How to Remove Cigarette Smoke Smell From Car

How to Remove Cigarette Smoke Smell From Car

Cigarette smoke is not discreet. The fragrance tends to infiltrate our garments, carpets, and furnishings without any remorse. However, the consensus is that it is one of the most terrible scents, comparable to smells such as gasoline and sulfur.

That’s why, when it comes to the odour of cigarette smoke in your car, it must be eliminated. Fortunately, we have gathered a collection of methods to eliminate that odour.

Whether you require a simple solution that effectively eliminates the odour or a thorough cleaning to remove the smell permanently, we have you covered. By utilizing techniques such as vacuuming, deodorizing, and even replacing your cabin air filter (hello, professional cleaner!), you can quickly get a pleasant scent in your car that is suitable for both you and your passengers.

To begin with. Let’s discuss your circumstances. If you want to quickly freshen up your automobile (meaning your car is likely to produce smoke again), refer to our Quick Fix Tips & Tricks. Your automobile will have a noticeably improved smell, making it suitable for taking your friends around the neighbourhood without feeling embarrassed.

However, if you want to eliminate the odour permanently, it’s necessary to thoroughly clean it. (There’s no need for tobacco to be a lifelong commitment.) To achieve that, be sure to follow our Quick Fix instructions and also refer to our Deep Cleaning Tips and Tricks, which provide more complex techniques to rejuvenate your car.

Simple Solutions and Techniques

Start by collecting all of your cleaning supplies:

  • Disinfectant for many surfaces
  • Vacuum cleaner or portable vacuum cleaner
  • Fabric deodorizing spray
  • Spritzer
  • Acetic acid Liquid detergent H2O Odor eliminator

First step: Remove the offender

Remove any traces of cigarette residue or ash from your entire car. Indeed, clean your vehicle by ensuring that you dispose of the contents of your ashtray. Place your ashtray outside of your vehicle and apply a multi-surface disinfectant, such as Microban 24. This product effectively eliminates 99.9% of bacteria for 24 hours* when used according to the instructions. Apply the spray and let it dry naturally.

Second Step: Vacuum

The soft surfaces in your car are quite likely to absorb smoke. To address this directly, utilize a portable vacuum to remove particles that adhere to scents. Ensure that you thoroughly clean all the tight spaces, using the hand tool for the more challenging areas, such as the gaps between the seatbacks and bottoms. Use an additional hand to gently pull apart the seams in the car seats, allowing you to utilize your other hand to firmly press down with the vacuum, thereby removing even the unseen debris. Take off the floor mats and vacuum the area underneath. Afterwards, place the mats outside the car so you can check later if they still have a smoke odour.

A person is using a cloth to clean an ashtray on the exterior of an automobile. 

Third Step: Move the air around

To eliminate the smell of smoke:

  1. Apply Febreze Fabric Auto spray to the soft surfaces in your car, such as the seats and seatbacks.
  2. Unlock all the doors of your automobile and set the vents to “recirculate”.
  3. Allow the air to circulate throughout the entire system for a minimum of one hour.

Step Four: Sanitize the solid surfaces

Use a homemade cleaning solution to clean the windows and mirrors of your car. Mix ¼ cup of vinegar and ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap, such as Dawn, in a spray bottle. Add 2 cups of water to dilute. Give the bottle a good shake, and then spray your windows and mirrors as needed, being careful to clean and dry everything with a microfiber cloth. Next, use Microban 24 to clean and disinfect the plastic parts of your interior. This product not only cleans but also offers up to 24 hours of bacteria protection on non-porous surfaces when used correctly*.

Step Five: Febreze air freshener placed in an automobile

Replace everything and attach an air freshener.

Once you have eliminated the smell of smoking from your ashtray and car mats, you can proceed to return them to your car. As an additional precaution, put an air freshener on your rearview mirror.

Effective Cleaning Techniques and Strategies

If you’re truly committed to removing the unpleasant smell of cigarette smoke from your car, it’s time to make every effort possible. In addition to the methods mentioned above, please follow these steps for a more thorough cleaning.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an excellent substance for capturing smells. Begin by evenly distributing it across all the cushioned areas in your vehicle (including the gaps between the seats and on the inside surface of the roof). You may experience a slight sensation of engaging in destructive behaviour with your vehicle, but embrace it. Allow the baking soda to remain for approximately 36 hours before using a vacuum to remove it. Baking soda can easily adhere to your chairs; therefore, it may be necessary to vacuum multiple times.

Step Two: Substituting your in-cabin air filter

If you have never changed your air filter, you will be surprised by the filth, dust, and odours it captures. To replace it with a new one, start by emptying the contents of your glove box. Then, carefully detach the glove box from its hinges to remove it entirely. For the majority of car models, you often won’t require any tools for this task. Remove the air filter that has been filled with smoke and dispose of it. Then, replace it with a new filter. It’s that simple.

Step Three: Eliminate odours from your HVAC system

One of the most effective methods to get rid of the smell of smoke is to utilize your HVAC system to distribute a deodorizer throughout your vehicle. To begin, lower all of your windows and find the HVAC intake. (It is situated close to the bottom of your windshield.) Start your ignition and switch your system to recirculate. Set your fans to the highest setting and lower the temperature to the minimum. Apply the deodorizer by spraying it into the HVAC intake (if available, use an extension tube to enter it directly into the vents), and then switch off your ignition. Allow your automobile to remain with the windows open until the deodorizer has settled. Bang. Your car has just received a fragrance upgrade.


That’s all! The only thing remaining is to enjoy your ride without the unpleasant odour! You will be pleased that you put in the additional effort, and we assume that your passengers will be as well.

When used as instructed, it is efficient for 24 hours against Staphylococcus aureus and Enterobacter aerogenes germs. Microban 24 does not offer virus protection that lasts for 24 hours.

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