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How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smell in Car? | 5 Simple Steps


Some people like the smell of tobacco but when it sticks in a car, the smell becomes a nuisance to other passengers. Smokers who smoke in their cars are always asking the question of how to get rid of cigarette smell in car.

There are 2 main areas to clean if you were to eliminate all the smell. One of the areas includes the upholstery and the carpet while the second is the heater together with the air conditioning. You can hand wash the carpet of your car with soapy water.

5 Simple Steps On How to Get Rid Of Cigarette Smell In Car

6 Simple Steps InfographicYou can start by using a vacuum to remove any garbage on your car’s interior. Another thing to clean is the heater or air conditioner system by first setting the heater on maximum heat.

You can then spray deodorizer on the intake screen. This is an effective method as it also cleans the heating core together with the duct and blower. Follow these steps for an efficient way to remove cigarette smell that has worked for us in the past:

1. General cleaning cigarette smoke residues

You can clean your car by first getting out all the trash and wiping down the surfaces with a moist towel. Completely clean your car with your regular cleaning product. You can then use a vacuum cleaner for the rugs and upholstery.

2. Eliminating cigarette smoke smell using steam

Steam cleaning is important for the interior. For steam cleaning, you can use a chosen odor remover that probably uses an enzyme. This is although a little costly but gives you value for your money by producing great results.

Steam helps removing odors and it is a effective way to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke from car interior surfaces.

3. Thoroughly clean the duct from smoke smell

To best remove smoke from the duct system, you need a bottle of odor neutralizer. You then need to park in a place with adequate ventilation and leave the air conditioning on while all your windows are down.

A few minutes of this can do wonders on the duct system. We recommend replacing the air filter, and spraying Lysol disinfecting spray into the duct system directly.

4. Clean the air intake system to get rid of bad smells

You should get some deodorizer that is ideal and spray enough on the intake screen that is located under the windshield. This goes way much into eliminating any smoke stuck on the evaporator, blower and also duct system.

5. Use a ozone generator to remove smoke smell from car

An ozone generator machine is one of the best ways to remove smoke smells and bad odors from your car. Make sure that you purchase a ozone generator that comes with an integrated fan and automatic timer.

This helps the machine to act as a plug and play device. Also, after the ozone process is completed let you car air dry for a few minutes.

Other Methods For Eliminating Bad Cigarette Smoke Smell

How to get rid of smoke smell from car remove smoke smell from cigaretteThese simple steps can always bring great scents in your car especially if it is being done for the first time on your car. These steps are basically about primary cleaning although some cars are in worse conditions because of either prolonged smoking effects or even lack of general cleaning for long periods.

Smoking in your car can also have smoke oils left that can also be the cause of cigarette smoke from your car. Some experts also believe that to eliminate such, you need the use of a lot of soap together with heavy shampoo when cleaning the interiors of your car.

This is a mere suggestion and will not go as far as cleaning the duct, the air intake and the heater which also get stuck with smoke. Another way of getting rid of cigarette smoke in your car is using an ozone generator.

Others call this method the ozone shock treatment. A day or two of having an ozone generator machine in the car is thought to be sufficient of completely changing the smell in your car interior surfaces.

However, we do not recommend this method of using the ozone generator for frequent cleaning as it is detrimental to your car in terms of damaging rubber seals on the doors and windows of your car over time.

You should not try this method of an ozone generator machine without expert advice.

Short-term methods for eliminating car cigarette smoke smell

Short term elimination of smoke is far much easier and takes less effort. Below are some tricks that will work just for a change.

  1. Placing a bowl of coffee grounds in your car is of help although it needs several hours. Coffee grounds have a strong smell that will easily overpower the smell of smoke. You also need to close your windows for a faster reaction.
  2. A cup of white vinegar is one of the oldest and simplest tricks in the books. It should be probably left on the cup holder overnight for best removal of odors.
  3. Citrus peels on the cabin are also an idea. You can place them in a cup for convenience. Citrus peels absorb smoke and exchange it for a fresh fruity scent.
  4. Air fresheners are also an easy option straight off the shelf. Most will do enough of masking but you will not have gotten rid of the cigarette smell.
  5. Charcoal can also come in quite handy if this resource is within reach. An open bag of charcoal on your backseat will absorb the smell by morning.
  6. Baking soda is also a solution when sprinkled on the car for a day or two. It is then vacuumed and process can be repeated with another handful of baking soda.
  7. Household items like cinnamon sticks are also known for absorbing bad car smells. Try it to see if it can get rid of the smoke smell.

