Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Odor Removal from Your Vehicle

Today I’d like to share my thoughts and experiences on vehicle odor removal. There are many things that can contribute to odors that can be absorbed into the fabrics and upholstery of your vehicle. Some of which include pet odors, sweat, food and drink, babies and kids can be good contributors in their own way, and probably the most potent and longest lasting of smells; smoking. My purpose today is still do my best to inform you of some do’s and don’ts of removing odors from the fabrics of your car.      

Odors and stains can act the same as far as stubbornness to get rid of. Especially if you wait to take them out. One of the hardest odors to remove is the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke. If you can eliminate the odor of tobacco smoke, you can eliminate pretty much any odor with a very similar process.


I’ll start with a few don’ts of vehicle odor removal.


DO NOT try to clean it with a generic dish or fabric soap or cleaner. This will put soaps and chemicals into your fabrics that you don’t want there and may also make the odors and smells seap more into the fabrics. It will also leave marks on the seats when it drys that will also be difficult to get rid of. Many times this can make the odor penetrate the fabric or material more which can make it harder to take out. Although leather may be a little easier to clean, you still want to be extremely careful how you clean it and do vehicle odor removal. Odors and stains can still penetrate the leather if not properly treated.


Removing odors from vehicle fabrics and upholstery needs to be handled with care. You want to be careful with what chemicals and equipment are being used. The objective is to remove odors, not to try to cover it up or “change” the odor by applying a fabric freshener to it. Fabric fresheners or odor bombs will be part of the process and I will get to them but for the removal process, you DO NOT want to begin with an odor bomb or scents.


Another thing we’ve seen people try on the wonderful advice of the internet is baking soda for vehicle odor removal. Baking soda does actually have some great odor removal properties but only in the right circumstances. There has actually been many cases where someone has literally thrown the baking soda all over the interior of their car. While this could potentially temporarily “fix” the odor problem it will create a bigger mess to clean up after it gets deep into the fabric or gets wet. The odor will most likely return as the cause of the odor was not actually be removed. So please DO NOT throw baking soda all over your car in hopes that it will take care of an odor problem.


My biggest piece of advice for proceeding to completely do vehicle odor removal, especially a bad one, would be to call a professional. Mostly because of the importance of proper chemicals and equipment being used. I will do my best to explain the process of removing odor from a vehicle. There will always be different variables of odors but the process of having them professionally removed will generally be the same. Differences in the process will come from the severity of the odors. You will be able to research many different techniques and procedures for removing odors in your vehicle. What I am telling you today comes from my own experiences and what has worked for me. As I said, if research thoroughly, you will find many different ways to remove odors, some good and some not so good. Here are some of the best ways to remove odor, sometimes combined together.


One of the most effective things you can do is to have a very good interior detail done. When professionally done, an extractor will most likely (or should) be used. Especially one that has hot water extraction. An extractor will penetrate the fabric. If the water is hot it will penetrate the fabric even better. When used with a proper cleaning chemical, will effectively break up and separate the the stains and odors from the fabrics. After the water and cleaning chemical has spearheaded the odors, you want to remove the liquids and chemicals (now encapsulating the odor causing sources) from the fabrics. You want to extract fairly quickly. If you wait to extract, the odors could get absorbed deeper into the fabrics making them harder to remove. If this whole process is done effectively, you will have mostly removed the odors along with the cleaning chemical and water. If the odor that you are trying to remove is tobacco smoke then the headliner will most likely be one of the worst areas that absorbs a lot of smells. The headliner may need to be treated with a little more care but still needs to be extracted.


Another method of getting rid of smells and odors in your vehicle is an ozone machine. This can be a very time consuming process but can be very effective. To put it as simply as I can, oxygen has 2 atoms, (which is why it’s called O2) and ozone has one more atom. The extra atom makes ozone hazardous to breath but also breaks up the oxygen molecules and eliminates them. Included in those oxygen molecules being eliminated are the molecules that the odors are attached to. To explain it a little more simply, basically odors need oxygen to survive and what the ozone machine does is kills the oxygen molecules that odors are attached to. Pretty scientific stuff, yeah? Some words of caution though, ozone is hazardous to breath. After an ozone treatment, the best thing to do is open all the doors to let it air out. If the weather will let you, it would probably be best to have it outside for the whole process. Also, you will want to do your best to seal up as many things as you can to let as little air enter as you can. You want to take care of the odors in the car as much as possible without letting more air molecules enter. Although you will not be able to make it airtight. Doing your best to allow as little as air as possible get in the car will certainly help and allow the ozone machine to do what it does. Make sure you don’t forget to let the vehicle air out when you get done. If possible, let it air out for an hour or two.


