How to Fix Cigarette Burns in Your Car’s Interior

If you smoke cigarettes while driving your car, or you purchased a used car from someone that smoked, then there’s a good chance that your car’s seats have burn holes in them. They’re unsightly and over time can make your car’s interior look really worn out. Fortunately, there are ways to patch up these tiny cigarette burn holes. Check out the process.

Fixing cigarette burns in your car’s leather seats

 A man hangs a cigarette out of his car window
A man hangs a cigarette out of his car window. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Cigarette burns occur when the ash from the cigarette falls onto the seat. A small hole forms very quickly, and sometimes, you can even see the white cushion underneath the seat cover. The quickest and easiest way to remedy this issue would be to buy a set of seat covers to cover the entire front seat.

However, if you want to patch things up instead, here are the steps for fixing cigarette burns in leather seats according to Family Handyman:

  • Step 1: If the cigarette burn hasn’t completely burned through the seat, then you can use an X-Acto knife to partially cut around the burn and then fill the hole. However, if the burn went all the way through, go to the next step.
  • Step 2: Use the X-acto knife to cut the burn out, which will leave a hole.
  • Step 3: Use a pair of tweezers to insert a piece of canvas cloth through the hole and behind the leather. Make to leave about a half-inch of overlap around all of the edges.
  • Step 4: Apply some glue to the inside edges of the hole and press it down to affix it to the canvas cloth and let it dry for 20 minutes.
  • Step 5: Apply four layers of leather filler, allow each layer to dry for 3 minutes before applying the next. You can use a hairdryer to speed up the process.
  • Step 6: Use a leather touch-up kit to match the color of the leather. You can apply the color to the filler using a cotton swab and allow it to dry for one minute. Apply more touch up to blend the color in well.

As we can see, filing in leather seats is quite an involved process. However, filling in burns on cloth seats is a little easier.

Fixing cigarette burns on your car’s cloth seats

If your car has cloth seats, then it’s a little easier to fill in the cigarette burn holes. Family Handyman suggests the following steps:

  • Step 1: If the hole has burn marks around it, you can reduce the burn marks by rubbing a little mayonnaise on top of it and then wiping it away.
  • Step 2: Take a razor blade and carefully shave some of the fabric from underneath the seat or from the carpeted floor mats. It’s important to find fabric in the car that is closest in color to the seat cover that you’re patching up.
  • Step 3: Apply glue to the hole and place the cut fabric inside the hole.
  • Step 4: Allow the glue to dry. If needed reapply more fabric to fill in the hole or to color match the seat better.

For a completely new look, professional reupholstering is recommended

A man smokes a hand-rolled cigarette inside his car.
A man smokes a hand-rolled cigarette inside his car. | FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP via Getty Images

If you patch up your car’s seats using the aforementioned methods and are still unhappy with the results then you can always take the car to a professional to get the seats reupholstered. Keep in mind that this method will be far more costly and take longer, but in the end, your car’s interior will look as good as new.

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