Commercial products for more permanent bad smoke smell removal

Ozone generator machine eliminates cigarette smoke smelssCigarette smoke has long been known to permeate on fabric all around the smoker. Cigarette smoking also leaves a tar-like film that smells way after the cigarette is over. This tar-like film sticks on the surfaces of your car and might be the problem for the unending smell of cigarette odor in your car.

Reputable companies that have car cleaners and air purifiers include Turtle wax, Einszett, Meguiars, and Autoglym. They produce both dash and plastic cleaners that will go a long way in eliminating the smell.

They also have a variety of carpet and upholstery cleaners. Other new charcoal air fresheners are also known to absorb the smell or scent of cigarettes.

Zero Odor Eliminator

We strongly recommend using the Zero Odor eliminator because it is a non-allergenic product that leaves a flat scent.

This product is made in the United States and it is proven to work in many surfaces without leaving any scent behind the scene. However, we do not recommend just using this product to get rid of smoke smell by itself.

Ozone Generator

Bad smells like cigarette odor can be tough to get rid of. The ozone generator is one of the best proven ways to remove cigarette smells from your auto. Make sure that you read the users manual for you to ensure your car safety.

This machine was designed to be used automatically without the need for any humans to be inside of the car. Make sure that you use this machine on a unoccupied space only. Set the machine one and let it go thru the process.

Once the ozone generator completes its cycle, then let the auto air dry for at least five minutes. You will notice how the machine removes the lingering smoke smell out of car very efficiently.

Upholstery Carpet Cleaner

Spraying air fresheners on you carpet will not remove smoke smells from car. Some cleaning experts recommend for you to DIY hand wash your carpets with soapy water.

However, we have found that the Turtle wax upholstery carpet cleaner works magic when you are trying to eliminate any lingering smoke smell from your carpet.

Vacuum Products

Using a vacuum will help eliminate any smoke residue from carpets and car seats. A combination of using a vacuum and the above mentioned products all together can help to get the smell out of the car instead of just temporarily removing the smell for a few days.

Ozium Products

Ozium has a product that works with satisfying results. This product is Air Sanitizer which reduces airborne bacteria and eliminates smoke bad odors. It is easy to use as much of the job does itself.

One of the companies that are involved in the manufacture of car cleaners has also come on top of the game through their product. The technology is named odor-X technology.

Smokers are also advised to smoke when all the windows are down. This will help in diffusing the smell and create a less effect in terms of smell. They also work well on hard surfaces.

Febreze Products

The following video is essential for learning how to clean your car with a goal of eliminating cigarette smoke entirely. The clip first emphasizes on removing all the sources of cigarette smell including ash and other dirt on the car that might cling on the awful smell.

Another great way to get rid of cigarette smells from your car is using the febreze fabric refresher clean auto product. I like this product in particular because it is a light scent spray, and it is specifically design for car’s interior fabrics.

Wrapping it Up

Getting rid of bad cigarette smoke odor could be done with a combination of simple steps. You would notice that the interior of your vehicle will have a smoky smell after someone has light up a cigarette inside of your auto.

This is very common that is why now you are prepared to combat the smoking smell, and eliminate it completely. Although some people claim that a dryer sheet can help remove cigarette smoke smells, we found that it is not very effective for interior cleaning.

Hope you have enjoyed the best and easy ways to remove cigarette and smoke smells from you cars interior. Other claim that hydrogen peroxide can help to remove odors from hard surfaces.

At all times it is better for you to try to avoid smoking cigarettes inside of your vehicle, or quit smoking in general. For more automotive advice for protecting you cars paint and more follow our blog.

Last Updated on: October 6, 2022

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