Remove Cigarette Smell from Your Car

Written by Debra Wyatt (last updated October 5, 2020)

One of the most difficult odors to eliminate is that of cigarette smoke in a car. The particles of the smoke are so small that they can penetrate into and onto everything. This makes removing the odor quite difficult. It's not impossible to remove this odor; it isn't easy and it is time consuming, but it can be done. With some perseverance and a little bit of elbow grease this odor can be eliminated.

First you will want to open the windows and let some fresh air into the car. This won't eliminate the odor, but it may reduce the smell enough that you can begin working at eliminating the odor.

To actually eliminate the smell every surface has to be cleaned including the windows inside the car. There are several household products that can be used to help eliminate the odor and clean at the same time.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide. Test a small area that is inconspicuous to be sure that the hydrogen peroxide doesn't react to the area that is being cleaned. Hydrogen peroxide works well in both cleaning the car and in helping to eliminate odors. Clean any of the surfaces in the car that doesn't have cloth material. (If you use it on cloth it acts as a bleach.) The great thing about using hydrogen peroxide it will remove the nicotine stains.
  • Vinegar. Using vinegar is great in removing all types of odors, especially in removing smoke odor. Place a plastic bowel containing about 1-1/2 inches of vinegar inside the car. Make sure that the windows are all closed. Leave the vinegar in the car all night. To avoid spilling any of the vinegar, remove the container before using the car. For the best results you will need to repeat this procedure nightly for about a week (and don't smoke any more in the car). Also, mix a cup of vinegar with a cup of water and place into a spray bottle. Using a clean rag, spray the vinegar mixture on to the surface and then wipe. This will clean the surface as well as deodorize at the same time.
  • Baking Soda. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the carpet and on the cloth seats. Let the baking soda set all night, then vacuum the floors and the seats to remove all the white powder. As you vacuum you will be eliminating even more of the cigarette smell from the car and leaving a fresh smell.

As a way of preventing the smell in the first place, put baking soda into the ashtray. At the bottom of the ashtray place a layer of the baking soda; this will help absorb the smoke odor. Remember to replace and clean out often.

Also try putting dryer fabric-softener sheets under the seat, as this will also help keep the cigarette and other smells under control.

Author Bio

Debra Wyatt

Deb has a communications degree and applies her talents to her position as Marketing Specialist at Sharon Parq Associates. In her spare time she spends time with her children and grandchildren and devotes time to her church. ...

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