How To Get Cigarette Smell Out Of A Car

Are you trying to get the cigarette smell out of your car? Air Freshener just isn’t working? Well, you’re going to need a lot more than that!

Whether you need to sell your car, bought a used car, or just need the cigarette smell out of your current vehicle, there are numerous methods to eliminate the odour. 

Get Cigarette Smell Out Of Your Car

Follow these seven easy to follow steps to get your car smelling great again! You will learn about common products and several methods for eliminating the smoke smell from your car.

1. Gather Necessary Supplies

If you’re reading this article, it is likely you’ve tried air fresheners, Lysol or some type of home remedy to remove the smell from your car. At first it may have seemed like it worked, but after a few days the smoke smell was back!

These products will eliminate the cigarette smell out of your car without temporarily masking it:

  • Interior Cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • A lot of microfiber towels
  • Car vacuum
  • Air freshener/ disinfectant spray
  • Car steamer 
  • Detailing brush
  • New AC filter

To save time and optimize cleaning, work from the top of your car to the bottom, The steps below are listed in that order. 

2. Remove The Source Of The Smell

As you are trying to get rid of the smell, the first step is to get rid of the source itself. Remove any cigarette buts or ashes from your car.

Throughout this process, you will be removing the source of the smell as ash from the cigarettes sticks onto essentially every surface in the car.

3. Empty Out The Car

If the car has trash, to-go coffee cups or water bottles, remove these items before beginning the cleaning process. This makes the whole process far easier to clean your car. 

4. Wipe Down All Plastic And Glass Interior Surfaces

Ash from a cigarette will cling to anything porous. This includes almost all of the car’s interior.

Clean The Glass

Firstly, start with the car’s windshield and rear-view mirror using a glass cleaner and a clean microfiber towel. Next, wipe down the rest of the windows inside of the car.

If the Microfiber towel looks as if it has gotten dirty with tar and ash, it’s time for a clean one. You will need to constantly switch out the microfiber towels for optimal cleanliness, 

Wipe Down all surfaces

Secondly, wipe down the rest of the surfaces in your car using clean microfiber towels. For this step, there are a few options on what product to use.

It is recommended to use the All-Purpose Cleaner from CarGuys. It is safe to use on essentially all materials-rubber, plastic, vinyl, fabric, leather and more. However you shouldn’t use it on glass as it will cause streaking.

If you prefer a homemade method, you can always use soap and water.

Use Lots Of Towels And Maybe A Brush

Irrespective of what product you use to wipe down the interior surfaces, it is recommended to use a clean microfiber towel for each section of the car.

This helps to maintain cleanliness to remove the cigarette smell from the car in the same way it’s maintained when disinfecting a car. 

Wipe down your sun visors, steering wheel, dashboard, display screens, cupholders and any other surface areas of the car.

When you wipe down the steering wheel, spend a lot of time getting into every tiny crevice. These areas are often heavily coated in residue from cigarettes which is easily transferred onto the driver’s fingers. 

5. Vacuum Entire Car

The importance of this step is to remove cigarette ash from a car. Use a car vacuum to hoover up the car seats, the floor carpet, the headliner, debris and most importantly the ash from a cigarette.

You should consider using a vacuum that has nozzles that can get into the harder to reach areas of the car as there may be excess areas of ash in these areas. 

6. Clean Car Seats

The methods for this step can vary depending on the material of your seats and the severity of the smell. Prior to cleaning the car seats, make sure you refer to your owner’s manual for any specific care instructions for the material of your car seats to avoid any damage.

There are two options when it comes to vacuum cleaning. These options are upholstery cleaner and a steam clean. The upholstery cleaner is specifically for fabric or leather materials.

It is important to test the cleaner first on a small surface to ensure that the cleaner will not damage the upholstery. After you have sprayed the cleaner on non-leather upholster.

Use an upholstery brush to lightly scrub the ara and then dry it with a clean microfiber towel. If you have leather seats, dab with a clean microfiber towel after spraying or use a brush specifically designed for leather.

Using a car steamer is the second option and they are excellent to use when dealing with stains and odors that are difficult to remove. Steam cleaners also use o harsh chemicals and are proven to remove really difficult odors, cigarette smell included. 

Depending on the severity of the smell, you can use both the upholstery cleaner and a steamer. In addition to the seats, you can use both cleaners on other parts of the car, including the carpet, headliner and any parts of the car doors composed of fabric or leather. 

7. Clean Out The Air Vents And Replace Air Filters

It is often the case that this step gets overlooked and yet this process is vital to remove the cigarette from a car. 

Firstly, turn your car on. Next, turn your car AC to max cold with recirculation. After this has been set up, use an odor-eliminating spray or disinfectant spray to use in the vents.

It is common that the cat may need to have the AC filter changed entirely. You can locate your AC filter via your owner’s manual. An AC filter for a new car is usually expensive.

Final Touch: The Air Freshener!

As you have now removed every speck of cigarette ash, it is finally time to add some air freshener as the final touch. Although we have explained how air fresheners do not cure the cigarette smell, there is no harm in using one as a final touch to top off all your hard work. 

Jonie Dean
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