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Getting rid of sweat odor in the cloth seats

This is a discussion on Getting rid of sweat odor in the cloth seats within the Showcar and Detailing forums, part of the General Help category; Hi Guys. I just bought my wife a 2006 toyota camry with cloth interior. The car is in excellent shape. ...

  1. #1
    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    1998 Trans Am

    Getting rid of sweat odor in the cloth seats

    Hi Guys. I just bought my wife a 2006 toyota camry with cloth interior. The car is in excellent shape. We bought at night time so we didn't had the smell issue. When the car sit in the sun or it is a hot day the seat release this nasty sweat odor. It is pretty strong.

    I took the car to get the seats shampoo. It cut down the smell in half but is still there. I brought the car back and explained the situation to the manager. He sprayed the car with an odor eliminator but I can still smell the sweat odor. He told me sometimes they have to pull the seats and carpet out, pressure wash them and it takes care of the issue.

    I'm trying to see if there is some products out there that I can try before I go back and try pressure washing. I'm never heard of this procedure and I do know some seats have weight sensors for the airbag.

    I had a car from a smoker and I pulled the seats out (they were leather) cleaned every surface, shampoo the carpet myself (I had a small machine back then) and used ozium. After 3 months the smell went away.

    I'm wondering if ozium will work on this. I can only smell the sweat odor coming from the seats. I tried feebreze and it last a day before the smell is back.



    Any other products you guys suggest? Thanks in advance.

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    Senior Member raynor139's Avatar
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    Chemical guys odor eliminator works well. Its a enzyme based cleaner. Hit up autogeek for all sorts of options including foggers if its really bad.
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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raynor139 View Post
    Chemical guys odor eliminator works well. Its a enzyme based cleaner. Hit up autogeek for all sorts of options including foggers if its really bad.
    Thanks. I soaked the seat with Lysol spray and use a brush to work the clothing. We will see if it gets better tomorrow. I will checked those suggestions too. It is such a shame, it is the only negative the car has.
    1998 TA 130k A4, LS6 intake, TunedByFrost, Airlid, AIR and EGR delete, Borla exhaust, front Eibach lowering springs, LS6 valley cover, UMI TQ arm, UMI LCA's, UMI panhard bar, Poly engine mounts, BMR relocation brackets, Blistein HD shocks and struts, Oil catch can, Autotrix window fix.

    Now I have an 2001 F150 5.4L

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    Senior Member tatertot91's Avatar
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    Sunset Orange Metalic
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    Have you tried baking soda?

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Mean Black
    1998 Trans Am

    Getting rid of sweat odor in the cloth seats

    no I haven't. how do I apply it?

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    update. I used the ozium a few times and kept driving the car with the windows down. I know fresh air helps too. So far it got a lot better but we haven't had very warm days after the Lysol application.

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    Either baking soda or a carpet fresh powder. Sprinkle it liberally all over the seat surface and leave it there overnight. Then just vacuum it off the next day. Reminds me of the Seinfeld mutant B.O. episode... Another neat trick for car odors is to place coffee grounds in an open container inside the car. I did that for both the CTS and the Regal after we bought them. The CTS had a little smoke smell and the Regal was a bit of a funk odor.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Thanks jeff. I will try the baking soda later. We are moving out so we have everything in storage. I never seen that Seinfeld episode.. I will have to look it up lol.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    I always go to another car wash once in a while if I don't have time to wash the bird. The manager approached me today to say hello and I decided to ask him his opinion about my wife's car seat smell. He first told me they charged us double of what they charge here. He told me that it depends a lot on the person that is doing the seats. Sometimes they have to really work it. They have a pretty good extraction machine and offer us to solve our problem. He told my wife if the smell comes back to bring it back and they will redo do them at no charge.

    When we picked the car up the difference was amazing. They didn't add any scents so she can really tell if it was done. It smelled clean and the seat were completely dry. The other car wash the seats were damped when we picked the car up.

    We have a long weekend in Miami with very high temperatures so we will see if it passes the test. I really think the other car wash did a poor job. I have done car seat shampoo before and I never had not got rid of a smell.

