Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My dog vomited in my car and now there's a heater vent smell

asked by on

My dog vomited in my car and I believe some of that vomits found its way into the vents of a car. I have used several different cleaning Agents but to no prevail. Help us find a product or should I use a professional to get rid of the awful smell that comes on mainly when we use the Heat. # no more stinky car

Hi there - you don’t mention the make, model or year of your vehicle, but most cars and trucks now have a "cabin air filter" which filters air re-circulated in the passenger compartment. I would replace this filter, and, while the filter is removed, spray a disinfectant (Lysol makes a version for cars) up into the HVAC ductwork, and let the blower run in the car for 10-15 minutes, with both the heater and AC functionality engaged (i.e. defrost does this). This will at least start to kill the germs, and replacing the cabin air filter will get rid of smells trapped in the old filter. Install the new filter, and hopefully most of the old smell will be gone. Don’t forget to shampoo the carpet with disinfectant where poor "Fido" had his big adventure as well!

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: The AC is not blowing out hot air only cold.

The heater blend door is controlled for temperature using an electronic temperature actuator to move the door. If you can turn the temperature up and down and feel a change in temperature then the actuator is working and need to...

Q: When hot outside, bad odor from vent when on

It is possible that your evaporator may have fungus growing on and it's so thick that the cleaners you are running are of no use. In extreme cases, the evaporator will actually need to be replaced in order to get...

Q: Heard a pop under hood while driving and my car suddenly started running hot.

The first thing I would do is to open the hood and do a visual inspection. Look for a broken drive belt, or something else broken like a pulley or presence of fluid leaks. The loud pop and overheating symptoms...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.