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My question is not about a specific make or model, but one of health concerns whether I buy a new or used car. I am very sensitive to chemicals and allergens, so when I go car shopping I am concerned about the chemicals in new cars degassing which give me terrible headaches and also have a problem with pre-owned vehicles that may have had animals in it or have been smoked in. Is there a sanitizing service I can ask for that will eliminate these problems, not just for myself, but for every car buyer?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Breanne Boyle, Contributing Editor at AskPatty.com Totsietoo, That*s a tough question. There are air sanitizers out there that can get rid of air-borne bacterias and allergens, including this one at Walgreens: http://www.walgreens.com/store/product.jsp?CATID=100466&id=prod16713 Or you can try using an Oust or Febreeze air sanitizer. If you are buying used, I would recommend you get it detailed by a professional, and ask them specifically to use non-scented cleaners, s they won't bother allergies. You can ask them to sanitize surfaces as well. As far as factory-new cars, I'm not sure you can get rid of those chemicals but you might want to ask a the Female Friendly dealership near you. Good luck! -Bree

Debbie Lee, President at Professional Car Care Totsietoo, yes you can buy yourself an air purifier and place it in your car to remove all odors, etc.. and some dealerships have access to those machines also. Debbie Lee

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Totsietoo, My husband has multiple chemical sensitivity and has had this same problem. He is not able to tolerate new cars so that leaves used cars as his only option. When looking to purchase a used car he has to be sure that it was driven by a non-smoker and did not drive around with their dog in the car. He also wants a vehicle with no rust less then 60,000 miles and that was properly cared for. If the car was properly taken care of under the hood, then it usually was taken care of inside the passenger area. He does not want it to go to a detail shop because they use strong chemicals to clean the car. He used vinegar, borax, lemon juice and some product he got at the local health food grocery store. There is a clean pre-owned vehicle out there. You just need to ask the right questions and have it looked over thoroughly before you purchase it. And don't forget to make sure you take it for a long enough test drive to make sure you can safely be in the vehicle without getting sick. All My Best, Amy Mattinat

Brandy Schaffels, Editor at AskPatty.com, Inc. I'm not aware of any such service or product. You may want to ask the salesperson to show you cars that have been on the lot a little while longer, as they will have had more time to release some of the chemicals present from when the vehicle was fresh off the assembly line. Other than that, I've heard the old wives tale that tossing some wadded up newspaper or charcoal briquet's into the backseat can help remove stale odors, though I've never tried it to know for sure.

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