upholstery, and she said all she's ever seen are the machines you rent to do carpets that come with attachments for doing furniture and stuff.
I've done that before with good results. Rented a carpet cleaner with the furniture attachments and just used that to do the entire car.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The HEAT in the cleaner is the key.
Use the hottest water possible.
I use the microwave to get it really HOT.
My carpet machine does a really great job!
Look at the color of the water in the dump tank. SHEESH!
Our hot water heater is outside, very close to the driveway.

Seeing as we just had a new one installed a couple of months ago, it should be "clean" enough inside that I can use the drain spigot for my hot water source.
 

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Our hot water heater is outside, very close to the driveway.

Seeing as we just had a new one installed a couple of months ago, it should be "clean" enough inside that I can use the drain spigot for my hot water source.
No,that won't work Jim. The lower drain won't supply hot water.
Just the upper one.
Microwave the water to use in the "steam" cleaner. Hot as possible.
I recommend the Bissel chemical. You will love the smell.
Irish spring smell.
 

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Umm unless you have some kind of water heater I've never seen the hot water drain is on the bottom. The valve on the top is a safety expansion valve and is usually plumbed outside the house. Frankly I wouldn't touch that drain valve, most are cheap plastic now.

Best way to clean carpet and mats is to remove it from the car. First hit it with a stain lifter, then a steam cleaner, and finally use a hose or pressure washer and work from one side to the other going back and forth. Then let it dry in the sun the next day or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The carpets are going in the trash.

Well, at least the front one is. It was ruined by brake fluid when the clutch master cylinder. The back section of carpet looks quite nice, so it'll be a giveaway after it's out.

- Jim
 
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