How To Get Smoke Smell Out Of Your Car

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It is easy to tell that you have entered a car belonging to your smoker. That’s because the smell of cigarettes smokes is hard to miss and quite distinct.

Therefore, if you buy a used car from a smoker, you will may a hard time enjoying a ride unless you learn how to get the smoke smell out of your car.

As a matter of fact, you don’t need to be a non-smoker to find the smell irritating. Once it becomes stale, even a smoker will wish that it goes away.

Fortunately, removing the cigarette smell in your car can be easy if you use the correct methods below:

  • Replacing the in-cabin air filter of your car
  • Cleaning its interior
  • Using a deodorizer

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at each method and some tips!

A Step By Step Guide On How To Remove Cigarette Smell From Your Car

How difficult is it to eliminate smoke odor in your vehicle

If you are tired of smelling smoke smell every time you enter your car, these are the steps to follow.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools

For you to eliminate the smoke smell, make sure that you have these things:

  • Microfibre cloth or towel.
  • Glass cleaner.
  • Car shampoo.
  • Odor neutralizer.
  • White vinegar.
  • Baking soda.
  • Water.
  • Filter replacement.

Step 2: Clear The Interior Of Your Car

Other than things that can’t move, go ahead and remove everything out of the car. Clear the truck and ensure that there is nothing that’s not part of the car left.

Step 3: Make The Car Conducive For Working

The process might take some time which is why you need to be as comfortable as possible. One way of ensuring that is increasing ventilation.

For example, if you are working in a garage, keep the door open. Equally important, open the cars of your door and roll down the windows.

Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes before you start working on it. Then, if possible, turn on your heater for 15 minutes to heat fibers in the upholstery since that relaxes the pores.

Exposing it to sunlight would also serve the same purpose.

Step 4: Replace The In-Cabin Air Filter

After some time, smoke particles accumulate in the cabin air filter. For effective results, you will have to replace it with a new one that works perfectly.

This is how to go about it:

  • Empty your glove box.
  • Detach it, which is simple and doesn’t require any tool.
  • Remove the old in-cabin air filter.
  • Replace it with a new one.
  • Reattach the glove box.
  • Return the content of the glove box.

Step 5: Clean The Interior Of Your Car

This removes all the unnecessary things, including debris, old food particles, cigarette butts, and all sorts of trash. You also need to clean the mats, seats, and every inch of your car.

These steps will help:

  • Vacuum the car to remove any waste lying around.
  • Remove the mats and clean them thoroughly.
  • Leave them to dry.
  • Clean any carpet still inside the car, seats, dashboard, door trim, floor, and headliners with a cloth or leather cleaner depending on their materials.
  • Wipe excess cleaner with a paper towel.
  • Dry the cleaned surfaces with a microfiber cloth or towel.

Tips When Cleaning Your Car

  • Since you might be using harsh chemicals to clean the car, you should protect your hands by wearing gloves.
  • Equally important, protect your arms by wearing long-sleeved shirts.
  • As for the prevention of inhaling the chemicals, wear a mask that can filter the chemicals and mask the smell.
  • You might have to wash the car one more time to eliminate the odor.
  • If you are working on trim or leather, ensure that the cleanser you use is designed for use on such surfaces.
  • Don’t overlook below the carpets and seats or assume any crack or crevice.
  • Don’t forget to sort the ashtray as well.

Step 6: Use The Deodorizer

This is how to go about it:

  • Turn the ignition of your HVAC.
  • Ensure that your AC is at its maximum.
  • Use the odor neutralizer and spray the vents.
  • Repeat all that but ensure that the AC is off and the heat is high this time around.

This guy knows what he is talking about, watch this video below:

Why Is It Hard To Eliminate Smoke Smell?

You are probably wondering how to go through all that trouble?

That’s because you are dealing with smoke from cigarettes that contain many toxic chemicals, not less than 7000; consequently, upon burnings, the formation of particles left behind only to settle on any surface and pore available.

That makes the smell hard to eliminate. When it comes to metal, leather, plastic, and glass surfaces, it will be relatively easy to remove the smoke particles.

However, once you start working with fabric, you can rest assured that it will be pretty hard. After all, they are more porous than other surfaces.

Equally important, how easy or hard it will be to get the smoke smell out of your car is determined by the type of fabric. Some have a higher fabric porosity than others.

Why Not Use An Air Freshener Instead?

As much as it takes effort and time to get the smoke smell out of your car, don’t be tempted to take the shortcut of using an air freshener.

After all, it doesn’t eliminate the smoke smell but rather masks it. However, it has to be there, or else the smoke will continue lingering.

In addition to that, air fresheners also have chemicals. Therefore, hanging one in your car will be adding more chemicals to your car, which already has too many smoke particles.

