How to Remove Smoke Smell from Car?

Even if you are a chain smoker, still the smell of smoke inside your car drives you insane. As you are here, we assume that you have tried hard to get rid of the smoke smell from your car but you could not.

Well, know that you are not the only one.

If smoking takes place inside your car for years, it is easily understandable that why the smell is difficult to remove.

But does that mean your car’s interior will be in this state forever? Of course not.

We will share tips for you to follow so that you can get rid of the smoke smell from your car.

Remove Smoke Smell From Your Car

1. An Initial Sweep Through

The first thing you need to do from getting rid of the lingering smoke smell is cleaning the car’s interior.

Any ashes or butts in ashtrays or littering on the floor should be the first one to throw away from the car. Do not assume that your car is free from things that contain smoke.

Smoke odor penetrates and burrows into porous surfaces like car seat covers, mats or carpets. Do not underestimate cleaning these too.

Any belongings and stuff that are sitting around the seats and floor should go through a deep vacuum process.

Do not forget to keep the mats and carpets in the sunlight for a few hours. It will enhance your cleaning process.

Exposed interiors like the dashboard, steering wheel always require to go through the cleaning process. You can use a mixture of half-white vinegar and half water to clean them. Also, clean the interior glass surfaces and layers of tar.

If the smell still exists, you might need to replace mats, carpets, upholstery, and headliner.

Now, it is time to blow out the smoke smell. Start the car engine and park your car in an open space. Turn on the fan and air conditioner with maximum cooling settings.

Air recirculation should be turned off. Roll down the window and let the fan and air conditioner blow out the smell.

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Continue it for 30 minutes. It will recirculate fresh air to the entire cabin, at the same time it will improve the quality of air inside the car.

2. Home Remedies

When it comes to get rid of the smoke smell from your car, it does not always mean you must buy commercial products. There are some home remedies to solve the problem that works pretty well.

Baking Soda


baking soda for car cleaning

Baking soda is a good quality natural deodorant that has many uses. You can use it if vacuuming did not work for you. Probably, the smoke has soaked into the upholstery and carpet. Baking soda can help you to neutralize the odor.

For a better results, buy a packet of one-pound sodium bicarbonate. It is recommended to clean the surfaces that you are going to use baking soda on and dry them completely.

Now, Sprinkle the baking soda on porous surfaces. Try to use it on more areas as possible, especially on seats, carpets, roof,s and wherever you get the smoke smell from.

If you have a carpeted roof, take a duster and sprinkle some baking soda on it and clean the roof with the duster. Spread the baking soda to the entire surface.

Use a piece of cloth, brush to work it into the fabrics. You can even use your hand if you think you can deal with it.

Here is the trick, the more you wait, the better you will get the result. Wait at least for 30 minutes. But if you can hold up to a day, the method would be more effective. It will work on removing the smell as much you give it time.

After you are finished with waiting, remove the remaining baking soda by vacuuming. Make it two whole passes for removing the remaining soda and its particulates.

Vinegar and Water

vinegar for car cleaning

In this mission of removing the smoke smell, you can also use a mixture of water and white vinegar. Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of water.

Pour into a sprayer and shake it. Mist both the windows and cloth interior with this mixture.

Do not worry; the smell of vinegar will disappear once it dries out.

Roasted Coffee Beans

If you are a coffee lover, you are going to love this. You will need six paper plates. Strategically place them throughout the car. Spoon one cup of roasted coffee onto each plate and spread across the entire plate.

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Keep the windows down about 8-inch and let the coffee smell to permeate the entire car on a sunny day. You will enjoy the smell of coffee in your car on the very next day.


As you might know, newspaper absorbs odor. Crumple up old newspaper sheets and place them all in the cabin. It will take 48 hours for the newspaper to do its work.

You can use this method alongside another method. For example, if you apply the method of baking soda, then use this method afterward for getting a better result at removing smoke smell from your car.

Activated Charcoal

It sounds crazy, but yes activated charcoal can absorb the smoke smell from your car. You can find it in any local pet store, or big departmental store.

Place a cup of power-formed activated charcoal in a bowl and places it inside your car. It should be kept there for at least a day.

After that, you will see how magically charcoal does its job.

Commercial Cleaners

Chemical cleaners do the work better than any other method. Because in this method you will see the usage of products that can remove the smoke smell like a pro.

Chemical Cleaner

If you need more offensive cleaning of your car’s upholstery, you can try products such as upholstery cleaner, fabric refresher, and Scotchgard fabric. As being commercial products, they do a pretty good job to neutralize tobacco odors.

Spray it on the seats, carpets, or mats, even on seat belts and other exposed fabrics. For scrubbing on the fabrics, it is recommended to use a soft-bristled brush that is big enough to do the work swiftly.

You can go with an antibacterial one. These work better with tobacco smells. But this is not your last resort. Other stronger weapons are on their way.

Pet Odor Eliminator

Although it sounds weird, it works really well. Pet odor eliminators can remove smells. A product such as Nature’s Miracle is one of the best that you can invest in.

Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets can also keep your car fresh. Place a few numbers of sheets on places like under the four seats. Open the box of dryer sheets and place it on an open space inside the car.

When it gets the sunlight, dryer sheets will make a blast of fresh scent in the car.

These sheets will absorb the smoke smell from the car and release fresh and pleasant odors. A whole box of dryer sheets can keep your car fresh for a long time. Also, it is less expensive than commercial car fresheners.

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Highly Diluted Cleaner

If the smoke smell still exists, it is time to bring something even stronger in the game.

Use highly diluted cleaner like Lysol or low concentration bleaching water. Locate the air intake and with a fan in the car, spray through a water bottle.

If the smell comes from the ducts, know that they will go once and for all.

Fabric Timely Shampoo

Now, it is more of direct action. Apply shampoo directly on the carpets and seats. Work the shampoo with a brush into the fabrics. When you are done, vacuum the remaining shampoo with the extractor.

Maintain a Smoke-Free Cabin

When you are done with cleaning it would be a good idea to hang a car freshener in the cabin. If you still sense the existence of air molecules that are too small to filter out, you can go for an ozone generator.

It uses ultraviolet radiation that breaks down O2 molecules to their core when ozone becomes a byproduct. It will be a wise decision if you hand this complex task to a professional, if necessary.

Final Words

You would not find anyone who does not hate to smell odor inside the car. The best advice would be, do not smoke at all. No matter where it is.

If you go through our guidelines, hopefully, you will be able to remove the bad smoke smell from your car successfully. If you come to a situation when you have all the methods and still the smell persists, it might need a professional hand over it.

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