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Cleaning Smoke Residue From The Inside Of A Car

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I got a used car that smells of smoke. I have read here about several ways to get rid of the smell - I will try one soon. But, what about the smoke residue itself? I am getting paranoid about breathing in possible smoke residues there.

Any idea on how to steam or thoroughly clean the ceiling and the seats that will clean the car better than ordinary vacuuming?
Thanks in advance!

Yan

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By Diane G.11/08/2013

We bought a nice used car for my son, only to have that "slight smoker odor" blossom after about a week. I have a very sensitive nose and hate cover-up smells, so here's what we did that has worked...

1. a good cleaning using standard products for each surface (glass cleaner, leather cleaner...)

2. Vamoose cleaner - This stuff does work - supposed to neutralize the remaining tar. Do wear gloves. Be sure to clean the ceiling and seat belts and spray into the air return duct as they recommend. Vamoose has a whole "how to guide" on their web site. You don't need as much as they will try sell you - 1 qt bottle will be enough.

3. Change the cabin air filter (the one usually located behind your glove box). Wipe down every surface in the air circulation system you can get access to.

4. Clean carpets using regular cleaning solution (I have a little cleaning machine that's great for keeping car mats clean all winter - you can get one for under $100). It will probably take 3-4 cleanings before you only get tan not black dirty water returned.

5. Clean the carpets one more time but with no shampoo, only a little lemon juice or vinegar in the water.

6. Use Ah! or Atmosklear for follow-up odors

By Tanya [4]11/11/2011

For the car windows inside and out, I use dawn dish soap and water. It even takes the yellowing from the smoke out. For the interior, I dust everything first. Then in a spray bottle filled with water, put in a squirt of dawn dish soap. Put top on bottle and shake it up. Spray on interior and scrub with a scrub brush lightly.

When done, set an open bowl of vinegar on the floor. (Remove one half hour before driving). The car will look and smell nice.

By HM Nicholson07/18/2009

Years ago, when I was taking my girl to the drive-in movie in my dad's car, we stopped and picked up a hop-toad that was in the road. During the movie, we let him hop around on the dashboard, but he fell down the defroster vents into the heater. After the movie, we stopped for help at a gas station, but the attendant just laughed and asked, "Can't you two think of anything better to do at the drive-in than play with a toad?" When my dad turned on the heater the next morning on his way to work, the toad dried out and stank something awful. It was so bad, you couldn't smell cigarette smoke or anything else in that car for a real long time! (True story)

By Joel03/16/2009

As an experienced auto detailer Here are a few recommendations that from years of experience work very well.
Windows are best cleaned with a spray bottle of water and detailers clay available at most car part stores after cleaning with clay regular glass cleaner and a surgical towel will make it look like new inside. This also works on the outside of the windshield as well and removes the pollutants that fall on the car.

As for cloth seats and carpeting, steam extraction with some value guard odor terminator mixed in will do the job. After that their are products that are similar to cat litter but are odor removers that wil make the car smell like new with out adding any scents. Left in a tray in the car overnite the do a good job. An Air ionizer also work well. Hope this help.

By dora (Guest Post)02/20/2009

I use a friends car for approximately three weeks. I cleaned the car before he came and a week later, he stated, I had to have the car cleaned do to the smoke in the car. I only used the car three days a week, I am not a chain smoker and at all. I was very careful. Now he wants me to pay for detailing and etc. of 120.00. What do you think?

By EADILL (Guest Post)04/22/2005

I am a former smoker (20 years now - yea me), but my husband still smokes - blah! He does so only in the basement which isn't good because it eventually circulates when the furnace kicks on. There are some smoker's candles on the market that do a really good job of getting rid of the odor. You might want to try them. I order from the Coachlight Candle Factory - Smoke Out/Odor Out candles. Of course, you wouldn't want to leave unattended. There may be a better way, but these do work very well.

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