Cleaning Rotten Meat Odors From a Car

November 10, 2004

Raw beef on a piece of cardboard in the back of an SUV style car (lift gate is open)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


By Teresa Shearer (Guest Post)
November 10, 20041 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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By lisa (Guest Post)
November 11, 20041 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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By Samantha (Guest Post)
January 2, 200910 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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May 8, 2004

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.



By Tawnda (Guest Post)
May 8, 20041 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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By (Guest Post)
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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December 7, 2021

Spilled raw turkey blood in my car. Thought I cleaned it all up but car smells horrible. How do I get the smell out? I've tried air fresheners, leaving windows open every night for two weeks, febreze and nothing is working.

Please help, not sure what to do since it's leather and not carpet.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
December 7, 20210 found this helpful
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There is a product called Nok-Out, available on Amazon. Saturate the area and the smell will be neutralized.

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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 425 Answers
December 8, 20211 found this helpful
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I had a suede jacket that got put away while still slightly damp, and developed a musty smell. I got the smell out by making a paste of baking soda and white distilled vinegar, and used an old toothbrush to scrub it into the suede. I let it sit for 24 hours, and then brushed it off. The smell was completely gone.


I know leather and suede are different, but you could try it on your car seat. If it or the Nok-out doesn't work, you might try contacting Tandy Leather at 877-532-8437 or call a local upholstery shop or dry cleaner. Any of them might have advice on how to get rid of the smell. Good luck.

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August 16, 2018

So my son left a turkey in the trunk of my car. My husband cleaned it and it smells fine, but the inside of my car still smells. What can I do that will take the odor out?


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
August 17, 20182 found this helpful

A product called Nok-out is highly rated and is available on Amazon

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
August 18, 20181 found this helpful

Been in your fun...ours was ground beef.

The only thing that have worked for me is to leave a few open bags of activated charcoal in the car and let it absorb the can get this at most places that sell fish supplies and maybe garden shops. Be careful not to let the stuff actually touch your upholstery--make sure it is bagged--it can stain.

If you can keep the car windows down where it gets a breeze through while you are doing this it helps, but not on a humid day as I think that makes it worse. Warm, dry or cool dry is ideal.

It takes a long time to get bad smells out of cars.

Good luck!

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
August 19, 20180 found this helpful

if the odor is/was in the air then it is most likely also in your upholstery and the rugs and is probably still in the trunk or you could use whatever was used to remove the odor from the trunk - right?

  • You may need to go to a car wash that has an upholstery cleaner (not just a vacuum) or you might need to rent a steamer that has an upholstery accessory so you can clean all the carpet and all of the seats. Be sure to steam everything you can safely reach in your trunk.
  • If there was any blood then all of that will have to be removed even before you steam clean. Layers of baking soda will remove the blood - vacuum and replace several times.
  • Using anything else will only cover the odor and will not remove. Febreze does a good job but how long will it last?
  • You can also take your car to an auto detailer and ask what they will charge to remove the odor permanently! You might want a written guarantee.
  • ThriftyFun has had a lot of questions along these lines so maybe some of the previous answers will help you. (I like the one suggestions to place cut apples (after odor is gone) under the seats for several days.
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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
August 20, 20181 found this helpful

First of course you make sure the source of the smell is GONE, and I assume you did

Second you probably need enzymatic cleaners which are designed to get rid of smells of an organic nature (IE rot) "They work quickly by bio-degrading the stain, grease, oil, dirt, grime, vomit, urine, blood, coffee or food into its basic carbon, hydrogen or oxygen element, eliminating the problem. "

You can buy one here

or, if you have brown sugar, citrus peels and a lot of time on your hands, you can make your own:

Third you can purchase activated charcoal here: (Affiliate Link)
and leave it around, it is designed to soak up odours

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May 1, 20190 found this helpful

I have made it even worse...I put some chicken in my car trunk and accidentally the blood went through the trunk door's lock.. now some blood is inside there.. and I don't have a fucking idea how to get the blood out from smells real awful inside...

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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


September 26, 20101 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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September 24, 20180 found this helpful

I accidently left a small tub of chicken livers in our car.2 days in Arizona..Terrible odor

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6 Archives

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

September 22, 2010

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.

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