I still remember the smell of my 1st new car: brand new interior and everything shiny and clean. However, I also still remember the smell of my AC blowing in my face after the first 5,000 miles: humid, musky and intense. That smell made me sneeze, cough and have a running nose most of the time when I was inside the car with the AC turned on (mostly on cold).
One of the obvious things I immediately tried was to get my air and pollen filter changed, however the smell did not go away. Therefore, I started doing my research to understand what is going on, why is this smell not going away and, most importantly, why my respiratory problems are not going away. Here’s what I found…
Humidity, mold and bacteria
Inside your car’s AC ducts, there’s a lot going on: air flowing either from outside the car or recirculated, organic particles flowing around as well as humidity. These things combined create a perfect setup for mold and bacteria. In turn, these last two can get inhaled and, in the long run can generate all kinds of problems such as bronchitis, allergies and other related issues. But, there is a fix! Here it is…
Here’s how you should tackle this
Just as a prerequisite I am assuming you have changed your cabin air filter and keep doing this on a regular basis (I recommend each 5,000 miles).
With this being said:
- head to Amazon and buy a Lysol disinfecting spray
- turn on your car, and turn on the AC on cold
- with the AC on cold, switch it into recirculation
- set the AC to maximum fan speed
- spray for 1 minute the contents of the spray in one of the AC vents
- exit the vehicle and close the door making sure you leave the AC running on max speed on recirculation
Once the 15 minutes pass, enter the vehicle, switch the AC to outside intake from recirculation, open all the doors and let fresh air enter the vehicle.
That’s it. You’ve just disinfected all your AC air ducts and set yourself on the path of at least another 5,000 miles mold and bacteria free.
I estimate the cost of this hack to be around $2, considering the price of a Lysol Spray which is around $3.5
Few last notes: recirculation forces the Lysol to go back and forth through all ducts and vents. Also, you can repeat the steps above in case you still feel some smell after the 1st iteration of this hack.
Enjoy your brand new AC smell, completely disinfected and congrats on your sneeze-free life!