The smoke smell can be hard to eliminate from a car, regardless of whether you frequently smoke inside the car or buy a used car from someone who smokes.
The use of marijuana, cigars, and cigarettes is the primary cause of the smoky smell inside cars. The longer their smoke stays inside the car, the more difficult it is to remove the odor.
Since smoke may infiltrate the automobile seats and padding, the smell may stay for years. The smoke’s lingering odor may impact your health and the other passenger in the car. Along with that, the car’s selling appeal also declines. It is therefore essential to remove the smoking smell from the car as soon as possible.
How To Get Smoke Smell Out of Car
It is important to clean the car’s hard and soft surfaces to remove the smoke smell. It is okay to spray an air freshener, but it only covers the smell and works for a short duration. Whereas using harsh chemicals can damage the car’s sensitive materials. You will need an effective solution that will remove the smell permanently.
Method-Specific Materials and Tools
- Cleaning rag
- Baking soda
- White Vinegar
- Activated charcoal
- Citrus peels
- Cinnamon sticks
- Cat litter
- Ozone generator
- Commercial odor remover spray
Preparing the Car Before Starting the Cleaning Process
Cleaning the car interior is the first step to removing the smoke smell. Remove all the loose trash or debris from deep under the seats and in every corner. Use a vacuum and collect the dust from car seats and upholstery. In case there is cigarette residue, get rid of it. You can also use a portable vacuum to suck up the dust from the soft interior of the car.
Remove the floor mats and carpets from the carpet. You can clean them after treating the car. Also, clean the glove box and throw away unnecessary items from it. Use a clean damp cloth to clean the box.
Sprinkle Baking Soda To Neutralize the Smoke Smell
Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that effectively eliminates smoke odor from the car. It is an effective cleaning agent as well. You can mix baking powder and water to eliminate stains from the car’s interior.
- Sprinkle baking soda powder on car seats, carpets, and upholstery.
- Let it sit for a few hours or a day according to the smell.
- Use a vacuum or shop vac to collect the baking soda residue.
- If the smell remains, you can sprinkle some more baking soda.
You can also leave a bowl of baking soda overnight inside the automobile. It helps to absorb all kinds of weird smells in the car.
Place Activated Charcoal To Absorb the Lingering Smoke Smell
Activated charcoal is a natural way to remove the smoke smell in the car. While others mask the smell, charcoal helps to eliminate it. You can purchase charcoal bags in pet stores or hardware stores. It is much safer to use than chemical methods.
Place an activated charcoal bag under the seats or floor of your automobile. Within 1-2 days, you can see better results. This method is also effective to absorb smoke smell in the bathroom.
Apply Vinegar To Clean the Hard Surface of the Car
White distilled vinegar has a strong smell that helps abolish the smoke odor. Vinegar contains 5% acetic acid, emitting a potent smell that can mask the smoke. You can use diluted vinegar to clean the affected hard surfaces of the car. It also removes yellow and brown stains left by the smoke.
- Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a bowl.
- Dip a clean rag into the solution and wring it.
- Start cleaning the steering wheel, glove box, and other hard surfaces.
- Use a clean, dry cloth and wipe it clean.
Another way to use vinegar to deodorize the car is to place an undiluted vinegar in a bowl inside the car. You can leave it overnight to let it work. The strong smell of vinegar can mask the smoke smell.
Leave a Bowl of Coffee Ground Inside the Car
Coffee ground is another effective method to overpower the smoke smell. The strong odor can also mask smells like garlic, drain, or urine. But, it might not work 100% of the time.
- Dry the coffee ground.
- Please place them in a bowl or similar container.
- Place the bowl inside the car.
- Let it sit overnight.
- If the smell remains, you can replace the old coffee grounds with fresh ones.
Boiling Cinnamon Sticks To Eradicate the Smoke Smell
Cinnamon sticks are an inexpensive method to mask the smell in your car. Boiling a few cinnamon sticks and placing them inside the car can cover the smoke smell in the car. It will give the car a very fresh and homey feeling.
