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Smelly van...smelly van....Why do they smell so bad?
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billybobrudebaga
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:30 pm    Post subject: Smelly van...smelly van....Why do they smell so bad? Reply with quote

ok....my van smells like old socks and I can not get rid of the smell. I think someone must have used some kind of smelly fabric cleaner on the seats and carpet, cause it is rank. I need some help.

1. Has anyone else out there cleaned their upholstery and if so, what did you use to get rid of the stench?

2. I checked for dead animals and old socks, but came up empty.....is there any chance there is something else I should look for? Sometimes the smell comes from the vents when I turn the fresh air fan on. Maybe something died in the vent lines.....

any suggestions for cleaners is appreciated...or tips.

Thanks so much.

-Billy
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carterzest
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Smelly van...smelly van....why do the smell so bad Reply with quote

billybobrudebaga wrote:
ok....my van smells like old socks and I can not get rid of the smell. I think someone must have used some kind of smelly fabric cleaner on the seats and carpet, cause it is rank. I need some help.

1. Has anyone else out there cleaned their upholstery and if so, what did you use to get rid of the stench?

2. I checked for dead animals and old socks, but came up empty.....is there any chance there is something else I should look for? Sometimes the smell comes from the vents when I turn the fresh air fan on. Maybe something died in the vent lines.....

any suggestions for cleaners is appreciated...or tips.

Thanks so much.

-Billy


Shampooed my 1980 with Tide and Really hot water...made a bunch of foam and lathered up all seats in 1' x 1' sections then wet dry vac'd up....did rear seats, front seats and all carpets and mats...still had a smell, repeated a week or so later and aired out on a really hot day and it was gone....I think it was some bad milk spilled or ??
Then Febreze and Tree air fresheners. Biggest tip is air out your van every chance you get....nice day, at work...pop top!
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r39o
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the rear heater has ever leaked, you can get a bad funk in your van.

In my case I took most of the interior out. Then cleaned everything off that I could see. Then Fabreezed the insides of the van.

NO MORE BAD SMELLS!
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ra_der
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's mice that are stinking me out. My westy isn't a daily driver and if it sits a couple of weeks the meese move in.

I've crawled all over looking for their entryway. I totally emptied the van, vacuumed everywhere and set traps, caught four!

Today I caulked all around the air conditioner lines that come up through the closet floor. This spring I methodically blocked and taped all the cracks and holes around the air intake under the grill.

But I still have a lingering odor. I'm a feared Mickey or Minnie crawled deep into the nether reaches of the cabinets and went to be one with Walt. Short of removing all the cabinets I've run out of ideas.

I've heard of the moth ball method, but also heard that that smell is almost as tough to get rid of.
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Zero419
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just stripped my complete interior and found much mice poop and nests in the insulation between the body panels and the interior panels. There is now way to fabreeze that.

I was also able to fix some rust

see my "stripping interior" post.
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Gauche1968
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hero419 wrote:
I just stripped my complete interior and found much mice poop and nests in the insulation between the body panels and the interior panels. There is now way to fabreeze that.

I was also able to fix some rust

see my "stripping interior" post.


Wow man, BEWARE of Hanta virus. Don't clean that poop w/o a mask, gloves and bleach.
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Zero419
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woops


how about a shop vac and trash bags, will that work?

by the way, I haven't emptied my vac yet. So your saying I shoulden't have my pregnant wife help me?

Check.

I will burn all yuckness
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carterzest
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gauche1968 wrote:
hero419 wrote:
I just stripped my complete interior and found much mice poop and nests in the insulation between the body panels and the interior panels. There is now way to fabreeze that.

I was also able to fix some rust

see my "stripping interior" post.


Wow man, BEWARE of Hanta virus. Don't clean that poop w/o a mask, gloves and bleach.


Yes be very careful...Our substation operators have to be especially careful of this as well....Meeces like confined spaces....Here is some good basic info on hantavirus....http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehsphl/factsheet/hanta.htm
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a shallow pan, like a kitty litter tray. Fill it with about 1/2-1/4" of ammonia. Lay this on the floor and park the van in direct sunlight for a couple of days. The heat will evaporate some of the ammonia, it will kill off the mildew, mice and insects. It should smell fresher after that. Let the van air out with windows and door open for an hour afterwords.
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campism
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We rented a Rug Doctor to clean our Westy's interior. Took out the rear mattress (over the engine cover) and the top bunk pads but left all the other fabric/rugs in place and just used it according to instructions. Febreze afterwards if you like, but of you really want to CLEAN it you'll need to use a device like the RD or some serious elbow grease.
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swmontana
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once you're done ammonizing put a little box of D-Con somewhere that your kid or dog won't get at it. We used that in all our old buildings on the farm. The mice eat it and dehydrate to death. Their little carcasses are like mummies, no odor (unless you boil them).
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Zero419
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just took my 3 matress cushions out, sprayed them with 50/50 bleach and water and am now waiting for them to dry.

