Case Study

Hertz Rental Cars

Odor Challenge

A costly and ongoing challenge in the rental car business is ensuring that rental cars are odor-free for its customers. Often, cars are returned with cigarette smoke, fast food, pet, and/or body odors embedded into the cloth of the seats. To limit car returns, complaints, and refunds, rental car companies must find fast, effective ways to eliminate these odors and get them ready for the next rental.

The Hertz Corporation conducted extensive research seeking a solution to eliminate vehicle odors. Fresh Wave IAQ’s technical expertise, the science behind its odor neutralizing products, and its safe use by Hertz employees and customers, placed them at the forefront of other suppliers.

“Addressing odor problems is a common challenge for any rental car provider—it can keep cars off the road and result in dissatisfied customers,” said Kent Seavey, Hertz Division Vice President, Operations Support, North America. “We wanted to take a progressive approach toward odor neutralization by finding an innovative partner that provides [an eco-friendly] technology to help us meet these demands, and Fresh Wave IAQ was clearly the best choice.”


Together, Hertz and Fresh Wave IAQ developed a group of products to combat common odors facing rental cars. As part of the Odor-Free Fleet Program, each rental car is treated with Fresh Wave IAQ Air & Surface liquid. Upon return, vehicle service attendants spray Air & Surface throughout the car’s cabin and air vents to remove unwanted odors.

It was very important to Hertz to adopt a safe solution, for the employees using the product every day and customers renting treated vehicles. Harsh chemicals leave behind lingering fumes and odors which are dangerous and undesirable. Hertz also has its own sustainability initiatives that are boosted by the use of natural Fresh Wave IAQ products.

“Fresh Wave IAQ products are very easy to use and the system fits naturally in our overall car-cleaning process,” says Paula Rivera, Hertz Manager of Public Affairs. “And since it is a natural product, it reinforces our environmental sustainability initiatives.”

“Odors in vehicles has been a long-standing problem,” adds John Colloca, Hertz Area Manager. “The previous program that we had in place seemed to cover up odors. What’s different about the Fresh Wave IAQ Odor-Free Fleet Program is that it actually eliminates the smell.”


“We’ve been able to reduce the number of dissatisfied customers for vehicle odor,” says Colloca. “We had an approximately 5.3% detractor score for odors. [The next month] we declined to 4%. [By the following month] we had zero complaints for odor.”

Hertz is currently using Fresh Wave IAQ products to remove odors in its cars at rental locations at 72 major U.S. and Canadian airports. In addition, Hertz is introducing Fresh Wave IAQ at 1,000 off-airport locations and 170 licensee locations across the U.S., as well as at Hertz locations at London’s Heathrow and Stansted airports.

Odors Controlled

  • Cigarette, cigar, and cannabis smoke
  • Food
  • Pets
  • Body odors

Products Used

Find out how to buy Fresh Wave IAQ, through our U.S. and international partners.