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Removing Cigarette Smoke Odors from a Car

Cigarette smoke permeates many materials of a car's interior, making it a challenge to remove the smell. This guide is about removing cigarette smoke odor from a car.

cigarette odors in a car
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September 4, 2009 Flag
1 found this helpful

My husband and I just bought a truck and it reeks of cigarettes. We have tried everything we know of, and can't get the odor out. I sprinkled baking soda into the carpet, and even went as far as spraying my favorite perfume into the A/C vents. While this helped some, and the perfume makes the air smell nice, it hasn't eliminated it. I really need some advice.

By Steph.W from Albemarle, NC

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September 6, 20090 found this helpful

The idea of some citrus is good but how about the febreze including the one that is "fresh car" scent. If you have not done it, and have any fabric, headliner, side panels, seats, as well as floor, that would be my first, and second effort. Then keep windows open a bit as often as possible, and hang a couple good fresheners. You might have to do the febreze again, but if you have not tried it, it would certainly be worth it. We have had good results in any area we have used it. We have never had to deal with smoke residue, so this is just a hopeful suggestion.

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September 7, 20092 found this helpful

I had the some problem, first I took the mats(vinyl) out and washed them with hot soapy and bleach water and left them in the sun to dry, I then vacuumed , washed the entire interior with a Murphy's oil soap solution (use directions on bottle if you don't feel comfortable without measuring) even slightly swiping the cloth seats,this took about 2 hours,also taking special care to double clean the windshield as this is where most of the nicotine collects. After all this I took about a cup of unused coffee grounds and spread them in an aluminum pie pan then let the car set the rest of the afternoon in the hot sun! Talk about smelling heavenly and clean, unless of course you don"t like the undertone of coffee.

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July 1, 20160 found this helpful

Ok, I want to admit we were years, 20 +years ago smokers and smoked in our cars. Most cars don't even have ash trays anymore, so it must be less smell than then inside a vechicle. Call it crazy but we just aquired a previously owner car that smoked was smoked it, but no burn marks. So yrs ago we cut apples and place into the closed vehicle until the apple had almost dried up, then discard the cut up apple and do again. It worked 30 years ago, as i remember. We are certainly are rrying this process again. It certainly isn't an overnight fix, but we certainly pray it will with time work. We started this evening, when we got home with the car from the dealership. I can tell the dealership has done a lot of the commercial stuff. Will let you know after another +++ days how this has worked. Hope this works for someone else as well as us.

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July 7, 20160 found this helpful

What about effects on lungs? 3rd hand smoke from truck interior?

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January 4, 2012 Flag
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I would like information on removing the smell of cigarette smoke in a caravan. Thank you.

By Mieke

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January 5, 20120 found this helpful

Cut an apple in half and leave it overnight. It will absorb the order.

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January 6, 20120 found this helpful

I've had to do this several times both in the States where I'm from, and here in the UK where I now live. Trust me on this-if you don't get rid of the nicotine on the walls, floors, and ceiling, the smoke smell will come back no matter what you do to freshen the air.

So the best thing to do is get a huge jug (or several) of vinegar; make up a half vinegar, half water solution and use the solution to 'mop' the carpets and ceiling with a well wrung sponge mop.

Then wipe down the walls with some more of the solution, and leave several shallow bowls of straight vinegar in each room for a couple of days. The odor of both smoke and vinegar will dissipate.

You'll be horrified to see the yellow-orange muck that comes out of the carpet and off the hard surfaces. It may take a couple of cleaning sessions to get it all off.

For a quick air freshener, you can dampen a tea towel with straight vinegar and flap it furiously through the room you are trying to freshen-my son is a chef and has used this tip several times when a trainee lets something burn in the kitchen, lol!

Because you use the word caravan, I am going to assume you are in Europe, the UK, AU, or NZ-you are looking for distilled white vinegar. If the word malt is on the label the vinegar will be a bit stronger in the odor but will still work as a cleaner and air freshener.

