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Is your car interior smelling a little bit funky? Maybe you left your gym bag with sweaty clothes in the car, or maybe you can smell stale French fries, or maybe pet odors. It’s alright, everyone’s vehicles gather odors over time. What do you usually do about odors in your car or truck? An air freshener hanging from your rear-view mirror? Maybe you spray Febreze or Lysol around?

There are a lot of different types of air fresheners sold for vehicles and this is the most common approach used by car and truck owners. But did you know that there are products that actually absorb odors from your car’s interior and that these products can be “recharged” and used over and over again? And these products are environmentally friendly in two ways, they’re made from naturally occurring minerals and since you can reuse them again and again there’s less waste going into the trash.

Before we talk about these products it’s important to understand what odor actually is. What is occurring that allows us to smell the wonderful odor of cookies baking in the oven, or the not-so-wonderful smell of a full cat box? The sense of smell is known as olfaction. And “smells” are caused by odorant particles. There are many sources of odorant particles, the energy your oven is putting into those cookies as they bake cause the cookies to release pleasing odorant particles. But, if you stumble across leftovers from two weeks ago that you forgot about in your refrigerator, the smell of the spoiled food is unpleasant and will save you from eating food that has gone bad.

When you inhale, the air you are breathing may contain odorant particles. Specialized cells in our noses called olfactory glands detect these odorant particles and pass this information to our brains which then tells us what we’re smelling and whether it’s pleasant or not. Air fresheners work by primarily adding masking odorant particles to the air to “cover up” unpleasant odors. But there’s a better way to attack car interior odor problems by using Zeolites.

Zeolites are volcanic mineral rocks containing very tiny tunnels and passageways on a molecular level. Zeolites have a natural, slight negative charge. Most odorant particles are slightly positively charged, so Zeolite rocks act like a porous sponge, Zeolites literally attract and absorb odors trapping the odorant particles in the rocks instead of letting them remain in the air inside your car or truck.

Of course, if nothing changed, over time Zeolite rocks (also known as “volcanic rocks”) would become saturated with odorant particles and then cease to work any longer. Here’s the really cool thing about Zeolites, you can “rinse” them with sunlight!

Zeolite odor absorbing products for cars and trucks come in small, porous bags—usually 2-3 pounds of the small, pebble-like rocks. You put the bag under one of the seats of your car or truck and leave them there for 2-3 months where they sit and go about their job of absorbing odors from the air. Every few months, you take the package of rocks out and put it in direct sunlight, typically for 2-3 hours on one side and then turn the package over for another 2-3 hours. The energy and heat from sunlight (UV and IR rays) change the energy and charge state of the rocks and the stored odorant particles are released into the great outdoors. At the end of the day, you put the refreshed rock package under your seat where it can once again go about its business of absorbing odors. Brilliant! We’ve used Zeolite products made by different manufacturers and have found them all to work very well. You can use search terms like “Zeolite rocks for cars” and “volcanic rocks for cars” and you’ll find many options available.