18 answers

Spilled Milk in the Car

My daughter spilled a half-pint of milk in the back seat of my car. I have leather seats, so I wiped the spill up immediately. The next day, though, my car smelled pretty horrible, and I found a good bit of the milk had leaked between the seats and had pooled on the carpeting of the car flooring under the seats. It dried and spoiled - and then proceeded to super-spoil in this heat! I have a 4Runner, so I have the seat lifted and the car doors open to let it air out. I have sprayed Febreeze, so now my car smells like Clean Breezes and Spoiled Milk.

Anyone have any suggestions as to what I might do to get the stench out of my vehicle?

2 moms found this helpful

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I havn't had the milk experience, but have had some success with baking soda (then vacuum up with dust buster) and baby stain remover spray (for the smell) on other kids spills on fabrics in my home. Hope this helps!

Did you try cleaning the carpet with TuffStuff? It works wonders on carpets and fabrics. I use it all the time with my upholstery cleanings. It can be found in the automotive department at WalMart, etc. It is safe to use on foam seats as well, but not the actual leather. Good luck!

More Answers

My Dad is a car salesman from his home. He swears that all you do is cut an apple in half and put it under a seat for the day with all the windows rolled up. He uses this trick if he has a car that smells of smoke or has any bad odors. Good Luck. I have found yucky getaway bottles and I know how bad it can smell. I actually have never tried but let me know if you do and how it works.

I will be of absolutely no help to you and I am truly sorry for what happened because that is a big bummer ... but thanks for a great laugh!! I once bagged a stool sample for my dog, double plastic bags, and left it in the car overnight so I wouldn't forget it the next morning ... oh boy ... that smell had permeated both bags and made my hot car reek! It made me gag, laugh and a bit perterbed all at the same time. I think you're aloud to cry over this spilled milk! But what a great story to tell in so many years to come

I'm not sure where you live, but if you look for your local professional Chem-Dry, and tell them what happened, we have the right treatments to get rid of the smell and stain. The proteins in the milk do smell bad. Watch out for the Febreze, I have smelled some HORRIBLE stench from vehicles and people who used it. It seems to help at first but then it breaks down esp. in hot weather. Oh, my, smells like they're dying . . .
Anyway, we can help at All-Star Chem-Dry in the Marietta, GA area, or wherever you live there is probably a Chem-Dry near you around the world.
Spilled milk is how I found Chem-Dry but that's another story . . .

I had spolied meat in the car - yes really smelled since the meat was in the car for 2 weeks in the summer. Apparently a package had fallen out of my grocery bag and slid underneath the seat. I took newspaper and balled it up and left it in the car for about 2 days - the carbon on the paper absorbs the smell. I would also highly suggest getting the carpets cleaned in the car

I havn't had the milk experience, but have had some success with baking soda (then vacuum up with dust buster) and baby stain remover spray (for the smell) on other kids spills on fabrics in my home. Hope this helps!

I didn't have time to read all of the responses so sorry if I'm repeating something! I think I would probably sponge clean the carpet with some resolve carpet spray and then try to towel dry it as much as possible. Then spray the area with a vinegar and water mix. Mix the two in a spray bottle and add a drop or 2 of your favorite essential oil - orange and peppermint are pretty strong, but tea tree is antibacterial and antifungal (may help with mildew). Then just allow it to air dry. Let us know what works for you!
Good luck......sounds pretty gross <<LOL!>>
God Bless you & your family (even the one who spilled the milk!).

Wow - the responses are all over the place!

A lot of the "odor eliminators" that you see on the grocery section with Renuzit, Glade, Febreze, etc. "work" by numbing your sense of smell and covering it with perfume.

Try the pet section or pet store, and look for one of the "enzyme" odor removers. (Some of the ones other people mentioned are probably enzyme-based.) Nature's Miracle is the one I've used most often. This stuff may take a few days to work, but I've used it to TRULY ELIMINATE car urine from carpets and a sofa and vomit from the interior of a BRAND NEW car. Ugh!

Usually you douse the area thoroughly, so that it gets deep into the cushioning - you want it get as deep into the foam as the milk got. If you miss a spot, you'll have to go back later as I did, so pour it on. Then you have to wait for it to COMPLETELY dry. If it's a carpet, it may take several days, and THE SMELL WON'T BE GONE UNTIL IT'S COMPLETELY DRY. (In the case of the sofa, the foul smell REALLY permeated deep into the foam of the sofa, so after a week, I drenched the area again, even MORE thoroughly, and the second time got it all.)

