How to Get Smoke Smell Out of a Car in 8 Easy Steps

how to get smoke smell out of a car

There are just times when you’re in need of a good smoke while you are in your car. However, cigarettes could leave a smell that not only can be a nuisance but also pose health risks. Along with it are smoke particles that make your car interior dirty and potentially damage it.

You can tackle the smoke smell and particles using some specialized cleaners and even some household items. Find out exactly how to get smoke smell out of a car by reading this article.

How to Get Cigarette Smell Out of Car – Step by Step Guide


This task is gonna take a lot of effort, especially when you’re going to deal with a very strong smell. But all the effort would be worth it once you finally get a spotless car with cleaner and healthier air.

What to Prepare

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Steam cleaner
  • Degreaser
  • Baking soda
  • Crevice tool vacuum cleaner attachment
  • Car freshener
  • Hard surface cleaner
  • Commercial glass cleaner or DIY glass cleaner ingredients: vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and water
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Detailing brush
  • Odor Neutralizer
  • Leather cleaner
  • Leather conditioner
  • New cabin air filter
  • Odor-absorbent substances e.g., coffee grounds, baking soda, white vinegar, cat litter, citrus peels, charcoal
  • Bowl

Step 1: Air Out the Smoke Smell From Your Car

It would help to allow air and wind to circulate in your car to let the smoke smell dissipate. On a fine, windy day, leave the windows open. You may do this with the car parked or being driven.

Step 2: Work on the Floor Mats


The smell of smoke can also adhere to floor mats, so you also need to clean them to get rid of smoke smell in car. Take the mats out of the car and vacuum them thoroughly.

You may also use a steam cleaner and a degreaser to further clean the fabric. Another option is to sprinkle baking soda on the mats. This powder can absorb acidic smells, including nicotine smoke.

Step 3: Clean the Ashtray


The ashtray in your car may have accumulated a lot of ashes already, which also contributes to the smoke smell in your car. So take the ashtray out of the car and wash it.

After washing it, set it aside to dry for 24 hours. Then put it back in place once dry and odor-free.

Step 4: Clear Out and Clean the Glove Compartment

The smell of smoke can cling to all surfaces and things in the car. So you should also clear out and clean the glove compartment.

Take out the things inside the glove compartment. Discard the unnecessary items and air out your essentials.

After you remove the glove compartment’s contents, wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth and cleaner.

Step 5: Change cabin air filter


Changing the cabin air filter usually doesn’t require tools for most cars.

Usually, an old cabin air filter could just be pulled out from behind the glove compartment. After pulling it out, throw it out and put the new cabin air filter in place.

Step 6: Vacuum and Wipe The Car Interior

Thoroughly vacuum clean the interior of your car to get rid of ashes, cigarette butts, and other contaminants. Pay special attention to the crevices and underneath the seats, as ashes would often end up in them.

Attach the crevice tool attachment to the vacuum cleaner before you work on the hard-to-reach areas of your car’s interior.

In addition to vacuuming, use a microfiber cloth and a hard surface cleaner like Microban 24 to clean the car interior.

To use Microban 24, spray it onto a surface and wipe it. Or if you go with another commercial cleaner, just use it as per product instructions.

Regarding the seat belts, simply wipe them with a clean cloth.

Similarly, for cleaning the interior windows, you can spray a commercial glass cleaner on them, then wipe them thoroughly.

If you want to use a DIY window cleaner instead, you can create one by mixing a quarter cup of vinegar, a half teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and two cups of water in a spray bottle. Then shake them thoroughly inside the bottle.


  • You may use a steam cleaner in this step instead of a regular vacuum to remove smoke smell from car.
  • For leather car seats and surfaces as well as the trim in your car, you must use a cleaner that’s safe to use on those surfaces. After cleaning, apply a leather conditioner as well. You can learn more about how to clean leather car seats here.

Remember to check the steering wheel and see whether it’s made of leather.

Step 7: Clean the Vents and Use a Car Freshener Spray


To be able to remove cigarette smell from car, it’s important to clean its vents. First, wipe the vents with a damp cloth or a small detailing brush. Second, let steam pass through them using a steam cleaner and set the vents to circulate.

Spraying a freshener can help get rid of cigarette smell in car. Apply the solution on car upholstery like the seats and seat backs; it is also best to pick a no-residue formula that’s made for smokers.

I recommend spraying the odor neutralizer into your heating system as well.

Afterwards, open all four doors of your car. You may then leave it for 30 minutes or longer.

Step 8: Check the Car and Leave an Odor-Absorbent Substance in It


Finally, it’s time to check and see if you’ve managed to get smoke smell out of car.

Make sure to dry your car’s interior thoroughly before closing it again, as moisture in the interior can also cause a foul smell and molds.

In addition to cleaning the car interior, you can also leave some odor-absorbent substance in your car, especially if there is still a bit of smoke smell left over after cleaning. Below is a list of options for odor-absorbent substances that you can use:

  • Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are a commonly available household item that you can use as an odor absorber. To use coffee grounds to absorb the smoke smell in your car, pour them into a bowl and leave the bowl in your car overnight.

  • Baking Soda

If you’re a baker, it’s probably easy to find a box of baking soda in your kitchen. Just open the box and leave it in your car, or sprinkle the powder on smelly areas.

  • White Vinegar

Pour some white vinegar in a bowl and leave the bowl in the car overnight to absorb the smoke smell.

  • Cat Litter

A bowl of cat litter can also be placed in a car overnight to get rid of the smoke smell. Repeat for another night if necessary.

  • Citrus Peels

Peels from citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, or grapefruits can not only remove smoke smell from your car but also leave a nice scent. You can leave a plate of any citrus fruits in your car for 48 hours.

Just be careful not to attract insects by keeping the car’s windows closed.

  • Charcoal

Charcoal’s high porosity allows it to absorb odors. Leave a bowl of it in the car for at least 36 to 48 hours.


If you’re a smoker, you’ll eventually need to do these steps on how to get smoke smell out of a car to enjoy healthier air that’s more comfortable for you and your passengers.

And if you smoke a lot, you’re going to need to do them often to prevent your car from reeking of smoke. Keeping your car smoke smell and particles-free is a must to protect your and your passengers’ health as well as your car’s interior.

5/5 - (3 votes)



"As the content writer of Charmcitycirculator, I intend to bring just the best purchase options and straightforward answers to your problems. Other than what we put up on our website, we hope to hear more from you. "

– Bruce Sonnier