Its been 3 days now with a fan blowing in them and they are still damp.

P.S. the bleach ate away at the foam in some spots. (very minor)

The covers went in the washing machine
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MootPoint
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The mouse issue was discussed a couple o' weeks ago. In case you missed it, here's the link:
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=317972
I keep several traps in the van all the time (it's not my daily driver) and check them every couple of days so I don't leave a dead one there for weeks. But since I closed off the spaces around the air intakes in the front (per the linked threads) I've had zero mouse problems except when I've left a door or window open unattended.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get ahold of a gallon of Pimp Oil.
Blow it inside the Van on all of the material --seat's & rugs.

It'll smell like Irma La Douche's house of ill repute in there--

No smelly sock's---
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get ahold of a gallon of Pimp Oil.
Blow it inside the Van on all of the material --seat's & rugs.

It'll smell like Irma La Douche's house of ill repute in there--

No smelly sock's---
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RCB
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TK.............what the hell is pimp oil???? Is it the stuff you put in your hair to keep your jerry curl all curled up ??
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carterzest
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogpilot wrote:
Get a shallow pan, like a kitty litter tray. Fill it with about 1/2-1/4" of ammonia. Lay this on the floor and park the van in direct sunlight for a couple of days. The heat will evaporate some of the ammonia, it will kill off the mildew, mice and insects. It should smell fresher after that. Let the van air out with windows and door open for an hour afterwords.

hero419 wrote:
I just took my 3 matress cushions out, sprayed them with 50/50 bleach and water and am now waiting for them to dry.

Its been 3 days now with a fan blowing in them and they are still damp.

P.S. the bleach ate away at the foam in some spots. (very minor)

The covers went in the washing machine

CAREFUL..DO NOT MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA...toxic to humans! Especially in confined spaces!~
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of the suggested solutions (pun not intended) pretty much mask the smells. Baking soda actually eliminates them. Spread it liberally on, and especially under, carpets, sprinkle on upholstery, dump it down air vents, etc. Wherever you think the source of the reek is. Leave it there for several days, longer is better, and vacuum it out thoroughly. No more smells, no perfumy prettiness lingering afterward to give you headaches or inspire reveries of that long-ago visit to the donkey-bars in Juarez. Unless that's a pleasant memory. If so, just don't tell the wife why you're always smiling when you're in the van.

Mice love to get into the front ventilation intake, wander thru the venting system, and if they don't take up residence in the air box itself, they often cruise on back thru the door beam ducts and climb thru the louvers in the B-pillars. Once they get in there, they fall down to the bottom of the B-pillar and die in the bottom of that dungeon. About a half-box of Arm & Hammer dumped down each one oughta do the trick. There are also drain plugs below them that can be removed if you want to flush the remains out the bottom.
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GreenMachineVW
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No one has mentioned the huge oder collector: the canvas pop-top tent. I washed mine by hand in place. Soaked it from the outside with the hose, soaked it from the inside with a spray bottle of soap and water, brushed and scrubbed it by hand with a large scrub brush. Rinsed and repeated. Rinsed, and left it to dry in the sun. The pop-top itself is also a possible source. If there is any mildew on that it will need to be cleaned as well. I cleaned mine by hand in a similar fashion, but there have been lots of posts on cleaning that here. My Westfalia always had a mildew smell, but after comletely stripping out the interior, scrubbing like a son of a gun, and replacing on the panels with 1/8th inch birch it smells fine after a year, most of which was spent unused in the driveway.
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billybobrudebaga
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 5:36 pm    Post subject: Tencent Reply with quote

Thanks for all the input....I must say though that I can with confidence say that the smell is def. coming from the fresh air vent lines....somewhere from up front is the worst.
I didn't see any mice or carcasses in there anywhere, but I did dump some baking soda all over the van and into some of the vents on the top of the dash and the channel in the door and the opening that goes to the front an up to the air box.

Not sure the best way to get some good amount of baking soda into the air box in the front though.....any suggestions on that one??

How about adding the baking soda into the channels along the roof line too?? Do the plastic covers come off so I can dump some in there???

Bentley manual shows good diagram, but no real specs on getting into the system to get rid of the stank.......

Any more help is appreciated.....

-Billy
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