One of the final things you can do to help with odors is an odor bomb. An odor bomb is an odor eliminator and can be scented to leave a fresh smell as well. Odor bombs contain enzymes and chemicals that penetrate every part of the interior and find any odor causing bacteria and literally eat it. This effectively destroys the odor and gets rid of the odor returning. This will be the final step after you’ve done everything you can to extract odor causing spills and messes. The best place to put the odor bomb is as central as you can get it. Make sure to read ALL of the instructions and cautions if placing and setting off the odor bomb yourself. After setting the odor bomb to release the contents of the can, shut the doors and windows and leave for at least 4 to 6 hours. Personally, I like to leave it overnight if possible. In the morning or before driving make sure to let the car air out for at least 30 minutes.


The vehicle odor removal process can and in many cases will involve all three of these steps (or more). In some cases the ozone machine may be the very first thing you do then proceed with the full detail and the odor bomb. Just keep in mind that it will most likely take some time to accomplish and you possibly have to try a few things before you have complete vehicle odor removal accomplished. Have patience and enjoy watching and smelling the odors get eliminated.

by Andy Stallings, Operations Manager, Onsite Detail

Commercial Shoot Detailing for Mercedes-Benz EQ

At the end of November last year I had the cool opportunity to help out and do some commercial shoot detailing for Mercedes Benz up near Woodland, Utah and also near Echo, Utah at the Kozy Cafe. If you’ve never been up that way, the scenery is absolutely beautiful. It was only a two day shoot but was cool to be a part of it and see the commercial come together. The commercial was produced by Xortium Creative Studios.

The idea behind the commercial was to feature how the new electric vehicle is quiet and drives smooth. There was a family inside singing Christmas carols. Well, better than me trying to explain it, you can watch it.

It was my job to keep the pre-production Mercedes Benz EQC clean for the shoot. Most of the work I did ended up being keeping windows clean so they could film shots through the windows.

I was also in charge of cleaning the snow off of the car when it came down hard a few times. The snow was off and on for both days.

The second day of shooting I was pretty anxious to get some actual detailing in. I arrived early to the location and waited for the trailer to show up with the Mercedes. Once they had it pulled out and set up where I could get my hands on it I proceeded to give a good water-less wash and get all the road grime from the day before and early morning filming off. I finally got it cleaned up and ready for filming for the day.

I really enjoyed the experience of commercial shoot detailing and getting know some of the people that were also there working on the project.

Onsite Detail offers a variety of services, both to customers at their locations and at the shop. Detailing cars is not the only thing they do. Onsite Detail also cleans, restores and protects boats, RVs, semi-trucks, airplanes, etc. They have the ability to service fleets with hundreds of vehicles as well with regular maintenance washing and detailing. They also can provide services for special events, car shows, display vehicles, vehicle detailing for filming or commercial shoot detailing, dealership detailing, etc. With extensive experience in all of these detailing categories, Onsite Detail stands alone as Utah’s best resource for all of your detailing needs.

by Chris Blaisdell, CD-SV, Onsite Detail

Chris Blaisdell is the owner of Onsite Detail and has been detailing  for 12 + years.
He is a Certified Detailer-Skills Validated detailer through the
International Detailing Association. The industry leader in detailing standards.

Onsite Detail at Mobile Tech Expo Orlando 2019

Another Year gone!

Mobile Tech Orlando 2019 was another great experience for me. This year mobile tech moved into a new venue and education day, the expo and everything was bigger and better. There are some amazing things going on the detailing industry and overall the standards are being elevated for one to call himself or herself a “professional detailer”.

I find it amazing as well how one detailer to another are willing to offer help and advice on how to improve themselves. Not just as detailers, or even as business persons but as human beings. I never thought this was possible until I joined the International Detailing Association. It is there that I found a home and like individuals with similar passions and ambitions to see the detailing world unite and lift each other up.

Again this year the education classes were absolutely worth the trip even if there was nothing else going on. The only problem with the education day is that I cannot be in multiple classes at once.

