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Windscreen water fluid smell


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Hi all,

I'm currently having an issue with my 2012 ISF whereby when I use the windscreen washer, right after I'm able to smell a stagnant/moldy water smell coming through the air vents.

It only blocks out the smell if I set the air circulation to be cabin recycled only and not from the outside which I generally prefer.

I've tried completely emptying out the water reservoir and re-filling it but the smell is still there - You can easily smell it if you open the water reservoir cap and have a whiff. I've also tried a high mix of the washer detergent fluid with water - but this does nothing either.

I've mentioned this to the service department last time but they failed to do anything about it, any ideas? I've searched for the Air cabin filter on Youtube which seems like it's in the glovebox which doesn't seem like it'll affect the washer fluid smell?

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Worst case may need to remove bottle and give it a very good clean. It may have a build up of hard water residue and grime coating the plastic. This will aid bacteria growth.

You could try 1/2 filling with vinegar followed by a cup-full of baking soda. Then after it has reacted try to wash it out fully.

Stubborn surface grime may be able to be cleaned off with a cup-full of nuts, bearings etc and sloshing it around to dislodge the grime. Remove pump 1st.

Followed by a good wash out.

Note: I have never removed a washer bottle from a Lexus IS yet but the time will come.


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Thanks for the replies, I'm not too sure how to remove the entire washer bottle to deep clean, was wondering if it's possible for me to just shove a hose into it full blast and have it overflow out after the vingegar/baking soda - not sure how well this would work.

It can't be normal as it's only just begun this year, the smell is very potent as it comes through the air vents and stinks out the car as it'll linger for weeks without febreezing the entire car multiple times and airing it out. 

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Don't put baking soda in unless you can flush it out. Residue may block jets etc.

You will always smell washer fluid but when it goes offf.... yuk.

You could try a good dose of disinfectant, chlorine based maybe??

Put a towel over jets when flushing thru.

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Had a look at the cabin filter and also replaced it with a carbon activated one I'd purchased from https://cabinairfilters.com.au/products/car/asian/lexus-is-f-cabin-air-filter-2008-2015/

Unfortunately still no luck in resolving the issue, will have a look at using some type of citrus or disinfectant solution. 

I think I'm just going to drop some of those steradent steralizer tablets in, mix with hot water, and let it sit for a bit. Then try one of those manual pump siphoners that people use for their home aquariums to suck all the water back out. 

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Ended up running 2 cycles of 4x steradent tablets + hot water through the washer water bottle.

Pumped it back out twice using one of those cheap handheld siphon kits for aquariums.

Smell is all gone! A good fix for all those that run into this issue in the future on any car.

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