Car air freshener review


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There's nothing worse than getting in your car only to realise it smells like dog or last night's take-away or sweaty gym kit or... well you get the picture.

If your car is a bit whiffy then what you need is a good old air freshener; however picking one of those is a minefield in itself. Some are so strong and 'piney fresh' it's like stepping into a super-sterile public toilet, others are so sweet you can almost taste them in the air.

We've picked out some of the top-sellers and asked 3 members of our team to put their noses to the test so you don't have to. The 3 members of our 'Sniff Squad' then came up with a rating between them. Read on to see what our testers thought and how your favourite measures up.

1. Jelly Belly 3D - Very Cherry

Jelly Bell air freshener

What they say: The fragrance of Very Cherry Jelly Belly in 3D! Ideal for car, home or office.

Look: Well it looks just like a giant Jelly Belly bean and they come in pretty much every colour and scent you can think of. Our testers opted for the Very Cherry which is a dark red with the white Jelly Belly logo on the front.

It hangs from a clear plastic hook which isn't all that noticeable, which is good.

Scent: The cherry scent will take you back to your childhood; it's like cherryade or cherry drops - a manufactured scent rather than natural cherry. If you're a fan of that sweet, sugary scent it's for you, if not you may end up crinkling your nose in distaste just like one of our testers.

Overall: Very Cherry indeed, this one has a strong scent but in a subtle way. It doesn't feel overpowering but you definitely know it's there. It's £2.50 from Tesco, so it won't cost you a fortune but make sure you like the scent you go for first, you don't want to throw £2.50 away!

Star rating: 3/5

2. True Grace - Sandalwood & Gingergrass

True Grace air freshener

What they say: An essence of England as it should be.

Look: You get 5 hanging, cardboard air fresheners (they call them leaves) in a smart looking cream box. The air fresheners themselves are on brown cardboard and hang from a string with the True Grace logo emblazoned on the front.

Scent: Our testers chose to sniff test the Sandalwood & Gingergrass which has a deep, spicy scent; imagine walking into a sophisticated menswear department with lots of dark wood. It's quite a strong smell but not overpowering, definitely masculine.

Overall: True Grace is perfect for the more sophisticated driver, at £15 for 5 they're a bit pricey, but one of our testers reliably informs us they do last quite a while.

Star rating: 4/5

3. Yankee Candle Car Jar - Clean Cotton

Yankee Candle air freshener

What they say: Hit the road with fragrance... keep your car smelling great with authentic, true-to-life Yankee Candle scent.

Look: A cardboard version of the well-known Yankee Candle glass jars in a range of colours. The clean cotton is white and features a picture of fresh washing on the front of the jar; it features on both sides so if it swivels in the car you still see the picture.

It hangs from a frayed piece of black elastic which could be nicer, really.

Scent: A lot like strong washing powder with hints of lilies and lemon. In an enclosed space it may be a little overpowering if you hang it up as soon as you open it. Yankee Candle's packaging recommends taking it only part of the way out of the plastic to make the fragrance last longer but our testers thought that after a few days out of the wrapper it's a bit more subtle.

Overall: This one divided our testers with one thinking it was too strong and another describing it as 'lovely and fresh'. Overall though, the scent is fresh but better after a couple of days. It's £2.50 for 1 in Tesco which isn't too bad, but the black elastic makes it look quite cheap.

Star rating: 3/5

4. Little Trees - Forest Fresh

Little Trees air freshener

What they say: Little Trees air fresheners are unique in their quick, powerful and long-lasting effectiveness.

Look: We probably don't really need to explain this one, but just in case you don't know what they look like, it's a little tree, green in this case, hanging from green elastic with Forest Fresh stamped on it in a white box.

Scent: This is definitely more reminiscent of cleaning fluid than the others, piney fresh with maybe a hint of lemon. The instructions advise opening the top of the packaging and removing it a centimetre at a time, week-by-week to make the fragrance last. If you choose to put it in the glove-box rather than hang it from the rear view mirror then that'll be fine, but it may be a bit bulky if the whole thing is hanging up.

Overall: It definitely smells clean which obviously is the intention, but maybe do your own sniff test of some of the other scents on display, our testers thought the Forest Fresh was tad too strong. It is only £1.50 (Tesco) though so you don't need to splash out too much.

Star rating: 2/5

5. Bahiti Island - Bahiti Fruits

Bahiti Island air freshener

What they say: Great smelling, long lasting, island inspired fragrance.

Look: This is an air freshener designed to look like it smells. Rather than just being a dangly piece of cardboard drenched with a scent, Bahiti Island is designed to look like a Lei (Hawaiian necklace) with flowers and beads on brown string. Not ideal if you'd rather have an air freshener you tuck away, but if you're happy to show it off it looks great.

Scent: Very fresh and not too strong; it does have a fruity aroma but in more of a washing detergent than fresh fruit kind of way.

Overall: Bahiti Island is the kind of air freshener you can imagine hanging in the front of a camper van rather than a Jag, but it's cheery to look at and our testers liked it. At £3.50 (Tesco) it's not too pricey considering you get something that looks and smells good.

Star rating: 5/5

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