Cigarette smoke has the ability to linger, quite unlike any other car aroma. Whether you are a smoker yourself and want to increase your chances of selling your vehicle or just want to banish the smell once and for all from a used car you have purchased, then here are a few things you can try to stub the smell of cigarettes out for good.
Things you can do to remove the smell at home
Remove all ash and butts from the car First things first, if you have an ashtray in your vehicle then empty it out and give it a wipe round with some scented spray cleaner. If you don’t plan on using the ashtray again then another trick is to fill it up with coffee grinds or baking soda as these can help to neutralise the smell of smoke and draw odours out of the air. If you have cigarettes or cigarette buts anywhere else in your vehicle then its time to dispose of these too.
Give the interior of your car a good clean Next, you want to give your car a good internal clean. Start with the basics and remove any trash or rubbish that you may have lying around. Then move onto a thorough vacuum and hoover the carpets, mats, seats and crevices to remove dust, dirt, ash and crumbs before finally giving the dashboards, door pockets and steering wheel a good wipe around with a scented wipe to remove any last bits of dust or dirt that may have settled there.
Shampoo your seats and carpets When it comes to the smell of smoke, your carpets, seats and head-lining will hold the smell the most. To remove the smell of smoke from leather seats try and mix one part of white vinegar and two parts of olive, linseed or baby oil in a spray bottle and use this to wipe down your leather seats using a cloth. Next, using a clean and dry cloth, wipe the seats again to remove any excess residue and watch as your leather transforms. For cloth and fabric seats or carpets, use an upholstery cleaner such as shake and vac or a similar product to permeate deep into the fabric and draw out any remaining odours. Use upholstery cleaner on every cloth surface in your car including the floors, footwells, boot liner and ceiling if applicable as the cleaner will help to remove smoke and ash from the material and replace the smell with something more palatable.
Use an air freshener Air fresheners may not solve the problem but they do help to mask any remaining smells in the air. Add an air freshener to your air vent or hang one from your mirror to create a new scent for your fabric and car to absorb. If you don’t like the look of conventional air fresheners then why not try custom car fresheners to add a piece of your own personality back into your vehicle. You can also use odour eliminator sprays and air freshener cans to spray your mats, carpet and seats or if you don’t have any of these then a mixture of baking soda and water will work the same way.
Use tumble drier sheets Hide some tumble drier sheets in your door pockets and under your seats to absorb any remaining odour or try leaving a cup of white wine vinegar uncovered in your car overnight.
Freshen up the air Wherever possible let the air conditioning circulate fresh air around the car and leave the windows open to allow any lingering smells to dissipate.
What if you can still smell smoke?
If your vehicle has seen heavy and persistent smoking throughout its lifetime then the smell of smoke can be very hard to get rid off. Heavy smoke damage doesn’t build up overnight and so you can’t expect to get rid of it in an afternoon. If you have found the above steps to have helped make some improvement then do them again a few more times in quick succession.
Alternatively, if the smell is still too strong then you may want to up your game and take your car to a professional so that they can steam clean your upholstery and head-lining, clean the inside of the air conditioning system and replace your cabin filter.
Finally, if all else fails then the last thing you can do is to begin replacing smoke damaged parts of the car interior such as the headlining, the seats and the carpets, but this can be a very costly thing to do, so do ensure that you have explored all other avenues first.