Last year at Mobile Tech I was inspired to continue to learn more, to better myself and my business. Soon after I returned I signed up for the online Certified Detailer exams. After completing those and receiving my certification I decided I would also take the Skills Validated test. Unfortunately there were not many, if any at all, that were close enough for me to attend. So this year at Mobile Tech I signed up early for the SV testing. I was a little nervous before just not knowing what exactly to expect but felt confident in my knowledge and skills as a detailer. I really felt that it was a good experience to go through to help me understand how to better train my own employees.

One of the coolest things about Mobile Tech is the networking with detailers, whether they are a one man show or an owner of multiple detail shops or even a distributor of detailing products or equipment. It is really awesome to see all of these different types of detailers and business people get together and offer up their own wisdom and experience to help each other out and make the whole detailing industry better.

Art Baca, Owner, CD-SV, Art of Detail

A great example of this was a class given on Friday afternoon by Art Baca who is the owner of Art of Detail in New Mexico. His class was not really detailing relate. He shared a lot about his personal experiences and how and what made him successful. He talked about all the many mentors he has had over the years and how it helped him change his mindset and they way viewed the world. This was an awesome class to be a part of and one of those experiences that makes you rethink the “why” behind everything that you do and helps to make sure you’ve got your priorities in order.

I was also able to be in a class that was taught by Marty Hill of Total Auto Solutions, DJ Patterson of Eco Green Mobile Detailing and Ben Kaden of Green Cleen A Detail Company. They talked about the impacts of the detailing industry on the environment and the precautions need to be taken and things that can be done to minimize any negative impacts that a detailing operation can have. They also presented some new and innovative ideas and things they are doing to make the detailing industry go “green”. It was awesome to see what can be done to kick the use of potential pollution and contamination. We are definitely going to be implementing some of these things here at Onsite Detail.

All Mobile Tech 2019 was a great success for me personally and for the business. This is one of those events that I will not want to miss out on in the future and will always try to make sure I blocked it out in my calendar far in advance.

Thanks to all who I met with and all who helped motivate me and increase my knowledge and skill. I hope to continue to network and work with you in the future.

I hope to all of you at the first Mobile Tech Expo Las Vegas this year!

by Chris Blaisdell, CD-SV, Onsite Detail

Chris Blaisdell is the owner of Onsite Detail and has been detailing  for 12 + years.
He is a Certified Detailer-Skills Validated detailer through the
International Detailing Association. The industry leader in detailing standards.

5 Things We Love at Onsite Detail

Love is in the air, and we at Onsite Detail are not immune!  We are already gearing up to clean vehicles as part of your perfect date night.  Be it shining up your car’s exterior from last week’s winter storm or deep cleaning the inside for peace of mind as you go to your dinner reservation, we are ready to get detailing!

However, even us employees have things we love as a company.  This blog is being written to recognize five of the biggest things we love here at Onsite Detail, starting with:

  1. Our Customers!

We love our customers for so many reasons.  If you have ever had a service from us you’ve done more than help give us an income.  As a mobile company having so many places to go and things to do lets our detailers see something different every day, and they appreciate it!

One of our detailers just the other day expressed how one of the perks of the job is its different scenery every day.  They go through cities, neighborhoods, businesses, and nature areas of all kinds while on the job and meet all kinds of different people, young and old, native and non-native.  When I talk to people on the phone I hear stories from people of all backgrounds. No matter who it is, everyone has something in common that we also love.

  1. Messes!

Marie Kondo of the Netflix series Tidying Up isn’t the only one who loves mess!  As a detailing company there is nothing more satisfying than bringing a car from filthy to like new.  We have handled many kinds of messy or tricky scenarios, from pet hair and kid’s snacks on the inside to removing oxidation and tar on the outside.  And this isn’t just limited to just cars!

  1.   All Vehicles!

While we love helping all makes and models of car, we don’t stop at cars.  We have also done:

Utah Boat Detailing Onsite Detail

Utah Boat Detailing Onsite Detail


  • RVs
  • Boats
  • Motorhomes
  • Airplanes
  • Semi Trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Construction Vehicles
  • Buses
  • Farming Vehicles
  • Snowmobiles


We don’t just stick with messiness as a prerequisite for these vehicles to be treated by us.  We also love…

  1. A Challenge!

Do you have swirl marks, faded plastic or rubber, fogged headlights, a stain or smell you just can’t get rid of?  Did you know those are things we can take care of?

