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How to Get Rid of Rotten Potato Smell in Car?

Get Rid of Rotten Potato Smell

Potatoes are a popular staple in many households but can be a major source of frustration once they start to spoil. If you have ever left a bag of potatoes in your car for too long, you know just how overwhelming the smell can be. The stench of rotten potatoes can not only be unpleasant, but also embarrassing if you have passengers in your car. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to get rid of the odor and make your car smell fresh again.

One of the easiest ways to eliminate the rotten potato smell in your car is to sprinkle baking soda over the affected area. Let the baking soda sit for several hours or overnight before vacuuming thoroughly to remove all of the baking soda from your car. This method is effective because baking soda is known for its odor-neutralizing properties.

In this guide, we will provide you with a step-by-step process to get rid of the rotten potato smell in your car. By following these simple steps, you can eliminate the unpleasant odor and enjoy a fresh and pleasant ride. So, if you have ever been in a situation where you left a bag of potatoes in your car for too long and want to know how to get rid of the smell, keep reading.

What Causes Rotten Potato Smell?

Rotten potato smell is caused by a chemical compound called methanethiol. This compound is produced when potatoes start to spoil and break down, releasing a pungent odor. Methanethiol is also responsible for the characteristic smell of other sulfur-containing compounds like rotten eggs and garlic.

Rotten Potato Smell

Potatoes can start to spoil when they are exposed to moisture, heat, or light. When this happens, the starch in the potatoes is broken down into sugar, which can then ferment and produce gases like carbon dioxide and methanethiol. The smell of rotten potatoes can be quite strong and persistent, and it can be challenging to get rid of if it has permeated a surface like the upholstery of a car.

It’s worth noting that potatoes are not the only food that can produce a rotten smell. Other fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and dairy products, can also emit an unpleasant odor when they spoil. It’s essential to handle and store food properly to prevent spoilage and the associated odors.

What Happens If You Smell A Rotten Potato?

Smelling a rotten potato is generally safe, as long as you don’t inhale it excessively. Eating a rotten potato can cause food poisoning. Discard any potatoes that have begun to rot or show signs of decay to avoid such risks. Regular exposure to strong odors can cause headaches, dizziness, or nausea, so consider wearing a face mask or improving ventilation.

Is the Smell Of Rotten Potatoes Dangerous?

The smell of rotten potatoes is not usually considered dangerous, but it can be unpleasant and irritating to some people. Methanethiol, the chemical responsible for the rotten potato smell, can be irritating to the respiratory system and may cause coughing or shortness of breath in some individuals. However, exposure to small amounts of the smell is unlikely to cause harm.

The real danger of rotten potatoes lies in consuming them. Eating a rotten potato can lead to food poisoning because the bacteria that cause the spoilage produce toxins that can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Therefore, it is essential to discard any potatoes that have begun to rot or show signs of mold or decay and to handle and store food properly to prevent spoilage.

Is Rotten Potato Smell Toxic?

Rotten potato smell is not toxic, but it can be irritating to some people. The odor is caused by a chemical compound called methanethiol, which is produced when potatoes start to spoil and break down. Methanethiol has a pungent odor that can be strong and persistent, but exposure to small amounts of the smell is not usually considered harmful.

However, if you are exposed to high concentrations of the rotten potato smell for an extended period, it can cause irritation to the respiratory system, leading to symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath. In rare cases, prolonged exposure to high concentrations of methanethiol can lead to more severe symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or nausea.

Therefore, it is important to handle and store potatoes properly to prevent them from rotting and producing the associated odor. If you do smell the odor of rotten potatoes, moving away from the source and getting fresh air should be enough to alleviate any discomfort.

Can The Smell Of Rotten Potatoes Kill You

Smelling the odor of rotten potatoes is not fatal on its own. However, the gas responsible for the odor, hydrogen sulfide, can be toxic in large amounts, and prolonged exposure to high concentrations of this gas can be deadly.

What You’ll Need

  1. Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds are a great natural deodorizer and can help absorb unwanted odors.
  2. Baking Soda: Baking soda is another powerful natural deodorizer that can help neutralize unpleasant smells.
  3. Vinegar: Vinegar is a versatile household cleaner that can be used to disinfect and deodorize surfaces.
  4. Container (Optional): A container can be used to hold the coffee grounds or baking soda and help absorb odors in a specific area.
  5. Cloth or Sponge: A cloth or sponge can be used to apply the cleaning solutions and wipe away any residue.

How To Get Rid Of Rotten Potato Smell In Car

If you are struggling with the unpleasant odor of rotting potatoes in your car, there are easy solutions to remedy the problem.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile substance that can effectively absorb a wide range of odors, and it is readily available at your local grocery store. To use baking soda to remove the odor of rotten potatoes from your car, simply place it in a container and leave it in the affected area. The baking soda will absorb the unpleasant smell and prevent new odors from developing.

Before using any odor-eliminating methods, it’s recommended to apply a deodorizing spray or alcohol-based perfume to the affected area. This technique can be particularly effective if the potatoes have not been in the car for an extended period.

It’s important to note that these methods can be used to eliminate a variety of unpleasant smells in your home, not just in your car. However, it may take a day or two for the odor to completely disappear, so patience is key.

Vinegar For Smell

White Vinegar

Vinegar is a useful solution for neutralizing the odor of rotten potatoes in your car. Begin by creating a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar, then use a cloth or sponge to apply the mixture to all surfaces of the car, including the carpets, seats, and dashboard. Ensure that the vinegar solution isn’t too diluted, as this can reduce its effectiveness.

After cleaning all surfaces, leave a small puddle of the vinegar solution on any specific food stains that are causing the odor. Let the solution sit on the stain for a few hours before cleaning it up.

Another effective method is to place a bowl of white vinegar in the car and leave it open for at least a week. The vinegar will absorb the odor, thereby eliminating the smell from the air. If you’re worried about spillage, transfer the vinegar to a jar with holes poked into the lid or simply leave the lid open for the vinegar to do its job. Keep in mind that vinegar has a strong odor, so it’s advisable to keep the car windows open for ventilation.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee Grounds

If you’re having trouble removing the smell of rotten potatoes from your car, try using coffee grounds as an alternative to white vinegar. Fill a saucer with coffee grounds and place it in your car, preferably in an open area. If this is not possible, transfer the coffee grounds into a jar with holes poked into the lid to allow the aroma to spread throughout the car.

Another option is to wrap the coffee grounds in an absorbent material such as an old piece of cloth or a paper towel, which will help them soak up the unpleasant odor. Be careful not to use too many coffee grounds as they have a strong scent.


Getting rid of rotten potato smell in your car is not only essential for hygiene reasons but also for your health and that of your passengers. By following these simple steps mentioned above, you can eliminate harmful bacteria as well as any unpleasant odors that may have accumulated over time. Remember to always wear gloves when handling potentially dangerous materials like rotting potatoes. And if necessary repeat any cleaning steps until the bad odor disappears completely. With these tips on how-to-get-rid-of-rotten-potato-smell-in-car, you can enjoy driving again without having to worry about nasty smells emanating from inside the car!

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Lim Tony, an experienced author, provides practical cleaning guides and tips. With expertise gained from the cleaning industry, Lim empowers readers to achieve cleanliness and organization in their spaces. Simplify your cleaning routine with valuable insights from Lim's informative content.