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Cleaning Rotten Meat Odors From a Car

Category Odors
Meat accidentally left in the car can quickly become rotten and fill your car with a very bad odor. This is a guide about cleaning rotten meat odors from a car.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 10, 20041 found this helpful

My husband accidently forgot chicken breasts in the car after coming back from the grocery store. We realized that when the car started smelling real bad. We used car freshners, and also left the car open a couple of times, but it didn't work. Now every time we sit in the car, it smells horribly bad. Any ideas to get rid of the smell will be appreciated. - Gina

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November 10, 20040 found this helpful
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A friend of mine did that with the juice from a roast! After getting the juice up the best she could she just sprinkled a lot of baking soda on the mats and let it sit. She'd vacuum it out and then do it again. After about 2 or 3 times, the smell was gone - the baking soda had absorbed all the odor.

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November 11, 20040 found this helpful
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There's a product called "Damp-Rid" that is great for absorbing odors. It can be purchased at Home Depot (or probably any home improvement store) for approximately $3. It comes in a small container. All you do is open the package and pour the contents into the container and wait. It lasts up to 4 weeks and absorbs odors well. Hope this helps!

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January 2, 20090 found this helpful
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Unfortunately the same thing happened to me. The meat was left in my car for about 2 days and the blood leaked out into the carpet. Even though the weather was not hot the smell was horrendous! I tried everything... spent tons of money on carpet shampoos, odor removers and deodorizers, etc. None of them worked. I searched online and found that hydrogen peroxide would remove the blood stain and it worked! I poured 2 pints on the spot and let it sit a couple of hours, then vacuumed it up at the car wash. The stain was 100% gone (it is light gray carpet) but I still had the odor. I poured white vinegar on the spot and used it just like the peroxide. It worked! Vinegar does not smell great but it's like roses compared to the smell of rotten meat. After the carpet dries you can spread baking soda over the spot and it will remove the vinegar smell. Good luck to anyone having to deal with this problem. I can certainly sympathize!

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November 10, 20040 found this helpful

Just realized I forgot to sign in...I was the one that suggested to use baking soda and vinegar. Note...the rotten smell will not go away on it's own. You can't just cover it up with an air freshener. You have to wash it out. Sprinkling the baking soda on top won't do it because the juice has gone down down into the carpet and that is where your solution needs to go too.

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November 14, 20040 found this helpful

Water and about 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract in a spray bottle. Spray liberally and all of the odor will be gone. I got this tip from a former used car salesman years ago when I had the exact same thing happen to my car with chicken that had leaked and sat overnight ! He said they used this trick to remove smoke and pet odors from cars they were trying to sell. This is AFTER you clean carpet thoroughly and IF POSSIBLE air out well. I really did work well for me !! Fill the spray bottle about 3/4 full of water.

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November 16, 20040 found this helpful

I usually don't recommend commercial products but after a jar of pickles broke in my vehicle I tried all the natural solutions but still had the odor. I bought a bottle of Febreeze Heavy Duty and sprayed it all over the back of the storage area. Wow! Not only did the pickle smell disappear but there was no "flowery" smell to bother my allergies. Tried it later on the "kids eating in the backseat" smells and they're gone now too. I use it in the car every couple of months now as maintenance.

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January 30, 20050 found this helpful

The only true way to rid your car of the smell is to have your carpets shampooed, Then use a ozone generator. You can rent one at a professional carpet cleaning supply house or flood restoration rental. These are used to remove foul odors from homes after fires, floods, or pet odors. Car lots use them to remove all odors from cars going up for sale. You may also check into having your car fogged with a thermal hot fogger this will "mask" the smell and in some cases eliminate it all together.

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July 24, 20050 found this helpful

I just tried the vanilla & water spray method and it worked terrific! (2 frozen rabbits left in the car for 5 days!)

Thank you

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November 27, 20070 found this helpful

Mix water with bicarbonate soda to make a thick paste, spread over area and leave for a couple of days to dry. Vacuum off with strong vacuum cleaner, the industrial strength vacuums at your nearest car wash/car cleaning depot. You may need to do this 2 or 3 times, but it does work, also great when a new animal soils on your home carpets or furniture.

