The wonders of vinegar
I bought an older camper van to renovate over time. The van smelled rather perfumy when I got it, but I realized over time it was masking a very acrid body oder smell, which intensified dramatically in the heat. I was able to diminish the smell through massive disinfecting and leaving the van open for several weeks, and the body is pretty good now.
However, the large overhead storage area would not air out no matter what I tried. Like the roof, it is completely lined by a thin, quilted foam pad which holds the odor. It felt like someone punching my olfactory nerves every time I opened it.
Based on an article about removing skunk odor from a home by placing a bowl of vinegar in the corner of the affected room, I gave it a try. I put the bowl in the overhead storage overnight before a trip, closed the cabinet door, and darned if it didnít to the trick! The smell is almost completely gone the next morning.
I have two stinky dogs that come with us camping, and it is probably just a matter of time before their smell infiltrates the quilting as well. Iím thinking of putting out a bowl of vinegar after each trip.
Iíve also heard boiling vinegar and water will work, probably faster. The basic premise is that odors are usually acidic, and vinegar is alkaline, which neutralizes them.