Excrement and Other Things My Car Smells Like

I hopped in my oh-so-hip minivan today after work on this warm, summer day in Oregon and was immediately taken aback by the moderate smell of excrement emminating from the hot interior.  Not sure why I was taken aback.  My car has smelled this way for at least a week now.

This is minivan number 4 for us.

I know.  You’d like to be as cool as me.  Take a number.  And, just to whet your appetite for my high style of living, I’ll brag that I have not one, but TWO vans.  One mini and one whopping 8 passenger.  That leaves us, like, one whole extra seat to spill on.

The amazing thing about vehicles with 5 kids is the development of a signature odor.  Now, I’d like to point out that we do not live in filth and squalor.  No we do not.  Well, maybe filth on a semi-regular basis.  But the squalor is right out.

Of our 4 vans, the previous two also developed a special scent.  Why?  I don’t know!  We clean the car out, clear it of trash, damp bathing suits and used socks.  We require our children to carry their own stuff in from the car (a special talent reserved for children from large families).  We rarely take the dog with us on trips.  There are no moldy milkshakes (currently) or half-eaten hamburgers (anymore) left about.  So why, over the last week after we cleaned the garbage out, has my car begun to develop a definitive poo smell?

I think there’s an unwritten smell-warranty on my cars.  After a few months (we’ve owned the car for 6), the warranty expires.  No grace period.  No warranty extensions.  That’s all, folks.  Bring on the poo.

Will I search more for the smell?  Will my husband and I tear it apart, deodorize it, hang lime-scented trees from the rear view mirror?  Unlikely.  I’ll probably continue to drive it for many more months, breathing it in.  Which means developing creative excuses for not carpooling with my coworkers to lunches and conferences.  If you have any good ones, let me know.

Why won’t I keep looking for the source and eliminate it?  I have 5 kids.  I’m tired.

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5 responses to “Excrement and Other Things My Car Smells Like”

  1. I am sitting in a study which smells distinctly of wee. This is discouraging, since although my not-yet-properly-potty-trained son has weed on most of our carpets, usually very brazenly and under my very nose, I have not so far observed him relieving himself in here. In England we have a charmingly retro product named “Shake ‘n’ Vac” which does exactly what it says on the tin: you scatter a talcum powder-like substance on the floor and vacuum it up after a brief interlude. The rest of the house now smells of citrus blossom as a result, but in this room the odour of wee still lingers, concerningly enough. A friend of mine once spilled a Starbucks cappuccino in our VW, and the resultant smell was UNBELIEVABLE, to the extent that I too scrupulously avoided offering lifts to anyone of a frail constitution. The product that saved my sanity and nasal passages is called Febreze – does it exist in the US? It gets rid of any and all smells. I’ll FedEx you some. There’ll be ample time for you to take a nap after you’ve applied it, so you’ll be less tired AND have a fragrant car. Win!

  2. I have an overwhelming urge to run to the store and pick up some delicious smelling air freshener for you. Nobody, especially tired moms with lots to do, should have to drive around in a poop-smelling wagon. Next time I make it to Fred’s (or anywhere they sell scent masking devices) I shall pick one up for you.

    Remember how we talked about having a chocolate ministry a few months ago? Perhaps now I’ll change my outreach: smell-masking ministry. What do you think? 😉

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