How to Get the Smoke Smell Out of a Car

If you’ve recently purchased a used car, you may find it stinks of second-hand smoke. Most people don’t want to drive around with the lingering smell of someone else’s stale smoke wafting from their car’s interior. Fortunately, there are some effective tricks for removing the smoke smell from a car. This blog post will discuss ways to eliminate cigarette smoke odors from your new set of wheels.

Read more about the problems with secondhand smoke smell here.

air freshener in car vent to help remove the smoke smell out of a car

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How to get rid of the smell of smoke from your car.

A step-by-step guide to freshen up your interior surfaces from cigarette smoke.

  1. Vacuum the entire car.

    Vacuum the entire vehicle from top to bottom, paying attention to all the nooks and crannies.
    Pay particular attention to the upholstery, carpet, and mats, as they’re prime areas for accumulating smoke particles and holding on to the smoke smell.little girl distressed by her dad smoking in car

  2. Place a bowl of vinegar in the car overnight to absorb odors.

    Placing a bowl of vinegar in your car overnight can work wonders for freshening your interior. Vinegar has a unique ability to absorb unpleasant smells and leave your car smelling fresh and clean. Place a bowl of vinegar in your car before bed and let it work its magic to remove car odors throughout the night.

  3. Use baking soda on any fabric surfaces, such as carpets and upholstery.

    Baking soda is a game-changer for keeping your fabric surfaces clean. Not only is it an affordable option, but it’s also effective at removing unpleasant odors. Sprinkle a generous amount on the surface, let it sit overnight, and vacuum it up in the morning.

  4. Clean out any ashtrays or other areas with smoke residue.

    Some car ashtrays can detach and be brought inside to soak in a soapy bleach solution overnight.
    Vacuum inside and around the ashtray holder to ensure any spilled ash is dealt with, then spray and wipe well with a heavy-duty disinfectant spray.

    car ashtray full of smoke

  5. Take the car for a drive and let fresh air circulate through it.

    Take your car for a drive with the windows down; allowing fresh air to circulate will make a big difference. Opening up the windows and letting fresh air circulate through your vehicle improves the air quality and neutralizes odors.
    Try to open the doors and boot as often as possible when the car is parked if it’s safe to do so in your area. This will allow more fresh air into the vehicle and let the nicotine smell out!

  6. Use an auto odor eliminator spray specifically designed for cars.

    An auto odor eliminator spray like this one, designed for cars that smell of smoke, can come in handy to remove smoke smells in the car. The specially designed spray penetrates your car’s upholstery fibers deeply, neutralizing smoke smells and leaving behind a refreshing scent. This spray is like a fresh air bomb that leaves your vehicle with that new car smell everyone loves.

    woman arguing with man smoking in car

  7. Wipe down all hard surfaces.

    Wipe down all hard surfaces with a car interior spray like this one.
    Don’t forget to clean these areas:
    ✔️ Windows
    ✔️ Doors
    ✔️ Carpets
    ✔️ Mats
    ✔️ Ceiling
    ✔️ Boot
    ✔️ Door trims
    ✔️ Steering wheel
    ✔️ Dashboard
    ✔️ Seats
    ✔️ Headrests
    ✔️ Mirrors and Sunvisor
    ✔️ Glove box
    ✔️ Gearstick and buttons
    ✔️ Cupholders
    ✔️ Backs of seats
    ✔️ Pedals
    ✔️ Door handles

    You’re cleaning everything you can see!

  8. If all else fails.

    If you can still smell smoke after trying all of these methods, you might want to consider taking your car to a professional detailing service or auto body shop for additional assistance. They may have heavy-duty products to professionally clean your car’s carpets and mats, which will help eliminate the smell of smoke.

More tips to consider!

 man smoking out of the window to prevent the smoke smell in a car

How to get the cigarette smell out of a car with leather seats

  1. Start by vacuuming up any loose debris and dirt on the seats.
  2. Mix baking soda with warm water in a bowl and apply it to the seats using a sponge or soft cloth.
  3. Let this sit for 15 minutes to absorb any odors, and then wipe off with a damp cloth.
  4. If the smell persists, use a leather cleaner to clean and refresh the leather and help remove any residual smoke odor.

How to get the smoke smell out of car vents

Smoke smell in car vents can be a nuisance and make your vehicle’s interior unpleasant to sit in. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to remove smoke odors from your car’s air vents.

  1. Start by vacuuming the inside of your car thoroughly, including any carpets or upholstery. This will help to remove any loose debris or particles that could be contributing to the smoke smell.
  2. Once you’ve vacuumed, use a cleaning solution such as baking soda and water or white vinegar and water to clean the car vents to remove any lingering residue from smoke. Make sure you cover all sides of each vent with the cleaning solution.
  3. After you’ve cleaned the vents, use an odor-eliminating product such as Febreze or Odor Eliminator to help prevent smells from returning. Spray inside each vent and let it sit for a few hours to remove odors.
  4. Finally, place a few car air fresheners like this one in your car to help keep it smelling fresh. Choose an air freshener with a pleasant scent, and change it regularly to maintain the smell.
  5. For extra protection against smoke smells, open all of the windows for some time each day so that any lingering odor can escape.


Can you tell me how to eliminate the car cigarette smell naturally?

Baking soda is one of the best natural remedies for eliminating odors.
Sprinkle baking soda on the carpets and upholstery, then let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up.
You can also put a bowl of baking soda in the car overnight to absorb any remaining odors.

Use Charcoal or Coffee Grounds. Charcoal pouches like these ones, cat litter, and coffee grounds are great at removing odors. Just place them into small bowls around your car overnight.

How long does it take to get the cigarette smell out of a car?

Getting cigarette smell out of a car can take anywhere from several days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the odor. If you find the above methods do not work, take your car to a car wash and ask them to valet the interior for you.

With these steps, you can ensure your car has no smoky odors lingering. So don’t forget: Vacuum thoroughly, air out, use vinegar and baking soda, take it for a drive, use an auto odor eliminator spray when needed, and clean out those smelly ashtrays!

How did you get the smoke smell out of a car? Let us know in the comments below!

Read how to remove water spots from your car in this post.

Read how to stop your car windows fogging up in this post.

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