How to protect your car boot from damage, smells and dogs


Car boots can often get dirty, messy and smelly with heavy use. The more you use your car boot, the more often you’ll need to clean it.

In this guide, we show you the best ways to protect and clean your car boot.

In this guide:

How to protect your car boot from dog hair

Step 1: Clean the dog hair from your boot

The first step is to remove the hair:

  • Give the boot a good vacuuming. You can also use a dog hair removal brush. For those hard-to-reach places, wrap your hands in Sellotape and take up the dog hair from the carpet.
  • Invest in a boot liner. All our boot liners are:
    • tailored to fit each specific car model
    • made from tough, waterproof and non-absorbent reinforced PVC
    • easy to clean—it will only take a couple of minutes with a wet wipe in situ

Step 2: Prepare the space

If you want to give your pet more room, fold your backseats down. You can still install a boot liner by upgrading to the Rear Plus or Rear Split.

The Rear Plus allows you to fold your backseats down together. With the Rear Split, you can fold your backseats down individually or together.

Protecting the bumper

To protect your bumper from scratches or muddy dog paws, we also offer a bumper flap. You attach this to a loop fastener strip at the end of the liner and can roll it away in the boot when you’re not using it.

Protecting your rear seats

If you have big dogs that like to drool over the headrests, a Rear Seat Flap will help. This attaches to the top of the backseats and flaps over the headrests. For pets that like to press their bum up against the boot door, a tailgate cover won’t go amiss.

1. The Rear Plus

2. The Rear Split

Step 3: Cleaning your hook and loop fasteners

We have a few tricks to help keep the hook and loop fasteners free of dog hair:

  • Before fitting your boot liner, use anti-static spray on the hook and loop fasteners. This will prevent them from being covered in hair.
  • If hair accumulates in the hook and loop fasteners, use a lint roller, tweezers, a comb, duct tape or a toothbrush to remove it. You can then use anti-static spray to prevent hair from getting into the hook and loop fasteners again.

Step 4: Keep pet odour at bay

We all know how much our four-legged-friends like to jump in puddles or lakes, or roll around in mud and sand. These kinds of activities can lead to bad smells.

To keep pet odour at bay, use our odour mat. Its quilted materials means it’s comfortable for your pooch to sit or lie on. It contains an active charcoal ingredient in the middle to absorb those unwanted smells.

How to get rid of smells from your car boot

Smells can be one of the hardest things to remove from your car. Bad odours from wet dogs, spilt liquids or the many different items you carry in your boot (shopping, fishing equipment, bikes, shoes etc.) can seep into the carpet fibres and last weeks, months or even years. Purchasing air fresheners can help mask them, but will never remove them completely.

The best way to protect your boot from smells is by being pro-active. Don’t wait until the smell has already started before you act. Purchasing an odour mats helps prevent smells building up in your car by protecting your boot. Our odour mats are made with an active charcoal ingredient that absorbs nasty odours. The odour mats are made from quilted material which offer some extra comfort for a pet and can be easily cleaned in a washing machine.

Cleaning your car boot

If there are smells radiating from your boot, clean them immediately. The longer you leave them lingering, the more they will ingrain themselves in the fabric.

Step 1: Vacuum your boot

Vacuum your boot to remove any excess dirt. Bits of food and rubbish may have worked themselves into the fabric, which causes odour.

Wet and dry vacuum

If you own a wet-dry vacuum, you can use it to remove any mildew and moisture. This is particularly important if you pack sports equipment (such as fishing rods and bikes) in your car. Any moisture left in the boot will soak into the fibres and cause smells.

Step 2: Use a stain remover

Tackle overpowering smells using a strong stain remover. You can buy these from local supermarkets or garages. Spray the affected area and blot it. Don’t rub the fabric as this can cause the odour to go deeper into the fibres. Leave the stain remover on the affected area for the time suggested on the packaging.

Step 3: Hire professional help

If the previous steps haven’t removed the smells, hire a specialist cleaner. They can give your whole car a clean and use their expertise to ensure your car is odour-free.

Suggested guide: how to clean and maintain your car boot liner.

How to protect your bumper from scratches


If you transport smaller dogs, lift them out of the boot yourself, rather than letting them climb out.

If you transport a pet, or regularly carry heavy objects in your car, you’ll need to protect your bumper. Pets can easily scratch the bumper with their claws when getting in and out of the boot. Heavy objects can also cause scratches (or worse) if knocked into the bumper accidentally.

You can use a towel to cover the bumper but this can quickly become dirty and smelly. These smells will soak themselves into the fibres of the boot and cause bad odours (see above).

bumper flaps

The best way to protect your bumper is with either a bumper flap.

A bumper flap is a removable accessory which covers the bumper. It attaches to the rear of the liner with a hook and loop fastener. We make the flaps from the same quality of material as our boot liners, so they provide the same high level of protection. The reinforced, soft PVC is waterproof and non-absorbent so you won’t have to worry about nasty smells.

How to protect your car seats

If you’re a dog owner, you know they love to jump up on the backseats. Their muddy paws and drooling mouths can cause havoc with your upholstery. Similar issues can occur when you’re carrying dirty or wet equipment such as fishing tackle or mountain bikes.

Again, you can cover at least the top portion of the seats with a towel. But because these are absorbent, they can actually damage your car by soaking up the moisture and transferring it to the seats. If you do use a towel, replace them with clean ones regularly and never leave them on the seat for an extended period of time.

Rear seat flap

A much easier way to protect your seats is by combining a boot liner with a rear seat flap. These flaps protect the top of the seats. They are custom-made to fit your specific car model and can be attached with a hoop and loop fastener.

Car boot protectors: Boot liners

Boot liners are designed to protect your boot from scratches, odours and damage. They come in a variety of materials and designs. These materials also vary in quality so make sure you research your choice and read reviews.

There are two types of boot liners:

  • Generic
  • Custom

Generic boot liners

Generic boot liners are designed to be one-size-fits-all. They come in one standard size only, so they won’t fit all boot spaces. Sometimes they can be cut down to various sizes, but they are likely to leave parts of the boot exposed to dirt and debris.

The poor fitting can cause the boot liner to slip, which isn’t helpful if you transport pets or expensive objects.

Want the perfect fitting boot liner?

  1. Visit our boot liner page
  2. Select your car manufacturer
  3. Select your vehicle model
  4. Customise your boot liner
  5. Get free delivery to mainland UK

Custom boot liners

Custom boot liners are made to fit a specific model of car. This ensures that every centimetre of your boot is protected.

They are usually a bit more expensive than generic designs, because of the added effort that goes into the design and the higher-quality materials used. Hatchbag boot liners are custom-made from reinforced soft PVC, which is waterproof and easy to clean.

Car boot protectors: Accessories

Hatchbag offer a range of accessories that will help protect your boot from bumps, scratches and smells. For a brief explanation of our accessories:

  • Bumper flap—protects bumper from scratches
  • Rear seat flap—protects the top of your rear seats from damage
  • Tailgate cover—protects the boot door of the car from the inside
  • Odour mat—helps prevent smells from seeping into fabric
  • Rubber mat—adds extra protection from heavy objects in the boot
  • Hatchbed mat—keeps your dog safe and comfy with non-slip rubber design and soft pile
  • Boot liner extension—fully protects your boot with an extended cover that reaches till the back of the front seats

Click here to find out more about our car boot accessories!

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