Getting Cigarette Odor Out of a Vehicle?

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 stephanie from Albemarle, NC

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September 7, 20095 found this helpful
Best Answer

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) even slightly swiping the cloth seats. This took about 2 hours. Take 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. I set the pie pan in the car and let the car sit in the hot sun for an afternoon. Talk about smelling heavenly and clean, unless of course you don't like the undertone of coffee.

September 8, 20180 found this helpful

So using water and baking soda in a spray bottle won't work? I had to pour a bunch of baking soda on my back car seat because someone spilled their cup of whiskey and soda on it, and it took care of the smell!


That's why I had that as an idea to remove cigarette smoke in my car.


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September 4, 20090 found this helpful

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.

February 21, 20170 found this helpful

Google spraying Lysol into your hvac system. There are YouTube videos on this as well

September 5, 20090 found this helpful

Set a bowl of vinegar in the vehicle overnight. It will take the odor out.

September 6, 20090 found this helpful

Had the same problem with my car. My brother in law told me to change the floor mats. Don't wash them, just throw them out and get new ones. It made all the difference.

September 6, 20090 found this helpful

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.

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.

July 7, 20160 found this helpful

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

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.

May 3, 20170 found this helpful

Place an open container (I use coffee filters) on all the floorboards in the vehicle. Pour dry, unused, fresh coffee grounds into each container. Leave in vehicle at least overnight...the longer the better. The coffee absorbs all the odors, including cigarette smoke. Throw away the coffee and filters.
I put mine on the floorboards of the front/back of driver/passenger sides. Sometimes I place one on each seat, too, depending on how strong the smoke.


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