No matter the vehicle type, our detailing doesn’t just make your car/truck/etc. shiny but also helps it with long term care too.  With unique services like Headlight Restoration, Buffing & Polishing, Clay bar Treatment, and Plastic Restoration, we can help keep your car like new for years to come.  Jobs like these are difficult for just anyone to do, but we love a challenge and bring experience to the job with expert results!

And for the number one thing we love…

  1. Surprises!

At Onsite Detail we don’t like to stay still.  As a company we are growing fast and have made improvements steadily.  Now we are preparing to announce a big surprise to make our experience better for the customers we love so much!  Keep in touch on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for a future update, you’ll be hearing from us soon!

We hope your Valentine’s Days are enjoyable, and hope to be part of the fun!  If you want us to do some detailing you can reach us at 801-412-9274 or fill out a Request Form so we can get you all set.

by Miranda Hughes, Onsite Detail

5 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Car Lovers

Auto Detailing Gift Certificate

One of the thing that car lovers love to do is pamper their cars. Now, many car lovers love to pamper their car themselves but for those of them that do not have the time or just would prefer a professional service to do it. Onsite Detail offers Gift Certificates by dollar amount that can be put towards any service your car lover wants or they can be purchased by service and size of vehicle.

Car Maintenance Kit

Many car lovers are DIYers when it comes to their cars. Their cars are their babies and they really enjoy spending time with and taking care of them. A “car maintenance kit” can include things such as;

  1. Tire Pressure Gauge
  2. Snow Removal Brush/Ice Scraper
  3. Microfiber rags for dusting/cleaning
  4. Air Fresheners
  5. Rubber Floor Mats
  6. Glass Cleaner

There are many other things you could add to the kit. Only you know your car lover the best so think of things they might like and use the most. You can even get items personalized for them such as custom air fresheners or a custom parking spot sign.

Tickets to Auto Event or Car Show

What does a car lover love more than looking at cool cars. There are always events going on all around Utah, some free and some you’ll need to get tickets for. Here are a few sites that have events listed Utah Car Czar and Jc Hackett.

Vehicle Maintenance

Another thing that car lovers like is to make sure their car is running in tip top shape. There are many mechanics that are more than willing to work with you to provide some kind of maintenance package or just a surprise gift for someone. One of the best mechanic shops in town is Denny’s Auto in Riverton. They have some amazing technicians and the best customer service around.

Car Movies

As mentioned in the car show/event section, car lovers love to look and watch cars. There are plenty of movies that are based around different aspects of the car world. There are documentaries as well as fast paced action movies. The most popular is probably The Fast and Furious series. I’m sure you all seen that.


All in all there are many car based gifts that are out there. Many more that I have not mentioned here. Make them personal and thoughtful and I’m sure your car lover will love you for it.

by Chris Blaisdell, CD-SV, Onsite Detail

Chris Blaisdell is the owner of Onsite Detail and has been detailing  for 12 + years.
He is a Certified Detailer-Skills Validated detailer through the
International Detailing Association. The industry leader in detailing standards.

Mobile Detailing and Shop Detailing


There are many differences between mobile detailing and shop detailing. There are not many differences in the results you get by having your car professionally detailed in a shop or having your car detailed by a professional mobile detailing service. Although most of my experience is with mobile detailing. I do have some experience with detailing in a shop. There are definite pros and cons to each one but most of those fall onto the detailers themselves. Not the actual people getting their vehicles detailed.

You would never be able to tell which vehicle was detailed in a professional shop and which one was done by a professional mobile detail service.Depending on the lighting in a shop, it can help with paint correction but can still be successfully done outside by someone with the proper skills and a trained eye. The same goes for the interior. The sun light outside can help you see things easier than a lot of shop lighting. There will be differences on how certain things get done but can both produce amazing results. Everything that is done in a shop can be done in a mobile detail service.

I will try to explain the best I can the different detailing experiences and how they vary with mobile detailing and shop detailing. Although I prefer mobile detailing, shop detailing has its advantages, one being heating and air conditioning. One of the biggest advantages that comes with mobile detailing is convenience to the customer.

