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How to Get The Cigar Smell Out of a Car: Your Ultimate Guide! 

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A cigarette smell lingering in your car is something you should get rid of. It is not only smelly, it is also harmful to your health since it contains active chemical substances. This thirdhand smoke, as it's commonly known, clings to everything it touches and it is one of the most hard to remove odors in cars. If you have this problem and you want to get rid of the cigar smell, you can try some known methods on how to get cigar smell out of a car. There are some DIY methods that use baking soda, dryer sheets, coffee grounds, citrus peels, or cinnamon sticks to get rid of the cigar smell but for cars with leather seats, you will have to use specialized cleaners. Ammonia-free cleaners can also be used to wipe car windows, windshields, and other parts. The cabin air filter will have to be replaced too.  

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To know the procedures on how to get cigar smell out of a car, read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know!


How to Get Cigar Smell Out of a Car: How Long Does it Take to Get Smoke Smell Out of Car?


Like mentioned earlier, a cigarette smell is known to be one of the most potent and hard to remove odors in cars. It has this distinct smell that is often hard to tolerate for nonsmokers. But if you are a smoker, you are probably used to the cigar smell and not fully aware of how strong the odor is. 


The cigarette odor is also known as the thirdhand smoke which are residual nicotine and other chemicals from the cigarette that clings on surfaces. Other people can still be exposed to these chemicals by touching it or breathing in the off-gassing from the contaminated surfaces. Know that this cigar smell can cling to cars and other surfaces even long after smoking has stopped. The cigarette’s third-hand smoke residue can build up on surfaces over time. 


You might think that one of the methods on how to get cigar smell out of a car is by opening the windows or the doors of your car, but it does not work like that. You can’t eliminate the third hand smoke by just doing that. The smoke smell in the car can last for weeks, months, or even years after you stop smoking. 


How to Get Cigar Smell Out of a Car: Is it Possible to Remove Smoke Smell From a Car?


Maybe you have come to a decision to stop smoking and you want to get rid of all the cigar smell or traces of it in your car and home. Or maybe you want to sell your car but you know a strong cigarette smell can depreciate its value. Whatever the reason may be, knowing how to get cigar smell out of a car is one way closer to having a fresh start, or at least a fresh smelling car. 


Since a tobacco that is burnt can penetrate the car’s upholstery, hard surfaces, carpet, and can infiltrate its air system, getting rid of the cigar smell and its harmful residue out of your car can be very difficult and will require a lot of work. 


Here are some of the steps on how to get cigar smell out of a car.


Clean and air it all out.


  • The first step on how to get cigar smell out of a car, is to roll down all the windows and open all the doors of your car. Make sure that your car is parked in an area that is well-ventilated, allowing your car to breathe and air out some of the cigar smell. You can also drive your car around for a few minutes and just air everything out. 
  • Take out cigarette butts, cigars, signs of cigarette or tobacco ash if there is any, as well as all the trash inside your car.  
  • Remove the built-in ashtray in your car and wash it thoroughly. Let it air out for at least 24 hours before putting it back in place to make sure that cigar smell is completely gone.

Clean the interiors. 

  • Removing your car seat covers or floor mats is also one of the ways on how to get cigar smell out of a car. Remove them if you can and take them all out.
  • If you have a vacuum, you can vacuum them thoroughly. Make sure that you vacuum the floor mats and the floor carpets separately. 
  • Vacuum the upholstery and get on every nook and cranny, vacuuming under the seats and in between the crevices. There might be some cigar related litter or ash sitting in there. 
  • Once vacuumed and cleaned, allow the floor mats to air out in the sun for a while. 
  • Depending on how strong the cigar smell is, you might need a steam cleaner to get rid of the odor. You can steam clean the interior, including the upholstered surfaces such as the carpet, seats, mats, headliner, door trim, and the dashboard. 
  • When you are done, do not close the car’s doors just yet to make sure that the interior can completely dry up. If not, moisture and dampness can be trapped inside and the odor it can produce is something you don’t want to deal with.   
  • For cars with interiors that have leathers and trims, you may have to use specifically formulated cleaners to clean it. Make sure that you follow their specific guidelines on how to clean it.
  • Clean the leather surfaces using specialized cleaners intended for them. You may have to do it a lot of times since cigar smoke tends to get deep with the leather and trim surface. Repeating the cleaning process can ensure that the cigar smell will be fully removed as well as the cigar residue build ups. 
  • Once you’re done cleaning the carpet, mats, upholstery, and trim, you can proceed to clean the other surfaces in your car. Clean your windows and windshields. Wipe them thoroughly on each side, front and back. 