As a bonus, all the enzyme cleaners I've seen are fairly safe and non-toxic.

And since it's summertime, you may have your car steam up with all that liquid in it. If you can park it in the garage with the windows open at night, and try to use a parking garage or a shady spot if you take it out in the day.

Hi S.,

Try cleaning with a product called ODOBAN.

Be blessed and continue to be a blessing...

There is a product called Simple Solution that is used for pet stains that might help you out. You can purchase it at Petco or PetsMart. The ingredients absorb stains not just mask them. Hope that helps!


Until you get the milk out of the carpet, it'll stink for a while I think. I suggest steam cleaning. I once left a 5 pound bag on frozen chicken in my trunk. It melted and of course there was a hole in the bag so all the juice ran into the carpet. It was awful. I called Champion and they came to my house with their steam cleaner van and cleaned the carpet for me. There are shampooers that you can use at some self serve car washes but I don't think they suck out the moisture after you clean. Either way, I think the best thing to do is get the carpets cleaned. Hope this helps!

Hi S.,

Karen is right that only an organicly based cleaner will get out an organicly based smell....I use Melaleuca products and they have gotten milk, coffee with cream, blood, etc out of everything! I'm sure Shaklee will help with the milk as well. Let me know if you'd like any info. The products stay in my home, my car, my suitcase and everything everywhere so I don't go anywhere without them...

The smell WILL come out...


You should get you car steam cleaned, this is the only way to permanently and effectively remove the mark and stench out of your vehicle, You should check out steam cleaning ( http://www.detailxperts.net/organic_interior_steam_cleaning ) service of DetailXperts if you are in Detroit or look for there franchise in your area.

it's called Kids and Pets. i discovered it when my daughter spilled milk on my sofa and didn't tell me until i started to smell it. you can get it at wal-mart.

If you have the money,you can take your car to a local had-car wash or auto detailer and ask them to clean the upholstery and carpets. If not, the second option is to use a rug doctor from the drug store to clean the upholstery and carpet. OR you can take a bucket of water with some amonia and maybe a bit of Woolite or cold water wash. Sponge it on the carpets, work it down into the fibers, blot with an old towl and repeat. Blot the rugs dry as best you can. If you have a wet dry vac, suck all the water out that you can and them leave it open and put a fan on it until it is completely dry. Don't soak your upholstery, just wash it well and follow with a leather conditioner ( 2.00 at Big Lots. It is important that you remove all the Woolite residue by rinsingthe carpet with clear water. If the carpet dries and it is really stiff, you have residue left and it sould be sponged off again with hot water or a steamer. This has happened to me several times and these methods work, Good luck!

Did you try cleaning the carpet with TuffStuff? It works wonders on carpets and fabrics. I use it all the time with my upholstery cleanings. It can be found in the automotive department at WalMart, etc. It is safe to use on foam seats as well, but not the actual leather. Good luck!

I use and distribute Shaklee products because they are non toxic and real clean is not a smell! Covering up the problem is not something I personaly am interested in since it has toxic chemicals in it. I would start with the totally non toxic Shaklee Basic H2. Since it has already soured you might need to use the basic G which is not quite as friendly(it does have a child safety cap) as the H but much safer than what we buy in the store. Most of the time the H2 does the job and trust me we have lots of those around here with 9 children(from 3 to 18) still living at home with us. If you want to look up any of the chemicals in your products go visit http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/ingredients.htm.
Most odor eliminators have HYDROCHLORIC ACID in them!
Hydrocloric acid can cause severe damage to skin, can be harmful to health just by breathing the fumes, and can be fatal if swallowed. I have chosen to get rid of all toxic cleaners and I love the fact that I can tell if they have done the job because there is no smell instead of a smell to cover up the bad smell. Let me know if you have any questions!



Try odoban. I bought at Sam's club, but I think walmart may carry it. It may take a couple of days to completely get the smell out, but it should work. Follow the directions on the label. I had milk spilled in my trunk...Nobody told me about...the smell told me two days later. Cleaned the carpet in the trunk with it and two days later all we could smell was the odoban. (not the best smelling stuff, but better than rotten milk.) A couple days after that, we can smell nothing at all.

I know it might sound a little weird, but I have used this in my car as well as on my carpet at home. Try the scrubbing bubbles bathroom cleaner, it works great on carpet stains and it smells fresh and clean. Just spray it on like regular carpet cleaner, let it sit for a few seconds and then scrub it.

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