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August 20, 20120 found this helpful

Enzyme pet stain spray. Just buy tge large refill and put it in your own spray bottle. It's about $13 at walmart, but I would bet that this would work better than anything else. Just thoroughly saturate the carpet. You can always spray it more than once. Maybe once a day, or twice a day.

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May 8, 20041 found this helpful

I need help! I let my mother use my car this past week and when I got it back I smelled something awful coming from the back of the vehicle. I went back to investigate and there I found a tub of liver that had been left there for 5 days and had exploded all over the back of the car. It smells so bad I can barely stand to try and clean it.

I've tried everything I can think of to get the smell out of the car, but nothing is working. I just read the article about the mice and the use of borox. I cleaned out the car totally, but some of the blood got into the carpet, and I am guessing that is what is smelling so terribly bad.

I scrubbed it with some household carpet cleaners. I don't want to end up having to pull up the carpet, but I fear that might be my only option. I'm in Texas, so it's quite hot right now. I don't know if the smell is ever going to leave, but I can't stand to get into the vehicle. Any ideas on how to get rid of the smell would be greatly appreciated.


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May 8, 20040 found this helpful
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Once the carpet is dry, sprinkle baking soda all over it. Heavily. Let set a few days. Vacuum up the baking soda and then clean.

Find a car wash that has an upholstery cleaning brush on it. Usually there is only one available. They are not in ever stall. You may have to ask the attendant if they have them. It is real similar to a rug cleaner but it is in the car wash for doing your seats, etc. I use this to clean my kids' car seats too. This may help with some of that.

Some trunk carpeting will pull up without you having to ruin it. You may be able to pull it up and wash both sides. If you can't find a car wash that has the upholstery cleaner, you can rent a steam cleaner and ask them to add on the upholstery cleaning brush to the rental. $20-30 for a rental may be much cheaper than replacing the whole carpet.

If Texas is having dry weather right now, if you are able to have your car within your sight for the day, I would let it set with the trunk lid open or at least cracked to air and dry it out.

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May 10, 20040 found this helpful
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Don't know if this will work but I would try soaking the area where you think the blood spilled in vinegar. I would pour it freely over the area - get it really wet. If blood is in the carpet the smell won't leave until the blood is gone. Using alot of vinegar may rinse out the blood and remove any remaining smell. Leave the trunk open so it can dry well.

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May 12, 20040 found this helpful

When I get blood on my clothing a pour hydrogen peroxide on the spot. I wait until it quits bubbling and then I rinse. It might work in your car if you pat it out with rags or paper towels.

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July 16, 20040 found this helpful

coffee grounds got the gasoline smell out my garage maybe that will help

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December 23, 20070 found this helpful

Sorry about the liver, I can't imagine the odor ~ I had a pan of turkey and gravy spill all over the back seat, very greasy as well. At first it smelled like a restaurant in my car, but after a week, well, yuk. I hope by now you have removed the odor. But for future smells or people just now looking for help.

I remember hearing about tomato juice removing bad odors, including skunk odor and vomit. That is also good to use when giving a dog a bath that has rolled in something and the odor will not leave under normal shampooing. In many cases no one wants to use tomato juice and stain the area, but on dark carpet...

Also, there is an old method of using charcoal, and or newspapers to absorb the odors.

For me, I'll try anything when it comes to stuff like this. Right now I am scrubbing with white vinegar as the seat is a light color.

Good luck, hope you got the smell out!

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April 3, 20161 found this helpful

If you can get the carpet out of the vehicle without ruining it spread it on the driveway and use any of the above concoctions on one side, then the next day flip it over and do the other side.

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September 24, 20160 found this helpful

Oder Mute is a good product. A home we bought had dogs left in the house unattended. (need I say more)

We soaked the entire house with Oder Mute straight on the under lament (made from wood). left it overnight till dry. Never smelled another thing. I'm thinking they are both organic in nature. Should work for meat juice too. Only a few dollars at your local pet shop or probably Wal-Mart.

