Laura, EZ Auto Rental (Caribou, Maine)
Around here, the worst messes to clean up are tree sap and road tar. Inside the car, my biggest issue is getting rid of the cigarette smell. A lot of people around here treat the rental vehicle like a garbage can.
To clean up smells, we use carpet shampoo, deodorizers and sometimes even engine degreasers. Scented baking soda is good for carpet stains. We use stuff you would buy for your homes.
Cleaning fee: none charged. We’re supposed to charge a cleaning fee, but we don’t. Renters complain about it, so that’s why we just don’t bother.
Lauren, Avis Rent A Car (Corpus Christie, Texas)
We use vinegar to get out fish smell. We’ve found sour milk in a vehicle which left us with maggots. We used baking soda to get that out.
We once found a rat in the engine, which stunk up pretty good. We took the vehicle to one of our body shops, and they had to take some parts off the vehicle to get the pieces of the rat out. Actually, the eyes were kind of looking at you when you opened it.
Cleaning fee: $50 and up, depending the situation.
Mike Risheill, Arena Dodge (Dayton, Ohio)
We occasionally get tree sap. We occasionally get pets that have thrown up in the back seat. We have special cleaners who clean it up for us. Everything is pretty much industrial strength. We have some aerosol stuff that we use to cover up the smell.
Cleaning fee: $50. No one objects because it’s in our terms of rental.
Ryan Fahey, North Star Rent A Car (Sitka, Alaska)
We’ve just got a small rental fleet here and the worst we get is stuff like coffee stains. We use a rug cleaner to get out the stains. We scrub it in and then we rinse it out with an extractor. It works pretty well.
Cleaning fee: Minimum of $50, up to the cost of a new interior. The renters don’t object.