By Jim Kerr

The package arrived at the perfect time. Inside, I found a sample from Auto Expressions of their new Odor Out. I had just bought a vehicle that was unbearable inside: time to see if this new odour-removing product was up to the task.

First, let me qualify my test by telling you that Odor Out was never designed to work in the situation I was about to use it in. The vehicle I had just bought was initially going to be used as a parts car. It was a 1964 Chev Impala sedan and the price was right. So was the condition of the car. As I looked it over more carefully after it was pulled out of the weeds and deep grass, I realized I was looking at one of the finest rust-free 1964 Chevy’s I had seen in our part of the country in over twenty years. It was loaded with options and everything appeared original, right down to the almost perfect hubcaps. It was a really nice car, and the mice thought so too!

An open air vent had allowed mice into the interior. This wasn’t one or two mice – it was a family home and had been for years. The interior looked really good, but open a door and the smell would knock you over. As soon as I got the car home, I put on my respirator and went to work. My first step was to try some of the Odor Out on the interior so I could stand working in the car.

Odor Out comes in three scents, each with a light pleasant fragrance. The Cotton scent proved to be the most popular with co-workers, while Mint was a close second. Citrus was our least favourite, although it was still nice. Mint and Citrus scents are something we could visualize before trying the product. Cotton scent was a mystery until we tried it. It reminded me of fresh clothes off the clothes line – delicate yet that unmistakable scent of clean fresh air. Unlike car fresheners, Odor Out neutralizes the odour instead of masking it.

Odor Out comes in four styles. There is a clip-on unit that snaps on to a dash vent and has a control dial to vary the amount of fragrance released. We didn’t try that type. Instead, we had the 341-ml interior spray bottle, a compact 57-ml sprayer small enough to fit in the glove box and a hide-away gel package that can be placed discreetly anywhere in the vehicle.

I am sure you have sat in a vehicle that had one of those overpowering pine fresheners hanging from the dash. They may smell good at first, but soon prove to be too strong. I have also used odour removers that left a strong after-scent. Although they worked, they too, smelled just too much. Was the Odor Out up to the task?

First, I sprayed the interior with the 341-ml bottle of “Cotton” scent. There was still the essence of mouse, but at least I could work inside the vehicle. Once a vehicle has had mice in it for some time, the only real fix is to replace all the interior and that is what I started doing. Out came the seats. Then the carpet. Next, the door panels and headliner were removed. I sprayed some more Odor Out on the seat fabric and it definitely reduced the amount of odour. Remember, this product was really designed to neutralize odours from more normal use, such as food spills inside the vehicle or leaving that sweat-filled sports bag in the trunk on a warm day. If it worked on the mouse smell, it would be really good for regular use.

After washing the inside of the vehicle, the mouse smell was still very evident, trapped in the plastic and rubber parts still in the vehicle. Another spray with Odor Out reduced it almost completely and then I placed the Hide Away Gel pack inside the car. It was much slower acting than the spray, but helped neutralize the remaining smell. With the car clean and fresh, it was ready for new interior.

I also tried a more reasonable test of Odor Out on my every day vehicle, spraying the interior with Mint. The french fries container and pop can that my son had left in the vehicle were not noticeable any more. The car smelled minty fresh.

I couldn’t resist one last test. Although Odor Out doesn’t say it can be used for this purpose, I sprayed my son’s soccer shoes. Stinky feet be gone! It worked just fine. This is a useful product and should start showing up in June at Wal-Mart’s automotive section.

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