Informational Guide

Getting Rid Of That Smoke Smell In Your Car

You can learn how to get rid of the smoke smell in your car. Whatever the reason, simply follow our instructions for help in removing bad odors.

Maybe you’ve been hiding from a loved one that you smoke, or possibly you are preparing to sell your vehicle. The last thing you want is a car that smells like smoke, so what do you do?

We have some simple steps that teach you how to get rid of smoke smell in the car.

Cigarette smoke isn’t just bad for your lungs, but it’s damaging to your car interior. It can infiltrate the HVAC system and irritate your sinuses later. Burnt tobacco easily penetrates the vehicle’s carpet, upholstery, and hard surfaces.

Not only can this lead to staining, but research shows that up to 90% of the toxicity remains in the surfaces, waiting to hurt occupants later. One report also shows that vehicles sold by smokers receive a lower selling price than those from non-smokers.


Will the Cigarette Smoke Smell Eventually Go Away on its Own?

If the cigarette smell were to go away on its own, it could take months, if not years. While the smell won’t usually just disappear, you could mask it with other odors, making it less likely to spot.

However, that smell is embedded in the vehicle seats & covers, upholstery and carpet, so you need to know how to get rid of the tobacco smoke smell in the car.

Fastest Way to Remove ‘Light’ Cigarette Smells from Your Car

Do you know how to get rid of the smoke smell in a car fast? While there are no quick fixes, you can implement some of these steps to remove some of the odor instantly.

Start by removing any smoke source from the car. If you have cigarette butts or ashes sitting in the ashtray, it doesn’t matter what you do to get rid of the smell; it will linger.

Clean out your ashtray to create a clean slate that you can work from.

If you have a car vacuum, you can do a quick sweep to remove surface smells. Of course, nothing short of a complete detail job is going to make a significant difference, but it’s a start.

The final step is to add some air fresheners. You might consider some everyday household products that you can grab quickly, such as dryer sheets, which can be placed under the seats or an open box of baking soda.

If all else fails, fill up a bowl of kitty litter and hide it in the car. This product should absorb some of the cigarette smell.

How to Get Rid of Tobacco Smoke Smell in a Car Long Term

Can you get the smoke smell out of a car? You can reduce the smell significantly with a few simple steps. Follow along to learn how to get rid of cigarette smoke smell in the car.

Getting rid of any stray ash and cleaning the ashtray

As stated before, if the cause of the smell is allowed to remain, your cleaning efforts won’t matter. Start by removing any ash and cigarette butts from your vehicle. Look in places where there might be fallen ash and use your car vacuum to clean them up. Then, wash out the ashtray and let it sit in the fresh air for 24 hours.

Getting rid of smell in car’s interior fabrics

Use a multi-purpose car cleaning spray to get rid of lingering odors. Follow these steps when you want to learn how to get rid of stale smoke smell in car.

  1. 1
    Shake the bottle before application.
  2. 2
    Soak the source of the odor with the product.
  3. 3
    Wipe the area with a clean microfiber cloth.
  4. 4
    If there are still smells, reapply the cleaner.
  5. 5
    Allow the area to dry completely.

Make sure you only use appropriate cleaners on your upholstery, carpet, trim, and leather seats.

How to get rid of the smoke smell out of the car air vents

If you still smell cigarette smoke after cleaning, the odor can be coming from your air vents. If you want to know how to get rid of smoke smell in car vents, considering using the Turtle Wax Odor-X Fresh Blast with your air conditioning on the maximum setting. Make sure you turn on the system’s air recycling feature. Allow it to circulate for 15 minutes as it removes odors.

Deodorizing the car’s interior surfaces

You can’t figure out how to get rid of smoke smell in the car without getting a complete detail. If you choose to do it yourself, make sure you thoroughly wipe down every surface. Pay close attention to the carpet, upholstery, and hard surfaces. You can also shampoo the A/C vents, door panels, carpets, and seats.

Replacing the internal air filter

The cabin air filter should be replaced as part of your regular tune-up. However, there are times when replacing it to get rid of odors is wise too. While this vital part is responsible for cleaning the cabin's air, it can also get clogged and trap those smoky odors.

Homemade Solutions for Getting Rid of Cigarette Smoke in Your Car

You don’t have to spend a lot of money when learning how to get rid of the smoke smell in your car. Consider these DIY car odor cleaning methods.

Neutralize the smoke smell with vinegar

Allow a bowl of vinegar to sit in the car overnight. The next day, be sure to air it out to remove the vinegar odors

Soak up some of the smoke smell with baking soda

You can also fill some bowls with baking soda and do the same steps as with vinegar. However, you can sprinkle baking soda on the carpets and upholstery, where you can vacuum them up the next day.

Try eliminating the smoke smell with activated charcoal

Carbon molecules in charcoal are great for trapping odors and removing them. You can use grilling briquettes if you don’t have anything else but consider activated charcoal instead. Its increased porosity will remove odors faster.

Absorbing the smoke smell with citrus fruits

Place some citrus peels around the car for a few days. Not only will this help to remove the odors, but it can give your car cabin a pleasant and inviting fragrance.

Mask the smoke smell with ground coffee

Coffee grounds are another item that will quickly soak up odors and smells. However, this method might cause you to want more coffee during your commute to work.

woman smoking near car

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long does smoke smell last in a car?

With our smoke-removing methods listed above, you might be able to reduce the odor in a couple of days. When you do nothing, you can expect that the smell will never dissipate on its own.

How often do you need to deodorize your car?

It’s wise to detail your car two to three times a year, under normal circumstances. These are the best times to perform a complete deodorizing as well.

How much does it cost to get rid of the smoke smell in the car professionally?

You could spend $150 or more to get your car professionally detailed. Some dealerships offer this service, but it could cost additional because of the smoke smell.

How do you get cigarette smoke out of a car windshield?

Spray a solution of white vinegar and water on the windshield. Wipe it off completely with a dry, microfiber cloth. You might need to let it soak for a minute if the smell is putrid.

What kills the smell of smoke?

Are you wondering how to get rid of smoke smell in a rental car quickly?  You can use citrus fruits, vinegar, baking soda, or coffee grounds for an immediate effect, but it probably won't reduce the smell completely.


You can learn how to get rid of the smoke smell in your car. Whether you are trying to hide the smell from loved ones, preparing to return a rental car, or want to get top dollar during a sale, simply follow our instructions for help.