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    Senior Member tatertot91's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    Either baking soda or a carpet fresh powder. Sprinkle it liberally all over the seat surface and leave it there overnight. Then just vacuum it off the next day.
    Little late but this is what i meant. Coffee sounds like a good idea too, never tried that one.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Mean Black
    1998 Trans Am

    Getting rid of sweat odor in the cloth seats

    update. so we are down in miami and it almost 90 degrees. we are smelling the smell like 85% less than before. I started to do some sniffing around and it is not from the seats anymore. I found out the strong smell is coming from the headliner. I already called the car wash and they don't do headliners. this one is made of thin cloth glued to the plastic backing.

    I was thinking about removing it and try to shampoo it myself or try some baking soda on it. is it hard to remove a headliner? I never done one. are there any clips that hold it together in the middle? any other suggestions? this is starting to become a pain to get rid of the smell. I mean it got better than at the beginning. thanks.

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    I wouldn't remove the headliner -- maybe start dusting it with Febreeze twice a day. Also, try the coffee grounds as it does actually work to suck up odors.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Getting rid of sweat odor in the cloth seats

    ok I might try that but I already soak it in lysol spray before and it didnt work. the back part of the headliner is starting to come apart so it needs to be done in the future. I was thinking about redoing it myself. anyone done a headliner? I got the basics of how to pull it out, clean it , spray glue on it and rplace with new material.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    ok so I pulled out the headliner. Wife was getting tired of it and I need to really make sure the smell is coming from the headliner. Anyway I have a question. There are 4 four clips on the headliner on the rear part. They have a piece of aluminum glued to the headliner in two parts and the plastic clip goes in the middle. Well in the process getting the headliner out I snapped three of the aluminum pieces out. There are 4 pieces in the rear of the headliner. Anyone has any idea of what kind of glue I can use to glue them back? I'm going to call my upholstery guy tomorrow and ask him.

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    Mike The Guz's Avatar
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    I just bought a couple of these and have not used them yet but it has gotten some real good reviews. You may want to give it a shot. The directions are pretty straight forward to use it.


    Meguiars Air Re-Fresher Odor Eliminator
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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    thanks. I'm actually using odoban commercial grade. Since the headliner is out the odor decrease tremendously. I still can smell alittle of it and I think I actually figured out what this smell is. I remembered I smell this similar smell at work but I couldn't put it together. When I looked at the speaker grills I noticed the plastic was really brittle. I can smell the smell strong coming from them. At work we had with lamp with a plastic dome that burned thru and it smelled like nasty sweat. It is the same smell and it is coming from these old speaker grills. They have been abused way too much by the sun. I checked online and I can order replacements. Hopefully the headliner smell will go away and we don't have to have it redone. I will update once I replace the speaker grills.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    ok I replaced the grills. They were $22 at the dealership. They want $180 to install these.... it took me 30 minutes to put them in. wow.
    Anyway it's been raining all day so no sun to really smell the difference. I checked the headliner today and no bad smell but I still smell leftover odoban and febreeze. Im going to let it air out some more and let it sit under the sun for a while. If the smell on the headliner is not gone then I will have it redone.

    I was able to glue the clips back with gorilla glue.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    what in the hell has that car been through? Does the car have a cabin filter? If so it's probably behind the glove box and should be the first thing you change. Also in my truck during the summer I spray lysol into the cowl so the A/C can pull it through and disinfect the insides of the vents. Moisture gets in there and can start to mildew and stink. It almost sounds like that car has had some water damage or something along those lines.....that or some wicked sex has went on in that thing to stink up the headliner.

  19. #19
    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    the cabin filter was changed and it didn't had any smell in it. I sprayed oxium in the a/c system. The smell is not from the a/c. It was coming from the seats, headliner and the stupid speaker grills. After the shampoo the smell is gone from the seats. The headliner was bad too as you can smell it too.

    No water damage I checked all the components underneath the dash and I pulled the carpet, is clean. The smell is not mildew. I know that smell well.

    This is a really nasty smell that I don't which it to anyone but is from the old plastic when it gets heated up. I think even sex smell smells better than this lol

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    I got rid of the smoker's smell in my TA when I got. I know I can get rid of this one too. I'm getting really close. I feel bad for my wife because she spend the money in shampoos and it hasn't solved the issue. She is hating the headliner is out but I told her it will be back soon.

    I didn't realized how much noise a headliner stops in a car wash. That was LOUD.

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