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How To Get Cigarette Smoke Out Of A Car Interior- Does Vinegar Remove Cigarette Smell? 

How To Get Cigarette Smoke Out Of A Car Interior- Does Vinegar Remove Cigarette Smell? 

You have a stale smell of cigarette smoke in your car and you would like it gone fast. So, what can you use and how will it work? We have the answers you need as you learn how to get cigarette smoke out of a car.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

Effective Home Remedies to Remove Cigarette Smell from Your Car

When you have to remove the smell of cigarette smoke from your car, you don’t have to pay much money. Lots of household items can remove the cigarettes smell fast!  Keep reading and find out what you can do now! 


Baking Soda 

Yes, you have heard about baking soda. It has lots of uses. One of them is in removing odors. Once you have your baking soda in hand, just sprinkle some in your car. If possible, allow it to sit overnight. In the morning, vacuum the backing soda. The power from the baking soda comes from the time left on, to absorb the smell. Baking soda can absorb smells and leave a car fresh smelling. 

White Vinegar 

White vinegar is also effective in removing cigarette smoke from a car. Vinegar is also environmentally friendly. Take a spray bottle. Fill it with your vinegar. Grab a micro-fiber cloth, too. Spray the vinegar into the cloth and wipe the interior of your car. You may find that doing this a few times will be effective in getting rid of the cigarette smoke smell in your car. 


Window Cleaner 

Offensive odors like cigarette smoke can also linger because of translucent buildup on your car windows. You may also use window cleaner on your center console, glove box, dash, steering wheel, door panels, and elsewhere. But be sure you check your cleaner’s ingredients to see if your car interior can withstand the cleaner. 


Preparing a Vehicle to Remove Lingering Cigarette Smoke Smells

Whether you’ve recently kicked your cigarette smoking habit, or you’ve suddenly bought a car that used to be owned by a smoker, the first step in eliminating that lingering smoke smell is to clean the interior of the vehicle.

If you see any cigarette butts or ashes still in the car, get rid of them. Some may also be in ashtrays or on the floor; you should remove those first. The only way to remove smoke smells from a car for good is to start with a clean slate.

Smoke odors can penetrate any porous surface. So, cleaning the car out doesn’t stop with the removal of old butts and ashes. So, you want to continue on with cleaning out any belongings or other items that are sitting around on the floor of the car or seats of the car so you can vacuum everything. Vacuuming the carpet and upholstery will help to draw out lingering odors. 

Removing Cigarette Smoke Smells from Car Upholstery and Carpet

Vacuuming is a good beginning for removing your cigarette smoke from your car, but sometimes you will have to go even further to neutralize smoke odors that have permeated into the carpet and upholstery of your car. There are upholstery and carpet cleaning products on the market specifically designed for this purpose. But you can get significant results in with baking soda. The baking soda is great to help neutralize these odors. Baking soda is also environmentally-friendly! 

Removing smoke smells from a car with baking soda involves a few steps we outline below:

  1. Clean and vacuum your car seats. 
  2. Then clean and vacuum your car floor. 
  3. Be sure that the seats and floor of the car are dry.
  4. Next, take your baking soda and then sprinkle it on the carpet and the upholstery.
  5. Leave the baking soda on the upholstery and carpet for several moments.
  6. If you can leave that baking soda on overnight, that may prove even better. 
  7. When you have allowed to baking soda to sit, you can now vacuum up the baking soda.

Baking soda is great for absorbing offensive odors like cigarette smoke. Have you ever seen people leave an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator or in a bathroom? That open box of baking soda is working to absorb this fridge and bathroom odors. You may even consider leaving an open box in your car. 

What if My Baking Soda Method Does Not Work? 

If treating the car carpet and upholstery with baking soda doesn’t neutralize the lingering cigarette smoke odor, then it may be time to resort to more drastic measures. If you have a terrible lingering cigarette smoke odor, you may think about steam cleaning as an option to getting rid of that cigarette smoke smell. 

You may opt to rent a steam cleaner and do this job yourself. Many grocery stores have steam cleaners that you can rent. But if you don’t feel up to it, then check and see if you can find a professional service that specializes in cigarette odor removal from car interiors. 


How To Get Cigarette Smoke Smell Out Of Car Vents

If you’re not a smoker and can smell cigarette smell in your car, or you bought a car from a cigarette smoker, then you need to focus on the vents to remove that smoke odor. 

  • Step 1: Gather your cleaner and be sure you can reach deep into vents and car surfaces. Vinegar in a spray bottle, or even baking soda with spring water in a spray bottle are great for this job. Be sure you turn the spray bottle to “mist” and begin spraying our vents. Then, turn on the car’s air conditioning vents on to the highest or maximum level and turn on the air recycle vent feature of your car. 
  • Step 2: Leave the car and allow the AC to run for 15 minutes. The baking soda or vinegar solution will enter the air vents. It will also penetrate both soft and hard surfaces and remove odors on a molecular level.


There may be an occasion that this does not work- especially if you have an older car. If this is the case, then you may need to replace the air filter within your car’s AC system.