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October 14, 20160 found this helpful

Tomato jucie dose not work on dogs being sprayed by skunks peroxide & dawn dish soap

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0 found this helpful
September 22, 2010

Some meat got left in our van for 5 nights. There is no sign of leakage, but the smell is horrendous. How can I remove the smell from the air, or do I need to just wash the carpet?

By bugpie

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September 26, 20100 found this helpful

I put charcoal on some newpaper and left it over night. The next day I replaced the charcoal with another batch and left it overnight. Then I bought some red apples and cut in quarters and put under the seat. To my surprise it worked! Now when I want to refresh my car I put more apples!!

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 22, 20100 found this helpful

My daughter left hamburger in my van for over 3 days, with outside temps reaching over 95 degrees. The blood leaked out and saturated the carpet. I have allergies and chemical sensitives, so I can't anything containing perfumes or scented. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to clean up this mess?

SCCanLady from Charleston, SC


Removing Rotten Meat Odor From Car

Try white vinegar and see if that works. Put it on full strength and let it sit. (06/30/2008)

By Betty

Removing Rotten Meat Odor From Car

Clean it thoroughly. Let it air out if possible. When dry try baking soda then vacuuming up. You can use Febreze if it doesn't bother your allergies. If it does, stick with cleaning and baking soda and airing out with windows down. (06/30/2008)

Removing Rotten Meat Odor From Car

For the stain you can try hydrogen peroxide (the brown bottle in the first aid aisle). It should bubble out the blood stain. Leave it on for awhile then blot it up, repeat if necessary. That will also help w/ the odor. For the odor you can use straight white vinegar poured on until it dries. You can set dishes of straight white vinegar in the vehicle w/ the windows closed (absorbs odors). You can put pans of un-used coffee grounds in the vehicle, cheap brand. Do NOT pour the coffee grounds on the carpeting, it can stain. Baking soda is another option to try. Do NOT pour baking soda on wet carpeting. Maybe make a solution of baking soda and water and sponge it onto the stain /odor. Allow to dry and vacuum off. If you can remove the odor, but not all of the stain maybe you can get new floor mats for the area. (07/01/2008)

By kidsNclutter

Removing Rotten Meat Odor From Car

What about steam cleaning? I don't have a cleaner, but they certainly look like they work in the ads.

Perhaps you could phone an auto cleaning shop and ask what they use, or perhaps get it professionally done. I would ask if they can clean this out before you pay someone to do it. (07/01/2008)

By louel53

Removing Rotten Meat Odor From Car

You can also use ammonia (watered down) after blotting the blood up, spot test it. If you get out all the blood and any smell remains you can try coffee grounds once it is thoroughly dried. Good luck! (07/01/2008)

By momo5

Removing Rotten Meat Odor From Car

Try placing some charcoal briquettes on the carpet. (Like Kingsford for the BBQ)
It absorbs the smell of meat odors from old freezers, give it a try. (07/02/2008)


Removing Rotten Meat Odor From Car

2-3 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract mixed with about 4-6 oz. of plain water in a spray bottle! Spray heavily in area where blood is. My hubby left a "plastic lined" box that had packages of raw chicken in plastic bags in my car overnight several years ago. (No, he didn't leave the chickens, just the box!) The box with the plastic liner had blood from the chickens still in it and leaked all over the back end of my car. Really, really bad smell! A friend who had been a used car dealer told me about this and it really really worked. Good for all kinds of bad odors. (07/02/2008)

By Beverly

Removing Rotten Meat Odor From Car

Thanks everyone for your ideas on how to best clean up my car. I pretty much have it beat now. I started out with baking soda and white vinegar. Then I steamed cleaned it until I got all the visible blood out of the carpet, then I blasted it with steam a few more times. My last effort was using straight white vinegar for the lingering smell. That seems to have taken care of the whole rotten mess. (07/03/2008)

By sccanlady

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