Can You Remove the Cigarette Smoke Smell From a Car?

Cigarette smoke can wreak havoc on a car’s interior and it can be tough to get the smell out. In fact, the smell can easily linger for years, which can make your car unpleasant for your passengers and can even make it even harder to sell when it comes time to do so. Thankfully, there are ways to clean a smoke-stained car, or at the very least, lessen the smell. Here are some tips.

Getting rid of the cigarette smell

Cigarette smoke can easily permeate every surface of your car and even get stuck in the fibers of its cloth seating surfaces, so your first step is to clean the car’s interior. First, you’ll need to grab some baking soda and a vacuum, then follow these steps:

  • Vacuum all of the seats and upholstery as best you can and make sure to get into all the crevices between the seats.
  • Since baking soda acts as an odor neutralizer, sprinkle some all over the upholstery and carpet and let it sit for a while.
  • After the baking soda has sat for a while, vacuum all of it up. If you notice that the smell is still pretty potent, then you can always leave the box of baking soda sitting in your car overnight.
man cleaning interior of a car
A man cleaning the dashboard of a car. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Other methods of getting rid of the smoke smell

If the baking soda method doesn’t work, then there are a few other methods that you can use to combat the smell of cigarette smoke. For example, you can rent a steam cleaner to better clean the seats and carpet, and for good measure, you can even try some of the following alternative methods:

  • Air out your car for a few days by keeping the windows cracked or down
  • Wipe the interior down with dryer sheets
  • Leave a small bowl of coffee grounds in the car to soak up the smell
  • Boil a few cinnamon sticks and leave them in a travel mug in your car. They should help clean the air
  • Putting citrus peels from oranges, lemons, and grapefruits in your car. Citrus can usually help cleanse the car as well
  • Use Ozium, which is an odor neutralizer you can buy at the store. It does well to mask the smell, however, you may need to use it multiple times to get the desired effect.

What is your car has a leather interior?

Smells stick to leather differently that they stick to cloth, so if your car has a leather interior then you should find a leather interior cleaner from your local auto parts store and treat the car’s interior with it. Wipe down all of the seating surfaces multiple times to lessen or rid the car of the cigarette smell.

a man smoking
SYDNEY, NSW – MAY 30: A smoker smokes a cigarette in the street May 30, 2006 in Sydney, Australia. Today marks World No Tobacco Day, which is sponsored by the World Health Organisation. The event which was first established in 1988, attempts to call attention to the impact of tobacco use on the public health and aims reduce individual tobacco dependence. Australia had adopted no smoking policies in most public areas such as restaurants and bars, forcing smokers outside onto the streets and alleyways. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

You Could Have Bought One of Eddie Van Halen’s Cars

If all else fails, call a professional

If you can’t seem to get the smell out of your no matter how hard you try, then you can always call a professional detailer to do the work. Most detailers have experience with these types of car interior situations and will most likely be able to help you out with their methods.