Cleaning Cigarette Smoke Residue From Other Car Interior Surfaces

Cigarette smoke unfortunately seeps into porous surfaces like carpeting, upholstery. But it does not end there. Cigarette can also leave an oily residue on other car surfaces. This can contribute to that lingering smoke smell even if you vacuum and use baking soda, vinegar and activated charcoal.


So, focus on the main surfaces of your car. Your cigarette smoke can produce an oily residue that can be on windows, car dashboards and more. So, be sure to use your cleaning agent on those areas and give them a vigorous and thorough scrubbing. You may even find that a good foaming window cleaner will often cut the cigarette smoke residue left on the windows, dashboard, and other surfaces. 


It is important to remember that cigarette smoke residue can also enter your vehicle’s cabin air filter; so, change that out too. If you don’t, you may risk contaminating the air inside your vehicle whenever you drive it once again. 

Absorbing Cigarette Smoke Smells in Cars Vs. Covering Them Up

When you are working to get rid of cigarette smoke out of the car, think about the absorption of the odors vs. just covering them up. 


Baking soda is a great agent that works to absorb foul smells such as cigarette odors, as opposed to air fresheners. While they smell great, air fresheners just cover up unpleasant smells. They cannot penetrate the car to absorb the cigarette smell. Not only is baking soda outstanding, but activated charcoal, coffee grounds and even white vinegar are fantastic at absorbing offensive smells like cigarette smoke.

Leaving a bowl of coffee grounds, white vinegar or packets of activated charcoal in your car overnight—or maybe even longer-will absorb some or all of the cigarette smoke. When you remove the absorbent and dispose of it, you’re also removing whatever unpleasant smells that it soaked up while in the vehicle.

Can Febreze Work to Get rid of my Cigarette Smoke in my Car? 

Products like Febreze do a magnificent job in removing or altering the molecules that smelly odors leave. Febreze uses a chemical that traps odor molecules. Those foul-smelling molecules are still there after you spray the Febreze, but they no longer bind to your scent receptors; therefore, you no longer smell them. 

Lots of research states that products like Febreze may not be as effective in getting rid of unpleasant odors or absorbing the odors. even though Febreze may have neutralized some molecules in the room. 

Removing Cigarette Smoke Smells From Cars With Ozone Generators

Sometimes you try your best to vacuum and use odor-absorbing items as much as you can. But you may still have that lingering cigarette smoke smell. So, what can you do? An ozone generator may be ideal. We recommend leaving this to professionals though. Lots of professional automotive detailers and cleaners use ozone generators to kill stubborn smells. 

One thing to know is that ozone generators are not the same as ionizers or air purifiers. Car air filters and purifiers may filter out some awful smells, if the molecules are large enough and the filter medium is fine enough. But once you introduce ozone generators, then you are on a very different level than plug-in ionizers. Ozone generators work by using ultraviolet radiation or even coronal discharge to break normal O2 molecules down into oxygen atoms. Then, those single oxygen atoms will bind to O2 molecules creating ozone or O3 molecules. While ozone is effective at knocking out tough odors like cigarette smoke, ozone can also be hazardous to your health. Therefore, we recommend that you leave ozone generators to professionals; as they are usually used in unoccupied areas of a factory or a shop. 

How To Get Cigarette Smell Out Of A Vehicle With Leather Seats

Cigarette smells can linger. They can also be difficult to remove from most car interior surfaces. When you have cigarette smoke odors on leather, you have some additional challenges. But you can see success! Check out the steps below! 

  • Step 1: Because you have a special circumstance with leather seats, we recommend using a specialized leather cleaner. If you can also get a detachable brush, please do so. This will allow for a deeper penetration of the surface. Next, spray a light layer of the foam on the leather car seat and others. 
  • Step 2: Grab your brush and then use back-and-forth strokes as you brush the cleaner in. 
  • Step 3: Then immediately wipe off any excess cleaner with a clean and dry cloth. A microfiber towel is ideal. 
  • Step 4: Repeat the application for effective cleaning.

Baking Soda and Vinegar on Leather 

Both baking soda and white vinegar are also great for cleaning leather seats. You want to make sure you have a spray bottle of each. You can mix your baking soda with spring water. Take your spray bottle, spraying the seats. Then use either your brush or a cloth to clean the seats. We don’t recommend leaving the vinegar and baking soda on the leather as this could damage it. Spray your solutions in your cloth and wipe. You may need to perform this a few times, depending on how bad the cigarette smoke smell is. 

Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Leather Seats 

While people have seen success with alcohol on leather seats, do a patch test first. If there is no disruption to the leather after you apply the alcohol, then you are ready! take your cloth and spray the rubbing alcohol into the cloth. Begin rubbing to get rid of the cigarette smoke. A few applications should work. 

Sell that Cigarette Smoke-Filled Car Fast! 

Do you have a car that smells of cigarette smoke and has other issues? You can sell that car to Cash Cars Buyer! We specialize in less-than-perfect junk cars and cars that have cigarette odors. As a licensed, bonded and insured junk car buyer, we make selling that troublesome car easy and fast! 

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