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How to Get Smoke Smell out of Car

How to Get Smoke Smell out of Car

How to Get Smoke Smell out of Car

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to get smoke smell out of car when you notice a stale odor from cigarettes. The trouble with cigarette smoke is it gets everywhere. Smoke particles penetrate porous fabrics such as upholstery, carpets, and the car headliner. But you can fix the problem with our simple steps and odor-removal product recommendations. Also, we suggest homemade remedies if you love green car interior detailing hacks.

To learn more about our eco-friendly auto detailing, download our Eco Wash Benefit Guide:

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How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smell in Car: Steps and Procedures

A good car interior detailing kit will contain everything you need for this detailing task. For example, a car vacuum cleaner, microfiber car cloths, and an all-purpose cleaner. Also, you can use store cupboard ingredients, such as baking soda. Then follow these steps:

Air the Car

Begin by opening all the car doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate through the car interior. This helps disperse that tell-tale musty smoke smell.


Next, clear the car of any personal belongings and trash. Decluttering allows you to access all areas, especially the places to clean the inside of your car that are easily overlooked.

Vacuum the Interior

Use your car vacuum to remove any trace of cigarette ash. Work methodically from the top down, vacuuming seats, surfaces, and carpets. Use an air compressor for AC vents. This little tool is perfect for model car interior detailing, too.

Clean Surfaces

Wipe down all interior surfaces with a damp cloth or the best car interior detailing products. Clean the dashboard, door panels, steering wheel, or any other surfaces that may be the source of the smoke smell.

Sprinkle Baking Soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a quick and inexpensive way to get rid of a persistent smoke smell or yellow smoke stains.

  • Sprinkle baking soda liberally over your carpets, mats, and upholstery to neutralize the odor.
  • Leave overnight for maximum effectiveness.
  • Then vacuum the baking soda residue until it is completely gone, taking the smoke odor with it.

How to Get Rid of Smoke Smell in Car Headliner

The car headliner is in the direct path of rising smoke, making it a prime spot for trapping smoke odors in the porous material used to cover the interior roof of the car.

  • Use your upholstery attachment to vacuum the headliner.
  • Spray an upholstery cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and clean the headliner.
  • For stubborn smoke odors or heavily stained areas, consider steam cleaning the area.
  • See our tips on how to use a steam cleaner for cars.
  • When you’re done, leave the headliner to air-dry.

Final Vacuum to Finish

After you’ve cleaned and treated the interior of your car for smoke odors, do a final vacuum to enhance the overall cleanliness and freshness of your vehicle. Also, ensure any clothing, bags, or other personal belongings are smoke-free before you return them to your car. This will prevent you from reintroducing smoke odors after your cleaning efforts!

Steam Clean (Optional)

Despite your best efforts, achieving a clean, fresh-smelling car interior can be hard work without expert help. So, if you want to know how to get smoke smell out of car permanently, we recommend you steam clean car interior. The heat from the steam helps break down and dissolve smoke odor molecules. Moreover, it is safe in enclosed spaces, such as your car interior.

If you don’t want to do the job yourself, enlist the help of a professional car interior detailing service. For example, DetailXPerts’ technicians utilize steam technology and eco-friendly cleaning practices to make your vehicle smell like new.

We also specialize in fleet detailing services, so you do not have to worry about selling used cars with a bad smoke odor. We will take care of the problem, securing you a higher resale price.

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How to Get Smoke Smell out of Car with Household Products

While baking soda is excellent when you want to know how to get a bad smell out of car, the following suggestions can also help neutralize an unpleasant smoke smell:


Place some activated charcoal on the carpeted area of your car. Leave for at least 24 hours and then vacuum. Charcoal is highly absorbent and acts like a sponge to soak up odor particles in the air.

Vinegar and Water

Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Lightly spray your car carpet, seats, and surfaces. Allow the mixture time to settle into the fibers before blotting any extra moisture with a cloth or paper towel. Finally, vacuum the area for best results. This vinegar tip is also good for how to remove stains from car seats.

Absorb Smoke Odors with Newspaper

This method sounds unusual, but it is worth a go! Take some crumpled old newspapers and place them on your carpets for light smoke smells. Leave for a few hours to let the paper absorb the odors. If this doesn’t do the trick, try a store-bought product.

Store-Bought Products to Remove Smoke Odor

If you need something to tackle a heavier smoke smell inside your car, various products work hard at odor removal. And you can buy them in stores such as Walmart and Target or online. For example:

Ozium Odor Eliminator

Ozium offers a range of products for smoke smell removal in car. For example, Ozium Gel is available in a 4.5oz (127g) tub and releases a fresh scent. The gel usually lasts for a few months. Alternatively, try the Ozium Air Sanitizer spray. It claims to sanitize and deodorize the air by reducing odor-causing bacteria and germs.


Febreze specializes in different air fresheners, and its range includes Febreze Car. You can choose from fragrances such as Lavender, Linen, and Honeysuckle. Or try to eliminate the smoke odor with Febreze Fabric Antimicrobial spray. Use it on your car carpet and upholstery to kill bacteria and prevent mold growth.

Car Air Purifier

If you want to know how to remove smoke smell from car without using sprays or gels, a car air purifier is an option. It can help clear airborne pollutants and allergens. Air purifiers can vary in size and price. For example, the smaller models plug into the outlet of your air conditioning unit.

Air purifiers with HEPA filters are more expensive, but they trap 99% of harmful particles. However, air purifiers cannot deep clean parts of the car where smoke odors tend to linger.

Finally, we know that it’s not just cigarette smoke that leaves behind an odor. So, if you need some additional car care tips, follow these guides:


Now you know how to remove cigarette smell from car, you say goodbye to bad odors for good. Whether you use an all-purpose cleaner or a homemade remedy, the key is persistence. It might take a couple of goes to remove smoke particles trapped in the fabric fibers of your car’s upholstery and carpets, but your hard work will pay off.

However, if the smoke smell persists, you can save a whole lot of time and effort by scheduling professional steam cleaning. Our trained team will disinfect your car interior to eliminate the source of smoke odor and create a fresher environment.

For more details on our greener clean, download our Eco Wash Benefit Guide:Download Eco Wash Benefit Guide_Get Consistent High-Quality


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