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.
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Here are questions related to Removing Cigarette Smoke Odors from a Car.
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
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!
I would like information on removing the smell of cigarette smoke in a caravan. Thank you.
By Shelly Elsner 01/06/2012
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
How do I get cigarette smoke smell out of my car?
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
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.
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.
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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I bought a car that was owned by a smoker. I've done a pretty good job of getting the smell of smoke out of the fabric but the heating/cooling system smells heavily of stale smoke. Anyone have any ideas of how I can 'clean' the smell? I've tried burning incense with the interior air circulation going full blast but the incense wore off and the smell of smoke is still there. Help. I'm desperate. Thanks in advance.
Take a ziplock bag place paper towels or cotton balls that have been soaked in vinegar, place it under the seat and leave the ziplock bag open overnight. This should really help. I have a daughter who smokes and I couldn't ride in teh car with her because of the smoke, she did this and it really helped! Good luck:) (05/26/2005)
By Becki in Indiana
1)Foggers - They require a chemical to be discharged sending the fog into the air.The chemical fog kills bacteria, and foggers disperse chemicals into every microscopic pore of a vehicle's interior.Foggers also contain specialized products to eliminate every type of odor.
2)Ozone machine - These units have long been touted as the best option to permanently remove odors and purify the air in autos.These machines do not require chemicals and run on their own. Ozone is heavier than air. An ozone machine requires the oxygen (O2) levels to be turned changed to O3. Air quickly returns to O2 within a home and much quicker in a car.
3)Vapor steamer machines - Very high-end shops use these units, which can clean just about any surface.The attraction is that they can clean and deodorize all surfaces extremely well and cut chemical use by about 25 percent. Also, the surfaces are left virtually dry and chemical-free. Vapor systems use high-temperature (240-298 degrees) water vapor and pressure to clean and sanitize virtually any surface. Hard to clean areas such as cracks, crevices, deep cavities, and air ducts are easily cleaned with minimal effort. Previously inaccessible places can be easily cleaned and sanitized using this process. Surfaces are dry within minutes. A vapor steamer machine easily penetrates air vents, crevices in engine compartments, under seats, door jams and headliners. There is no better method for completely removing tobacco smoke film and eliminating bacteria driven odors.
I hope this will be of some help to those of us used car buyers who inherited a smoke smelling car. (12/29/2005)
I've washed the interior of my car with baking soda water, kept the inside of the windows wiped down with vinegar water, and used lava-rock bags and an ozonator. These aren't one-time fixes -- you have to keep at it because the chems in cig smoke are so pervasive.
Oh, and keep the windows open (at least cracked) whenever you can. Nuthin' like fresh air, and the price is right.
Good luck! (02/04/2006)
NO NO NO I did this at home and my son became asthmatic and I had to replace all the air ducts in my home. Too costly for health (02/28/2006)
They're called cabin filters, (yes)they usually are located behind the glove box. I would recommend bringing your car to a local mechanic shop before selling it if you do smoke and have this filter changed, the difference is great. I'm just glad I'm a mechanic, because i will only pay part cost on that job :) good luck (03/28/2006)
The reason the smell is so persistent is that the smoke tar deposits itself to all the ventilation ducts and in all interior fabric. I'd start with having the car detailed, including having all upholstery steam cleaned. Not sure how you're going to dislodge the tar in the vents though.
I cleaned out a great-uncle's apartment after both he and his wife died of emphysema, smoking in a closed apartment for 50 years. Everything was coated with a thick layer of yellow tar. When wet, it would absorb straight through the skin. It's hard to clean up.
As to cleaning up the car, just think of it as cleaning a thin layer of sticky tar off every surface, and you'll get the idea.
Good luck, (08/18/2006)
I think it will be very hard to get out permanently. ~~~Good Luck~~~ (08/18/2006)
Anyways, I've heard that kitty litter soaks up odors. (02/06/2007)
By Shannon K
Of course, this might not work too well in winter or where strong sunlight in summer is rare. But it might be possible to accomplish the same thing with an electric heater inside the car. Of course, you NEVER want to leave the car unattended while doing this, as it could cause a fire should something go wrong. Stick with the sun if you possibly can. (10/27/2007)
1: The negative air ionizers produce ozone, we already started using it, but I think I forgot to run the heater and AC on 'recirculate'.
2: Instead of Vinegar will put some Peppermint oil in a bowl with water (The chemical components of peppermint oil are menthol, menthone, 1,8-cineole, methyl acetate, methofuran, isomenthone, limonene, b-pinene, a-pinene, germacrene-d, trans-sabinene hydrate and pulegone.). In the bowl I will place one of the small ultrasonic mister units that came in the decorative indoor water fountain we bought at the Gardening Center. I'll place it on the dash and run the car's heater system on recirculate.
3: I'll take some charcoal and ammonia chips for our fish tank filters and put them in the foot of old pantyhose, knot it, and place it in the ashtray, as I understand they can stink for a long time.
I'm looking for a method that will contribute to neutralizing the toxic deposits rather than masking them. To this end the maze of ducts in the heating and AC system are the most problematic to address. It would be interesting to know which products can actually neutralize all the deposits left from smoke on non porous surfaces. For example, I was just watching an ad on TV advertising a log that breaks down the deposits in your chimney if you have a wood burning fireplace to help prevent chimney fires. I was wondering if something like that could be used in other ways such as what we're discussing here. (Review is here:
If anyone wants me to post how this all worked out when I'm done, let me know. Maybe I should even write it up for our website complete with pictures if it all works out. (01/19/2008)
You can find these products at www.ecoquest.com/grow
I own a "Fresh Air" machine and it works wonders! (03/27/2008)
How to remove cigar smell from automobile interior?
Can someone tell me how to get the cigarette smell out of a car?