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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 4, 20090 found this helpful
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I'm not an expert, but here are some suggestions: I know you've used baking soda, but pour, and I mean pour, baking soda into all of the cracks, crannies, carpet, seats. shut the door for at least 8 hours then vacuum really well. may have to do this several times.

You can also try this with those dry carpet fresheners that you can buy in the grocery store. They're basically baking soda based, but have scent in them. Use them on all the cloth in the car.

Also, try the kind of activated charcoal that you put in aquariums, I read that you can put it in ash trays hidden in a room during a party and it will absorb smoke smells. Febreeze? Did you try that yet?

I'd shampoo the carpets and seats with a product that removes pet odors and messes. Also, when you're doing these things, don't forget the roof of the inside of the car.

I'd google the manufacturer of your car and ask them for advice. I bet they'll have a solution for you because they'll want you to buy another one of their cars. Take the car to your local dealership and see if they can recommend anything.

The thing is, surely used car companies and car rental companies, and hotels run across this all the time and there must be a solution somewhere.

Did you try cat litter? A pain to use, but it might absorb odors.

There's a product called Damp Rid you can buy in Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowes, etc. that absorbs the damp. Who knows? Maybe it will absorb smoke smell as well.

Call your insurance company and ask them for advise. They handle all sorts of burning smells.

Visit your local fire department. I'll bet they have a lot of advice. Bring some brownies with you.

Good luck. I hate to tell you bad news, but I hope your car doesn't have leather seats because someone I knew had leather seats in his car, smoked, and tried to sell the car, but the smoke smell never left the leather.

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September 6, 20090 found this helpful
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Try taking a citur fruit, depending on your favorite smell. Citrus fruit gets rid of lots of smells. Put several pieces in differnt places in the truck. I would suggest under the seats, on the seats (inside a bowl). Leave this for a few hours. Hope it helps.

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September 7, 20093 found this helpful
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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
0 found this helpful

I would like information on removing the smell of cigarette smoke in a caravan. Thank you.

By Mieke

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January 4, 20120 found this helpful
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Put a bowl of household Amonia on the floor mat, close doors & windows for 24 hours...presto!

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January 6, 20120 found this helpful
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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
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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
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Bowl of vinegar...close doors & windows & leave for several hours/overnight.

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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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February 12, 2005 Flag
0 found this helpful

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 12, 20050 found this helpful
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Hang a small bag made of cheesecloth, a coffee filter or other fabric full of ground coffee (unused). It absorbs odors and replaces the smell with a nice one.

Susan from ThriftyFun

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February 17, 20051 found this helpful
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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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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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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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September 21, 20160 found this helpful

I have seen this before I am goin to give it a try thanks for your help. I wanted to buy it and try but have never heard anyone say if it works. Again thanks.

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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
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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?

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