How to get cigarette smell out of a car

Smoking harms those who actively smoke and those around them, furthermore smoking also harms your car’s resale value and the ability to sell the car at all. This is because cigarette smoke isn’t keen on leaving you even after you stopped smoking in your car. After all, it can easily settle within the upholstery which makes it difficult to get rid of.

For those who still enjoy a cigarette break, this is not a grave issue, but those who can’t stand cigarette smoke are likely going to pass on the offer to buy your car. This means that you need to get rid of cigarette smoke from your car if you want to sell it.

In order to do so, be sure to follow all the steps listed in this article. You need to remove all cigarette residue from the interior such as ash and tobacco and air the car out thoroughly. Furthermore, you should vacuum the entirety of your car’s interior before you clean all the hard surfaces.

If this is still not enough to get rid of cigarette smoke out of your car, you need to enlist the help of a professional who is likely going to have to do a thorough deep clean of your interior. If there are some burns and cigarette stains on your upholstery you will have to replace or fix these as well.

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Step 1. – Air out the car completely and remove all tobacco residue

The first thing you need to do is to air out the car thoroughly. This means that you should take your car to a well-ventilated area and roll down all your windows and leave the car there for a few hours. Sometimes you will have to leave the car overnight to get rid of the cigarette smell entirely.

However, before you air out your car, you need to clean the interior out of all tobacco residue such as ash in your ashtrays, between the seats, or on your upholstery. Take all the tobacco out of your car and be sure to check all the hard to get areas in order to remove everything associated with tobacco.

Step 2. – Vacuum the interior of your car thoroughly

The second step to a cigarette smoke-free interior is to vacuum all the interior surface starting from the roof lining down to your floor mats. The best course of action would be to take all of your removable interior pieces out of the car before you start vacuuming to remove all tobacco and ash particles away from your car.

It’s best to use a higher-grade vacuum that can easily suck the particles from hard-to-get areas such as between the seats and within specific panel gaps. Finally, be sure to vacuum the mats thoroughly because they are usually filled with tobacco residue.

Step 3. – Wash your interior surfaces

The most important step towards freeing your car from tobacco smoke is to spray all the interior surfaces with a DIY cigarette smoke removal mixture which consists out of ¼ vinegar, ½ teaspoon of automotive interior soap, and two cups of distilled water for the mixture to dilute properly.

Be sure to fill this mixture up in a spray bottle and use it to spray all the interior surfaces of your car. After you’ve sprayed them, be sure to wipe them down with microfiber towels a few times in close succession. Be sure to use high-grade disinfectant for your ashtray in order to kill 99% of bacteria in less than 24 hours.

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Step 5. – Ventilate the car once again and clean/replace stained surfaces

Now it’s time to ventilate the car once again with the A/C turned on max in order to push the smell out from all the vents. The best thing you can do is to invest in an odor neutralizer and spray it within the vents. Repeat this process a few times before you eliminate the A/C tobacco smell entirely.

Be sure to replace or clean all specific surfaces that have cigarette burns on top of them because these also carry a tobacco smell.

Step 6. – Enlist the help of a professional

If cigarette smoke persists even after you’ve carried out all the previously mentioned steps you need to enlist the help of a professional. This means going to a deep clean car center and asking for a complete interior de-odorization specifically to remove cigarette smoke.

If a car had prolonged and constant exposure to cigarette smoke, a deep clean is the only way to get rid of cigarette smoke entirely. This means that you will have to leave your car to them so they can get rid of cigarette smoke once and for all. Finally, don’t smoke in your car after that, and be sure not to enter the car if you smell of cigarettes.

FAQ Section

Can I smoke in a car without making it smell of cigarette smoke?

The best thing to do if you don’t want cigarette smoke to settle in your car’s interior is to stop smoking in the car. However, you buy a can of Ozium from Auto Parts or Walmart which should free your car from cigarette smoke if you spray it after you’ve smoked and only if you smoke occasionally.

You can also transition towards smoke-free cigarette alternatives or you can simply open up all of your windows and push the smoke out whenever you do smoke. It’s essential to leave the windows open for a while after you’ve smoked your cigarette.

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Is it hard to sell a car that smells of cigarettes?

If your potential customer is not a smoker, chances are that they will not buy your car if your car smells of cigarettes. Even if the potential customer is an active smoker, they are also not fond of buying a car that smells of cigarettes.

This is because people who smoke in their cars are known not to take care of their cars adequately which means that they are also more likely to eat in the car as well. Smoking stains car interiors without you even noticing it, so be sure to avoid doing that if you want to preserve your car’s resale value.

Is it okay to eat in a car?

While you can eat in a car that’s not advisable because you can stain your upholstery both during your eating process and afterward. Most meals these days also come with all sorts of trash which usually needs to live inside your car before you can safely dispose of them.

As such, if you are eating inside your car make sure to clean your hands and fingers with a high-grade disinfect in order not to grease your interior. Eating in your car also causes all sorts of smells which is not something you want either.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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