Its scent has a way of weaseling its way into our clothes, rugs, and furniture with no apology. And yet, most agree, it’s one of the most unpleasant smells around, rivaling odors like gasoline and sulfur.
That’s why, when it comes to the smell of cigarette smoke in your car, it’s simply got to go. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a roundup of ways to get that smell gone.
1. If you have cloth upholstery and carpet, vacuum and clean all your surfaces to remove any ash or smoke particles. Make sure to do so thoroughly, including under the seats and between any crevices. If you have leather and trim surfaces, use a special, non-abrasive cleaner to avoid damaging them. Try the cleaner on a small part of the leather to ensure it’s safe before cleaning your whole vehicle and let surfaces air dry, repeating if necessary. Clean your dashboard, windows, and other surfaces to remove smoke film.
2. Many cars have a built-in ashtray. If this is the case in your vehicle, remove it, wash it out, and let it air dry for 24 hours. This can help lessen the smoke smell in your car.
3. Sprinkle baking soda on seats and floors as an odor neutralizer. Vacuum or wipe it up after a few hours. You can even leave an open box of baking soda overnight to absorb the smell.
4. Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which can help neutralize air-borne odors quickly and safely. As a more natural alternative to baking soda, leave a bowl of coffee grounds in your car overnight to absorb the smell.
5. Smoke is insidious, soaking into plastics, wood, even electrical components including the heating and air conditioning system. Replace all the filters in the vehicle and clean out all the vents. Spray plastics and wood with the strongest cleaner within the manufacturer’s guidelines, using a soft cloth to wipe up excess foam or spray.
6. Start your engine, turn the fan on high and the air conditioner to the lowest temperature.
With windows rolled down, allow the car’s air ventilation/filtration system to pull the smoke smell out of the car.
With the fan and A/C still on, spray an odor neutralizer into the vents.
Pro Tip: Repeat this process, but this time, turn the heat all the way up and spray the neutralizer into the vents again.
7. Want to prevent smoke odors from lingering in your vehicle? Don’t smoke in your car! And don’t allow anyone else to, either.