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January 6, 20121 found this helpful

I used to smoke quite heavily and my car smelled like an overflowing ash tray. When I quit, I put lots of baking soda in the ash tray. When not in use, I left the car windows closed so the baking soda could do its magic. Change the baking soda frequently. Took about two weeks but it really worked

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June 17, 20160 found this helpful

Bowl of vinegar...close doors & windows & leave for several hours/overnight.

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February 12, 2005 Flag
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My brother-in-law just got a work van that smells of cigarette smoke really bad. How can he get rid of the smell? There is no carpeting in it.

Donna J.

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February 14, 20050 found this helpful

Place 2 apples (sliced in half) under the seats and let them sit a week. Repeat until the smell is gone.

Works like a charm

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February 14, 20050 found this helpful

Try cleaning it with vinegar....once it dries the vinegar smell will disappear and you can then spray with air freshener or hang a few air freshener tree in to give it a GOOD smell.........

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February 17, 20051 found this helpful

i use ODOBAN -which i get at sams. it works on all odors. eliminates odors --doesn't mask them. use it for fire damaged homes and it works great. will get any smell out and it doesn't return. great for litter box too. Eucalyptus and wildflower smell. nice clean sent

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Anonymous Flag
October 31, 20150 found this helpful

Does cigarette ash actually keep moths and silver fish from destroying car carpet?

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August 19, 2012 Flag
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How do I get cigarette smoke smell out of my car?

By Robin

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May 31, 20151 found this helpful

Set a small pint jar half full of white vinegar, close up the windows and leave that all night ... the vinegar will absorb any and all bad smells no matter where you find them, I promise.

I do this all the time in my home leaving several small jars of vinegar set in different areas of our house UNSEEN as this helps control cooking odors too (like the cooking cabbage smells).

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June 7, 20160 found this helpful

Lid off?

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February 5, 2011 Flag
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My interior truck heater caught fire causing smoke damage inside. The fire department put it out with foam. What is the best way to clean interior hard surfaces? How can I clean the upholstered seats and remove the smoke odor?

By Linda from Hendersonville, NC

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April 24, 20110 found this helpful

Most of the suggestions I have viewed below 'may' work, with the exception of using bread as an odor sponge. However, if you are looking to take an approach that will in fact *work*, then the process is simple.

Get a can of Scotchgard Fabric & Upholstery Cleaner

Follow the instructions on the label. Repeat the process again after 7 days, if necessary, depending on how bad the smoke damage is/was, you may need to apply a 3rd application after 14 days. Once you have rid yourself of the smoke smell, then it's suggested that you invest in a fabric sealer by 3M which does an excellent job at enhancing the Scotchgard Fabric & Upholstery Cleaner's sealer protection.

Armor All any plastic trim in your vehicle to augment the upholstery cleaning you have done over the past two weeks. This process will ensure a smoke free vehicle smell either for your personal use or if you plan to sell your car.

Also, an inexpensive air freshener to use if you plan to leave your car sealed and unused for an extended period of time would be to wrap some Bounce laundry softener sheets to the underside of both the driver/passenger seats and under the dash with a paper clip or by tying it into a knot around a wire (careful not to disconnect a wire if you chose one, you don't need a lot of pressure to tie them).

Best of luck!

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February 5, 2011 Flag
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How does one remove an acute smoke contamination from a car that was in storage for 4 to 5 years?

By Stephen from Knoxville, TN


Removing Smoke Smell From a Car

I have had to deal with this problem twice. When buying a mattress from my mother and dad who both smoked, I
put newspapers under our sheets and changed the papers weekly. The ink in the paper will absorb the smell. It is
fool proof, but does take about 30 days of changing the papers as often as you have newspapers.

Also, once I used my Filter Queen in a car my husband bought second hand. It did the job in just one overnight use. The last suggestion is to rent an ozone machine like the ones used in motels for removing smoke from the rooms. (02/23/2010)

By SimplySharon8

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February 23, 2010 Flag
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Can someone tell me how to get the cigarette smell out of a car?

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