7 Tips on How To Get Smoke Smell Out of Your Car

7 Tips on How To Get Smoke Smell Out of Your Car

When selling your vehicle to dealerships or private sellers, they will take any opportunity they can to reduce the cost. An easy target, in this case, is the smell of the vehicle, especially if it is smokey. An easy way to get a fair value out of your car is by cleaning the scent from your car.

In many cases, having a poor smelling car is a deal-breaker. Really, it should be one for you as well, indicating a lack of attention to detail. But, it’s only natural to smell if you have the habit, which some of us do. With this in mind, we have some tips you can use to get the smell of cigarettes from your car.

Remove All Traces of Cigarettes From Your Car

The first step in cleaning the smell of cigarettes from your car is removing any traces of cigarettes. You will want to be incredibly detailed. Start by taking a vacuum cleaner to each part of your vehicle.

This will include on the seats, dashboard, cushions, and under the car seats. If there is an ashtray, you will likely need to take it out, vacuum it, and wipe it out as well.

If you have any filters lying around, be sure they are gone as well. You can even go as far as checking the trunk. You can also use a brush to clean up stained sections of your car.

Tip no.1: Use Natural Deodorizers

One way you can remove a smelly odour is by replacing it with another strong smell. In this case, white vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that does well to remove foul odours.

By placing it in a cup and placing it in a cup holder within the car, you can leave it overnight to spread the smell throughout the vehicle. The heat of the car works as a natural condensation element, providing you with an easy early step to remove the odour.

Cat litter also acts as a natural odour absorber. If you have a cat, you are probably already aware of this.

Find a bowl and fill it with cat litter. Place that bowl in the back of the car and allow it to sit for a night or two. It also works to remove fog from your windows, as it acts as a natural dehumidifier. You can de-fog your windows with this.

There are other options you can use. These include newspapers in your car, mixing hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar for cleaning, and covering the floor and upholstery of your vehicle in baking soda.

Tip no.2: Purchase and Use a Shampooer

While we have mentioned a couple of “lifehacks” on removing smoke from your car, nothing will beat a good cleaning. Be sure that you finish vacuuming all traces of cigarettes before beginning this.

When you make a purchase, you will want something portable and powerful enough to use anywhere. You can also have a garage with an extension cord, as many carpet cleaners are just as good.

Given the power behind the smell of smoke, you are likely going to have to run it a few times. In combination with other deodorizing techniques, this can work wonders.

Also, be sure not to use a shampooer with dirty water. This may cause the device to add extra unwanted smells.

Tip no.3: Hire A Professional Detailer

If shampooing doesn’t work, your next best bet would be to hire a professional detailer. Many professionals have certain guarantees of service, some of them related to the odour in the car.

If they do have any service guarantees, be sure that you get that statement before hiring them. Make it clear that your highest priority is removing the smell from your car. Most detailers can handle this with relative ease.

Tip no.4: Wipe Down Surfaces That Don’t Tend To Maintain Smells

Contrary to what you may believe, even plastic or metal surfaces can retain odours. Be sure to wipe those areas down as well.

You can use a combination of mild soap and water. In extreme situations, you can use water and vinegar combined. You may also use products that are specifically made for cleaning metal and plastic surfaces.

If you wonder what chemicals will work with your surfaces, you can always refer to the owner’s manual. Information on this manual may also help you in cleaning other locations.

Tip no.5: Use Products That Are Made For Cleaning and Deodorizing Cars

If there is a need, the chances are that there is a product that exists to clean for that situation. To keep things simple, you can choose to purchase a cleaning product combined with a de-odorizer.

These cleaning products typically come with instructions that give you a step-by-step process. This process will simplify any cleaning that you may do. It also takes the guesswork out of what cleaning products you can potentially use.

For deep cleaning efforts, you may have to invest in renting or buying a steam cleaner. They are made to moisten the deeper end of the carpet so that you can get deeper scents out of it.

Given the overall cost of steam cleaners, it may not be suggested to own one outright. This changes if you have other reasons to own a steam cleaner.

Tip no.6: Clean out The Ventilation

One thing that people often forget when removing car smoke is ventilation. It can be pretty tricky to remove the smell of cigarettes from this area.

It is suggested that you purchase a specific product for this situation. Often, these products will require you to spray the material right into the air conditioning, activating them for several minutes to remove the smell from the vents.

The owner’s manual may reveal some potential ways to detail clean should ventilation cleaning products do not work.

Tip no.7: Replace Your Seat Covers and Car Mats

If you have seat covers and car mats, those will have a habit of absorbing a good chunk of your smells. Because of this, you may want to consider replacing the car mats completely.

If this is not something you want to go through with, many seat covers are machine washable. You may try to run them through your washing machine a couple of times.

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to throw these out. It is better to replace seats and mats than give up several hundred dollars lost on a car sale.


There is a variety of life hacks one can use to clean up your car. You can use household items, including hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and white vinegar. All of those are useful home remedies you can start with.

Once you run out of those home remedies, nothing beats a good cleaning. This will require you to possibly purchase some car cleaning products, including those specific to cleaning the ventilation.

If light-duty cleaning products don’t work, you will need to move to heavy-duty cleaners. These can include shampooers and steam cleaners. If steam cleaners don’t work, you can move onto hiring a detailer as a last resort. You may start wherever you want, but always be willing to try many things. If you would like some visual instruction, below is a video on the subject.

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