Various Ways Of Getting Rid Of Smoke Smell In Your Car

If the steps above didn’t work completely, all is not lost. There are various ways of eliminating that smoke smell that won’t go away.

Here are some of your options:

1. Using White Vinegar

It will do the trick, no doubt. All you have to do is pour white vinegar into a bowl or cup. After that, leave it in your car for an entire night. Thank me later, most likely the following day.

2. Using Baking Soda

Baking soda has been known for removing various odors. You can rest assured that the smoke smell is no exception.

So, go ahead and sprinkle it on the carpets, floors, and mats. After that, vacuum the soda ash off, and you can as well say goodbye to smoke smell and other odors.

3. Using Charcoal

Another option is going for a bowl of charcoal. It works similarly to white vinegar.

However, instead of leaving the bowl of charcoal overnight, you will do so for several days, and the odor will be gone within no time.

4. Using Citrus Fruits

They include oranges, limes, and lemons. Peel any of them, usually freshly cut, and then leave them in your car for a couple of days.

It is pretty effective, which guarantees the removal of smoke smell from your car.

5. Using Coffee Grounds

It is important to note that this method will most likely mask the smoke smell instead of eliminating it.

If you don’t mind that, put coffee grounds inside your car. You will not smell smoke smell as long as they are inside.

6. Using Dry Sheets

This method is applicable if your seats are made of cloth. Simply wipe those seats using the dry sheets. They will stop smelling a smoke smell, but your car will still have the odor.

7. Using Cat Litter

Find a bowl, then fill it with cat litter. Leave it in your car for some days giving it time to absorb the smoke smell. It will be gone after some time.

8. Using Ozone Treatment

One must admit that using the ozone shock treatment, simply known as ozone treatment, is one of the most effective ways to eliminate smoke from your car.

However, it would be best if you avoided it at all costs unless all the other methods have failed you.

That’s because it is quite unforgiving. Therefore, making even the smallest mistake when using it can cost you a lot. It is quite hazardous and should be avoided at all costs.

Preferably, ensure that it is a professional using it on your car.

If you decide to use an ozone generator, follow these steps:

  1. Clean every inch of your car.
  2. Connect the ozone generator to a hose or simply place it in the car.
  3. Start it until you fill your entire car with ozone.
  4. Turn on the air conditional or fan to ensure that the ozone reaches every duct and crevice in your car.

How To Avoid Smoke Smell In Your Car

Instead of going through all that trouble of eliminating the smoke smell out of your car, the best way is to avoid it in the first place.

Here are some tips:

  • The most obvious one is to avoid smoking inside your car.
  • If you can’t, ensure that you smoke while the heater or air conditioner is o. that will ensure that the smoke heads towards the filters and the vents.
  • Always ensure that the window is cracked every time you smoke inside your car.
  • Equally important, smoke with the cigarette near the window opening to ensure that the smoke gets outside the car and not inside.
  • Did you know that e-cigarette doesn’t smoke as much as the traditional one? That’s why you should prefer using the former if smoking inside the car.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Much Does It Cost To Get The Service Of Getting Smoke Out Of My Car From A Professional?

If you don’t want to go through all that trouble or nothing seems to be working, finding a professional is a smart move.

If you have a car, you can rest assured that you will pay between $50 and $125 on average.

On the other hand, an SUV or van will cost you from $75 to $150. So, weigh your two options and see which is fair.

Do you choose to go through the trouble or paying the price of getting the job done?

The ball is now on your court.

Q2. Does The Smoke Smell Affect The Value Of A Car?

The smoke smell can affect the value of your car indirectly.

That’s because no one will ever come outright and say that they plan to buy your car at a lower price simply because it smells cigarette smoke.

Instead, however, they will come up with other excuses. For instance, they will bring up nicotine staining and ask you to value your car with that in mind.

For others, the smell is a red flag of a car with a permanent smoke smell. Therefore, they will avoid it frustrating your attempts of reselling your car.

Q3. How Often Should I Deodorize My Car?

This will depend on several things.

Do you smoke inside your car?

If not, you don’t have to deodorize often and vice versa. If you smoke in your car but use the tips discussed above, you may not have to deodorize it often either.


From the above discussion, it is not easy to eliminate the smoke smell from your car.

Nevertheless, you have many ways of doing it, and since the end justifies the means, all that matters are removing the odor eventually.

With the instructions at your disposal, getting it done will be much easier. Follow our steps carefully. If they persist, don’t forget the alternative methods.

Preferably, seek professional help as it can save the day when everything else fails.

Keep in mind that it isn’t easy. Therefore, don’t give up easily just because the first round didn’t work. Every round is a step closer to a car that’s free from smoke smell.

Don’t let the smell make it hard for you to resell your car. Eliminate it as soon as possible and, if need be, smoke in such a way that most smoke doesn’t land inside the car.