Fortunately that is about it, no further damage to the critical parts of the car. Now every time we sit in the car, it smells horribly bad. If your car smells are unpleasant but aren’t a sign of mechanical malfunction, there are ways you can make your car smell better. If you have recently had to deal with any kind of leak in your home, chances are you've had to deal with mold and mildew. Local lakes might smell like mud, fish, and outboard engine oil. However, you can permanently remove the mildew smell by following these simple steps. This stinky smell cannot be solved by just spraying an air freshener and no matter how many air fresheners you use, you will not be able to get rid of this smell. As a result the car will have a stale smell without verntilation and after the windows are closed for awhile. Discussion Starter • #1 • Sep 11, 2011. A fishy smell? Get rid of other common smells in your car. Could be antifreeze leaking into the car through the heating system. The first step in treating any spill is to blot and clean, then deodorize. Answers. No spills or chemicals to worry about. However, after clearing all the water and drying, the underlying layer of insulation material is still wet tho the top carpet seems dry. Mildew is a growth, usually white in color, produced by molds and fungi. Just put one or two in car and trunk and forget about it. If the carpet still reeks, use a carpet-cleaning machine. Maybe some food spilled on the carpet. - Gina. You may get inside your car only to be overwhelmed by a mysterious smell. Any suggestions. Odors can be caused by ordinary objects and liquids that you may never suspect. 1,009 Posts . I replaced the rubber mats— but the smell still lingers, like an angry dybbuk. I tried baking soda, eucalyptus oil and oxy clean. CARS.COM — Kids and messes go hand in hand, especially in the car. I spilled gas in my car, on rubber floor mats in the hatch area, and now I can’t get the smell out. The car now smells like a fishing boat. Any ideas to get rid of the smell will be appreciated. Something as simple as water spilled on a dirty seat or a child’s sippy cup dripping milk can be the culprit, or it can be something else altogether such as a mechanical problem. The car seat absorbed the liquid of the fish. Mildew thrives and grows in places that are damp, warm and dark. A smell that arrives when the A/C is first on? I would pour it freely over the area - get it really wet. So, I spilled some water, maybe a 1/2 cup, of water in the trunk and the next morning it smelled like a musty odor. Blanca asked: How do I remove fish odor from back car seats? Try baking soda. I put one of the shopping bags in the back car seat, not know it had fish defrosting during a 29 degree day. Ocean water smells salty, but it may smell like crude oil after a spill or pipeline leak. Local ponds may smell like mud and fish. This will remove odors from carpet. 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