- Add 2-3 cinnamon sticks and a cup of water to a saucepan.
- Place the saucepan on the burner and turn it on in medium settings.
- After boiling it, pour the prepared water into a bowl.
- Place the bowl inside the car.
- Leave it overnight.
Utilize Citrus Peels To Remove Smoke Odor
Citrus peels of lemon and orange can absorb pungent smells naturally. Place fresh citrus feels in the car for a few days. You can also dry the citrus peels and put them in a breathable bag. Hang the bag in the car, and you can see the results in a few days.
Leave a Bowl of Cat Litter in the Car
Cat litter is a highly absorbent product. It includes odor-absorbing ingredients like baking soda and charcoal. Therefore, it is useful to absorb the smell of smoke in the car. Put kitty litter in a bowl and place it in the car. It also helps to absorb moisture that can control mold growth inside the car.
Purchase an Odor Removing Spray
There are a couple of products in the market you can purchase that can eliminate the smoke smell in the car. There are many different scents of odor-removing spray, including vanilla and citrus.
Spray the solution all over the vehicle’s interior, including the seats and floor.
The commercial sprays are available online, at hardware and cigar shops, and pharmacies. Look for non-abrasive products, like leather, if you have sensitive fabrics in the car.
Invest in an Ozone Generator
Investing in an ozone generator is the last step in case all the above methods are not useful. You can rent or buy an ozone generator if the smoke smell is persistent and hard to remove. The ozone treatment sends ozone into the car at every corner and crevice. Follow the steps below to use an ozone generator in your car safely.
- Remove all the necessary personal belongings from the car.
- Vacuum the car thoroughly.
- Attach the duct to the generator and put the duct inside the vehicle. Always put the generator outside the vehicle.
- Seal the windows of the car.
- Run the generator for at least half an hour.
- Ventilate the vehicle by opening the doors and windows.
Preventing Smoke Smell in the Car in Future
The best way to remove the smoke smell is to prevent it. Here are some effective ways to avoid the smell of smoke lingering inside your vehicle.
Clean/Replace the Air Ducts
The air vent in the car captures the smoke smell and recirculates it. Clean the vents with a special cleaning agent that is safe to use. And wipe it with a clean cloth.
In case the air duct is filled with dirt and grime. It is smart to replace it with a new one. Check the car’s manual to know the location of the vent. The majority of air ducts are in the glove compartment. Remove all the things from the compartment and slide them. Remove the air vent and replace it with a brand new one.
Keep the Windows Open While Smoking
It is understandable to have the urge to smoke. Therefore, when you decide to smoke inside the car, you can smoke by opening the car windows and blowing the smoke outside. By doing this, you can prevent the smoke from getting trapped inside.
Switch to E-Cigarette
E-cigarettes come in various flavors like candy, mint, and vanilla that leave an aromatic smell in your car or clothes rather than a bad smell. Compared to the typical cigarette smell that can linger for years, e-cigarettes do not leave a permanent smell on the fabrics. It is because it creates smoke by heating and not burning. It can, however, leave a smell on poorly ventilated automobiles. Therefore, it is recommended to vape inside the car while opening the windows.
Install Car Diffuser
Car diffusers can be a great way to refresh the air inside your car. It is helpful to eliminate the smoke smell and leave aromatic and toxic-free fresh air. The anti-fungal and antibacterial properties of car diffusers also aid in healing properties in your health. However, it is not very useful for heavy-duty smells.
Invest in HEPA Air Purifiers
The HEPA filters of air purifiers can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns. It can trap pet dander, mold spores, dust, pollen, and particles that make smoke. Therefore, installing air purifiers with HEPA technology will ensure fresh air inside the car by trapping smoke particles. Go for HEPA filters with activated carbon absorption technology while purchasing an air purifier.