Stinky air conditioning: causes of smells from the car AC!

Especially when the heat is roaring in the summer months, the air conditioning is often our best friend for us drivers and is indispensable. However, it becomes uncomfortable when not only cool air, but unpleasant smells flow into the interior. Find out the causes of a smelly air conditioning system and what you can do to prevent them. Also see tips on how to clean and disinfect your air conditioning system.

Stinky air conditioning – causes and measures

The cause of unpleasant smells is usually found in the evaporator of your air conditioning system. Bacteria and mold are particularly comfortable in the damp environment. This way, pathogens can be distributed throughout the car via the ventilation. So the health risk for you and your passengers is much more serious than the stench. That is why regular maintenance of your air conditioning system is so important, from the compressor to the condenser, the evaporator and the expansion valve. Maintenance should ideally be carried out in spring, i.e. before summer time.


Tips against stinky air conditioning

A few simple tricks will help you to avoid the stink:

  • In any case, the air conditioning should only be used when it is really necessary. This means that less moisture collects in the system.Always switch off the air conditioning completely a few minutes before the end of the journey. The damp air in the system is dried by the airstream, so fungi and bacteria cannot find a breeding ground.
  • You can also get rid of the moisture by simply turning on the heating.
  • Even in winter, you should turn on the air conditioner every now and then, so you prevent rotten coolant.
  • You should also check the coolant regularly and replace it if necessary. This also applies to the cabin interior filter.

How to clean and disinfect the air conditioning system!

Everyone knows this: you have to do something by car in summer. The sun shines on your roof. Your car heats up quickly. The air conditioning system cools down quickly. But wait? What’s wrong with that?

You probably knew one thing: the air conditioning system can have a bad smell. It is the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria. It is normal for them to spread out in your ventilation system at some point. But don’t worry, you can easily clean and disinfect your air conditioning system yourself.

You can find the foam for cleaning the air conditioning system in any specialist shop. The workload is totally low and you also save a lot of money. And it gets even better: we’ll tell you another method later on of how to clean your air conditioner yourself.

Cleaning foam – how it works:

  • Shake disinfectant well before use.
  • Remove the pollen filter and spray foam directly into the air conditioning system.
  • Start the vehicle engine and switch on the air conditioning.
  • Turn up the fan to the maximum, open all ventilation outlets and activate the air recirculation switch so that only the air inside the vehicle is used.
  • Repeat the process as often as necessary and let the car blow through well.

This type of air conditioning cleaning is also ideal for home air conditioning. Another option is a spray that you put in your car. The process is similar to that described above.

Cleaning spray – also very easy:

  • Shake the spray well, start the engine and fully open the air conditioning as already described.
  • Push the driver and front passenger seats forward and fold the backrests forward.
  • Place the disinfection can in the rear footwell.
    Tip: it’s best to put a rag or cloth under it so that you don’t get your car dirty.
  • Activate disinfectant and leave the car. Windows and doors are closed.
  • The can sprays the contents for approx. 10 minutes, as long as you have to wait
  • The process can be repeated any number of times

Warning: The spray should not get into the eyes or on the skin!


With both methods you get a fresh scent in your car in no time. The best thing to do is to try out for yourself which option you prefer. Or do you already have experience with various disinfection methods? Then tell us about it in the comments.

Contact the author: adambraylon@wheelsjoint.com


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