  • Put your key in the ignition and start your car’s engine. Turn the fan on high or full with the air conditioner at its lowest temperature. The air recirculation should be turned off. Roll the windows down and allow the air conditioner to blow out and get rid of the cigar smell. 
  • Since the cigar can get into the air vents, creating a very foul smell, one of the procedures on how to get cigar smell out of a car is to spray an odor neutralizer directly into the air intake system’s vent. Doing so can help get rid of the strong cigar smell coming out of the air conditioner. 
  • While the air conditioner is still on full blast, locate your car’s air intake and find the vent and spray an odor neutralizer directly into it.  
  • You can then turn your car’s heating system on to its maximum heat and spray an odor neutralizer into the intake system. Do this while the heat is on to make sure that the cigar smell will be eliminated from the air condition vents and the interior ducts.  

Replacing the air filter.

  • To ensure that there will not be any trace of cigar smell left in your car, you will have to change your in-cabin air filter. To start, you need to remove all of the items in your glove box since the in-cabin filter is usually located behind the glovebox. 
  • Slide the limiting stop arm off the pin. It is located on the right side of the glove box.  
  • Clasp the front and back of the glovebox until the side clamps are released. Drop the entire glove box so you can access the faceplate to the in-cabin air filter channel. 
  • Remove the old in-cabin filter by lifting the latches on the sides of the faceplate and sliding it out of the way until the filter compartment opens. Take note of the way the arrows are facing when you remove the oil filter. 
  • Make sure that you clean the filter chamber as well as check the seals and gaskets and replace them if needed. You can wipe the filter chamber with a damp cloth to clean it.  
  • Install the new in-cabin filter. Make sure that it matches the old one and the arrows on the new filter are pointing in the same direction as the old one. 
  • Once done, put the faceplate back again and snap the glovebox in place. Reinstall the limiting stop and put all the things you removed back in the glove box. 


How to Get Cigar Smell Out of a Car: What Gets Rid of Cigar Smell?


The methods and procedures on how to get cigar smell out of a car are pretty easy but it needs a lot of patience and time since some of the steps need to be done multiple times to ensure that you will get the desired results. 


There are home remedies or do-it-yourself solutions that can help get rid of the cigar smell. Using these home remedies in addition to doing the steps on how to get cigar smell out of a car listed above can make the removal of the unwanted smell a lot more effective. 


  • Baking soda


You can sprinkle some baking soda on the carpets, floor mats or upholstery before vacuuming them. Baking soda is known to remove unwanted odors and the cigar smell is one of them. It will absorb the cigar smell as you vacuum them up. 


For it to be more effective, sprinkle the baking soda on the carpet, mat, or upholstery and leave it there for one hour before vacuuming. Leaving an open box of baking soda inside your car can also help get rid of the cigar smell from your car. 


  • Dryer sheets


Deodorizing your cloth seats by wiping them with dryer sheets is also one of the steps on how to get cigar smell out of a car. Dryer sheets can give a fresher and cleaner scent inside your car’s cabin. You can also put dryer sheets under your seats, regardless of what type of seats you have. 


  • Citrus peels


Leaving peels of freshly-cut oranges, lemons, or grapefruits can also help. The peels of any citrus fruits are known to be good for absorbing unwanted odors. Keep the peels in a small container, put them in your car, and leave the peels in there for a few days. You will notice that the cigar odor will disappear. It is known to be an effective and natural way to get rid of any cigar smell.  


  • Charcoal


Most people already know that placing a bowl of charcoal in your car and leaving it there for several days can help absorb and remove the cigar odor. This method can eliminate the cigar smell and not just mask it.  


  • Cinnamon sticks


The sweet scent of the cinnamon sticks can add a sweet scent in your car. All you have to do is boil some cinnamon in water and pour it into an open container or mug. Then put the mug in your car with your car’s windows up just until the water’s temperature is the same as your car’s interior. 


When you’re doing this during winter, you can sit in the car with the heater on for about twenty to thirty minutes while the water cools and the sweet scent of cinnamon fills your car. 


  • Cat litter 


Cat litter can also absorb cigarette smell. You just need to leave a bowl of cat litter in your car for a few days and let it absorb the cigar smell.  


Knowing how to get cigar smell out of a car will be very helpful in getting rid of all the traces of cigarettes in your car and probably in your life. However, if you are not there yet, you can try to reduce the lingering smell of cigar in your car by only smoking with the windows open, washing or cleaning the inside of your windshield after each cigarette, not leaving any cigarette butts or ash in your car, or by keeping an open container of charcoal in your car.  

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