How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Cars
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How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Cars: Clean or Treat

Does your car stink because of cigarette smoke? The persisting smell can bother even the smokers. It can be too frustrating because no matter how much you try, it can be close to impossible to get rid of the smell of smoke from our cars. Well, I have some good news! I have unraveled the secret on how to get smoke smell out of cars.

The process of removing smoke smell from your car can be tedious. It can however save you from having to drive around with stinking smell. Besides a car that smells of cigarette smoke can lower its re-sale value because it stinks!

Option 1: Do a General Cleaning of Your Car

What You Will Need

  • Deodorizer
  • Car vacuum
  • Steam Cleaner
  • Cleaning Product
  • Enzyme based odor remover
  • Car deodorizer
  • Odor neutralizer
  • Water
  • White Vinegar
  • Car window cleaner
  • Cabin Air Filter

What You Need to Do

Working on how to get smoke smell out of carsyou will have to deal with the upholstery, carpet and the entire interiors of the car. You will also have to work on your car’s duct system.

I. Clean the Car

  • 1Get rid of all the trash inside your car (plastic bottles, papers, newspapers, receipts etc…). These items can hold the smell of cigarette. Check between the seats and underneath for any items that need to be thrown.
  • 2Empty the ashtray of cigarette ashes and butts.
  • 3Remove the ashtray and wash it with a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part vinegar. Rinse it with warm water
  • 4The car’s carpets and headliner absorb most of the smell of cigarette. Remove the floor mats and carpets. Vacuum them.
  • 5If you really like to give your mats and carpets a deep clean, scrub-brush them with a cleaning product. Choose a cleaning product that contains a deodorizer.
  • 6Dry the carpets and mats in the sun. The UV rays of the sun can help kill some of the bacteria and eliminate some odor from the mats and carpets. The wind can also blow away some of the odors.
  • 7Vacuum the carpet and upholstery.
  • 8Clean all the surfaces of your car so smoke smell will have no place to hide.
  • 9Vacuum the leather or fabric upholstery.
  • 10The driver’s seat is the main spot where smoke odor is concentrated. The driver often holds a cigarette while driving and often blows smoke to the steering wheel. Wipe the steering wheel with the vinegar/water solution to get rid of the cigarette smell.
  • 11Next to the steering wheel, the windshield takes the brunt of cigarette smoke. Some residue will tend to stick on the windshield. Use a car window cleaner to get rid of the tar film on the windshield.
  • 12Clean the car windows and reverse mirror with the vinegar/water solution. Spray car window cleaner to get rid of tar residue.
  • 13Clean all hard surfaces inside including the dashboard. You can use the vinegar/water solution.

2 Surefire Methods on How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Cars

2 Surefire Methods on How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Cars

II. ​Clean the Duct System

  • 1Work on the air intake of the air conditioning of your car. Turn the air conditioner to full blast. Directly spray odor neutralizer on the intake screen. The odor neutralizer will directly hit the vents getting rid of the smoke odor in the blower, ducting, evaporator and every place in the duct system where smoke is trapped. Continue spraying the odor neutralizer until there is a reduction in smoke smell.
  • 2Most car owners often miss neutralizing the heating system when getting rid of odor inside the car.
  • 3Set the heater to full heat. Continue spraying the odor neutralizer on the intake screen until you no smoke odor is coming out of the system. While the heater is on, the deodorizer cleans the blower, interior ducts, heating core and vents of the air condition getting rid of the smoke odor.
  • 4Replace the Cabin Air Filter located under the dash in the passenger front seat or in the glove box. The cabin sir filter can really give off a nasty smoke smell.
  • 5Clean the car vents. Do the cleaning with air conditioning off. The vents of your car have the most smoke smell that is difficult to reach.
  • 6With the vacuum cleaner, suck all the vents and any area where air comes out of the air conditioner.

It is best to clean your car in a well-ventilated area. Roll down the windows so the car can breathe and release some of the smoke smell.

Option 2: Ozone Shock Treatment

If despite all efforts to thoroughly clean and rid your car of smoke smell but the annoying smell still persists, consider doing an ozone shock treatment. An ozone shock treatment should only be your last resort on how to get smoke out of cars. If not done correctly, this method could be extremely dangerous.

This is best done by a professional but you can try doing it yourself if you can rent can zone generator or buy one for a little over $300. An ozone generator will pump ozone (03) into the interior of your car and kill all the bacteria causing all the smoke smell.

Through ultraviolet radiation, the ozone generator will create oxygen atoms out of the O2 particles. These atoms will combine with O2 and form into ozone (O3). Ozone is an unstable element so the excess oxygen atom will separate and combine with another molecule to create another O2.

Most likely the excess atom will combine with cigarette smoke molecules and other odors and in the process break down the bad smell of cigarette smoke.

Ozone Generator 4500mg Industrial O3 Air Purifier Deodorizer Sterilizer
Ozone Generator 4500mg Industrial O3 Air Purifier Deodorizer Sterilizer

What You Will Need

What You Need to Do

  • 1Clean your car as detailed in Option 1.
  • 2Connect the ozone generator with a hose or place it in your car.
  • 3Run the ozone generator until the entire car interior is completely covered with ozone.
  • 4Switch on your car’s air conditioner to fan. This will allow the ducts to circulate the ozone.
  • 5Remove the air inside your car by driving it around.

An ozone generator works to permanently remove the cigarette smell from your car without leaving any chemical residue.

What has been explained above is some sort of a general cleaning of how to get smoke odor out of cars. Thoroughly cleaning your car or doing an ozone shock treatment are processes that will take a few hours of your busy schedule. It is however all worth the time.

Does anyone smoke in your car? Have you tried any of the above methods on hot to get smoke smell out of cars? A friend of mine owns and knows how to handle an ozone generator so that is the method I used to get rid of cigarette smoke smell from my car. Which method have you tried? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section.