Having had experience in mobile detailing and shop detailing, I’m going to do my best to help you understand the difference between the two. To do this I’m going to give you a normal day in the life of a detailer doing each one. You may be expressing that that sounds like an odd idea but inwardly, I know you’re looking forward to it.



Shop Detailing

As a shop detailer, getting to the shop in the mornings can be nice because you don’t have anywhere else to go. Most of the time you will be able to get started right away. With my experience it takes minimal preparation to start working in a shop.

Some shops will have inside wash bays and sometimes you will wash them outside and then move them inside after. My daily goal was usually trying to get one car done per day. I realize that many shops will not do full details on every car and services will vary.

A little bit about my shop detailing experience; it was a high-end used car dealership, I did full details on every single car including engines, paint correction, full interior details, headlight restoration (if needed), and rims and tires. I don’t want to spend much more time on the detailing process at a shop but more the daily routine.

When I would begin my day, I would pull the car into the wash bay and take out the floor mats and prepare them to be pressure washed. I would also pop the hood and spray degreaser on the engine (with the engine still running), and wash the car and deep clean the tires and rims, etc. After all said things are washed and clean on the exterior I would pull the car into the shop. Depending on my mood of that day I would either do paint correction first or detail the inside of the car.

In a shop it was a huge plus to have all of the chemicals and equipment organized and easily on hand when needed. The car was always in the same spot and the detailing “stuff” was right there. It made it easy to have a routine and almost identical process for each car.

One big thing that sets shop detailing apart from mobile detailing is putting all the transportation on the customers, with the option of leaving the vehicle overnight, which has some advantages. One of which include is there is no rush to get finished in a given amount of time. If any carpet needs to dry, it can be left overnight. It will give that carpet a good amount of time to dry and go untouched. Depending on when the customer will be picking the car up, the morning time is a good time to double check and do any final touches on the vehicle before starting on the next vehicle.



Mobile Detailing

Mobile detailing, on the other hand, eliminates being able to start right away like shop detailing. After checking the van and making sure you have everything you need for that day, you will get headed to your first job and have some travel time before arriving to the job. Once at the job site, you’ll have to figure out where to pull up next to what your working on and that will vary greatly from place to place. Even though you have everything you need in the van and you have a process, you have to adapt according to each location.

Mobile detailing opens up many doors for you as far as the size goes for whatever you will be working on. People who have boats or RVs, in most cases, will not be able to bring them to a detail shop, let alone leave them for overnight services.

Convenience to the customer will be a big business boost for the mobile detailer and a huge plus for any customer who has a busy schedule. A couple big issues with mobile detailing will be traffic between appointments and weather conditions. Weather will always be a determining factor on how much you can do on any particular job and how many jobs you can do in a day. Sometimes the weather will not permit an exterior detail job to take place if its raining or too windy and dusty. At times mobile operations can work in a customers garage to avoid inclement weather but that also depends on the size of the garage and what a particular job entails.

Now before I mentioned that when I detailed at a shop I typically did a car a day at the the dealership. Mobile detailing will most typically offer a wide range of services and a wide range of different vehicles. Some services will be small and take little time and some will be bigger and take much more time, but this wholly depends on the operation and what types of services are offered.

Scheduling for mobile detailing can be a little more tricky when you have customers in different areas and wanting various types of detailing services. The best way to do it is to have areas designated for different days so you’re not driving in all different directions in day trying to get to all your jobs. The amount of jobs per day could be anywhere between 1 to 5. With mobile detailing, a lot of jobs that are done won’t be full details. You may have a full interior detail at one place, an exterior wash and wax at another, and an RV wash at another. The day to day will be different scenery which, for me, was one of my favorite things about mobile detailing.

So even with all the variables that can come your way with mobile detailing, the days still  might be a little more enjoyable. You will also have added benefits such as more face to face customer contact and getting to know them on a more personal level. You also get to learn the areas where you work and get to have some pretty sweet views some days.

Hope this helps you understand a little more about mobile detailing and shop detailing and the benefits and some cons of each one. Those things might be done differently in a shop that you’d see from mobile detailing but both can produce the same results. Ultimately, a good detail company will have ways to accomplish things and to provide the customer with an exceptional experience, which is what we always strive to do at Onsite Detail.

by Andy Stallings, Operations Manager, Onsite Detail