How To Get Smoke Smell Out Of Car


Smoking in the car is something all smokers regret but do anyways. The smell of smoke sticks to the seats, the dashboard, and the air conditioner. Whether you are hiding the smell from someone or it just feels unpleasant, you want to get rid of it. How to get smoke smell out of a car?

To get rid of cigarette smell in a car, clean and ventilate the entire vehicle. Vacuum and clean the seats if they smell too much. Open all car windows and turn the AC on recirculate. Clean the cockpit with a dedicated cleaner and clean every ashtray. Finish by adding an air freshener. 

Here are some tips and tricks for getting rid of smoke smell in cars. We’ll explain everything thoroughly step-by-step. Cigarette smell takes some time to go away so we don’t guarantee immediate results.

Ventilate The Car

Ventilate The Car

The less air is freely circulating in the car, the more the smoke smell will stay there. I’m sure you all have opened the window while and after smoking. But the smell particles stick around so 2-3 minutes is not enough.

You will be cleaning the entire car if you want it to smell fresh. The place to start is ventilating the car. I suggest having all two or four doors open while you are cleaning the rest of the car.

Although ventilation won’t get rid of the smell on the dashboard and the seats, it will get rid of the general smell of smoke.

Vacuum The Car

Vacuum The Car

Smoke particles don’t stay up in the air, they stick to surfaces. Anyone that smokes or hangs around people that smoke knows this pretty well. Clothes, hair, and hands will smell more than the smokey air.

Vacuuming can help with the interior of the car. With a good powerful vacuum, you will be able to pick most of those particles. Especially so if you really get every nook and cranny and apply pressure.

I highly recommend being thorough here. Vacuum everything, and I do mean everything. This will leave you with a nice car that’s ready to be cleaned.

Clean The Seats

Now, this is not necessary. It depends on how much you smoked in the car. If you are a regular smoker and you are smoking in the car every day, I recommend cleaning the seats as well.

But if you smoked once and never again, you don’t have to clean the seats. Or, if you didn’t smoke for more than one day. If this is the case, you are probably okay with just vacuuming.

Clean textile seats with a spray cleaner. Clean leather seats with a dedicated leather cleaner. Leather seats don’t take long to dry so you can just clean them either way.

[Related Article: Washing Car Seat Covers: 3 Simple Steps You Must Know Today]

Clean The Ashtrays

The ashtray smells the most and it has the worst unpleasant. A used ashtray will smell even worse than the air and the smoke on your clothes. In fact, it’s the worst smell to breathe in.

Even if you ventilate the car, clean the seats and the dashboard, the ashtray will still smell and spread that smell. Make sure to get off every cigarette butt and every bit of cigarette ash.

Have the ashtrays shiny clean before you proceed to clean the rest of the car. [Source]

Clean The Car Cockpit

Clean The Car Cockpit

The cockpit has rubber parts. And smoke particles stick to rubber specifically. You may not notice this at first but if everything else it’s clean the smell will be obvious. Just get close to the cockpit and give it a sniff, you will see that it smells.

Fortunately, cleaning the cockpit is one of the easiest things to clean in a car. Just get a car cockpit spray cleaner, apply it on the area and wipe it with a clean cloth.

[Related Article: 11 Clever Tips To Wash And Polish My Car Interior Fully]

Clean The Car’s AC

One of the worst downsides of smoking in a car is that the AC will start smelling like cigarettes. And, that’s the hardest part to clean here. It depends on how much you were smoking in the car. Continuous heavy smoking will leave you with a really bad odor coming from the AC.

There are a couple of methods you can try here. Not all of them will work though.

An easy thing you can try is to set the AC to recirculate air and open all the doors in the car. This should work if you haven’t been smoking continuously in the car.

For ACs that have particles stuck in the vents, try using a dedicated cleaner for car AC. This can refresh your AC and give it a nice smell. Again, this will not work always.

In really bad situations you will have to visit a professional that cleans ACs in cars.

Place An Air Freshener

Place An Air Freshener

Finish up by adding a nice freshening scent to your car. This will make a huge difference provided that the car has been thoroughly cleaned from the smoke smell.

Don’t add an air freshener before getting rid of the smoke smell. The air freshener odor will mix with the smoke smell and it will be even worse.

[Related Article: Top 9 Best Car Air Fresheners And Buying Guide in 2021]

How To Get Weed Smell Out Of Car

Now, some of you may have been smoking something else in the car. A lot of weed smokers like to hotbox in a car. Weed smell is very different than cigarette smell. The cleaning process is the same though.

You will just have to ventilate a lot more. To get rid of the weed smell, ventilate the car, vacuum the car, clean the cockpit, seats, and AC. 

Weed has a lot stronger smell, a denser smoke. It stays in the car a lot longer. Not to mention, most people try to hide the weed smell. There is no immediate solution for getting rid of the weed smell.

Don’t use air fresheners and deodorant sprays, it will make things only worse. It will smell nice for a bit and then the weed smell will come back. Also, don’t smoke weed while driving.

Additional Tips On Getting Rid Of Smoke Smell In Car

Additional Tips On Getting Rid Of Smoke Smell In Car

  • If the smoke smell is really persistent try pouring baking soda on the seats, mats, and upholstery. Wait for a while and let the baking soda soak up the smell. Then, vacuum the baking soda.
  • Don’t smoke in the car to avoid the smoke smell from reoccurring. 
    One cigarette from time to time is okay but continuous regular smoking is the worst.
  • If you are craving a cigarette, it’s better to stop at a rest spot and smoke it outside. 
  • Try an alternative to cigarettes. 

Related Questions And Other FAQs

How Do Car Dealers Get Smoke Smell Out Of Cars

Car dealers that try to sell a car that was used by a heavy smoker usually deep clean the car. The easiest and most efficient way to get rid of the smoke smell is to deep clean it.

Will Febreze Get Rid Of Smoke Smell In Car

Febreze won’t eliminate the smoke smell in cars. It will help freshen up the air. The smoke smell will still be there but the Febreze odor is just stronger. However, when the Febreze expires, the smoke smell will come back.

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