Getting cigarette smell out of car

haliwa01December 12, 2005

I am a newbie here and found this site by accident and I need your help.

I am a reformed smoker and my car smells like cigaretts and I was wondering how can I get the cigarette smell out of my car? A friend of mine was telling me about some product you can get that will help get the cigarette smell out of your car.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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I wonder if they were thinking about Febreeze, available at supermarkets. I've never used it. I think the real problem is that the odor and cigarette chemicals penetrate any upholstered places, like the headliner. Good luck. Glad to hear you managed to quit smoking. I know it is a rough experience.

I think I'd wipe down any vinyl surfaces, maybe have the carpets cleaned.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 8:41PM
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You will need to have the entire car cleaned. Fabreeze will only cover the smell for a short time.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 11:38AM
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I can't remember what it's called but there's a product that you can purchase at an auto parts store that dealerships use to get rid of smells.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 1:49PM
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My mom used to use an ozone spray of some kind. Can't remember the name but it came in a very small orange and white aerosol can. I tried to google it but nothing came up. I think it was what bluesbarby is talking about.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 3:29PM
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You can put a few "Bounce" or other fabric softening sheets under the front seats. I don't think it works permanently but it helps a lot in the short term.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 6:23PM
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I'd recommend getting an interior detail. I got one of these the last time that I went to the carwash -- first time ever -- and it got rid of the smoke smell. Plus, the inside of the car is very, very clean. It was well worth the $30 and the 30 minutes.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 1:28PM
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I have done the exact same thing - plain old baking soda sitting in a cup in one of the back cup holders works quickly. It's safe and easy. You might want to give that a try. My cups were always half (or more) full. I don't know if the amount matters.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 1:55PM
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I have heard that straight amonia is good for absorbing smoke smells.. Maybe put a bowl in your car over night.. BUT don't drive away til you take it out...

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 4:05PM
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You are thinking of Ozium.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ozium

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 4:22PM
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Getting the car thoroughly cleaned is the first step. The stuff coating everything needs to be gone first. The odor in the seats is harder to remove. Unwrap a couple of bars of Dial soap and put them under the seats. I use that when getting smoke odors from old quilts. While you can't wrap the car in a plastic bag, the time it is closed up should really help.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 5:21PM
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Well, this is handy!

1. Shampoo the car's interior, including carpets, upholstery and floor mats with an odor eliminating shampoo, available at hardware or home improvement stores.

  1. Clean all washable interior surfaces with the same shampoo. Put a small amount directly on a damp sponge, work in and wipe down.
  2. Clean all the windows inside with a glass cleaner. Repeat if necessary.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda on dry carpet, working it in with your hands. Wait a week and then vacuum.
  4. Clean leather upholstery with a commercial leather cleaner/deodorizer, available at your dealership or at home improvement stores.
  5. Vacuum ashtrays to remove residual ash. Place a small amount of baking soda or kitty litter into the ashtrays to absorb odors.

Overall Tips:
To freshen the car, keep dryer sheets under the seats, or place a little activated charcoal in a no-spill container (such as a jar with small air holes in the top) and place in car.
Whenever possible, keep windows open when smoking in a car.
You may need to replace the car's headliner (or "ceiling") if you can't remove the smoke odor from it.

Overall Warnings:
Cigarette smoke can be extremely difficult to remove. If you are unsuccessful, consider taking the car to a professional detailer.
Air fresheners may disguise the smell of smoke but they won't remove it.

Here is a link that might be useful: From

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 7:24PM
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The stuff you can get that car dealers use around here is ATMOSCLEAR. It has no smell of it's own and permanently gets rid of the smell. But you have to spray every inch of your interior. It doesn't seem to stain and isn't noxious to smell or breathe (at least it doesn't bother me). Works on any surface (except something like silk which would water mark). On hard surfaces I just spray it on a cloth and wipe.
I buy it at our Ace Hardware and I don't know where else you can get it but it is terrific stuff. I am not affiliated with this company in any way, but sure do appreciate the product.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 7:49PM
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Coffee. Buy a cheap brand of coffee and place unused grounds in a container. Leave overnight or as long as you want. Works great. I once rented a car and it smelled like smoke. We drove around with the coffee all day (smelled better than smoke) and the smoke smell was gone the next day. I told the rental place about it and they gave me a 10% discount for the handy tip.

I also used this when we bought our house. The previous owner was a big smoker. I placed 1-2 plastic cups with coffee grounds in each room prior to us moving in. Worked great! Dana

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 11:52AM
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Have the car detailed to start a new life smoke free!!!! Congrats to you!!!! That is HUGE!!!!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 12:11AM
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Check with your car dealer. I take mine once a year to
the dealer to get it detailed. They vaccuum and shampoo
the inside and clean it all up like new. Smells and
looks like a new car again. I have 2 small children
so you know how they can mess up a car. Think it
costs about $80 but might depend on the dealer.

Congratulations on the quit smoking...


    Bookmark   March 4, 2006 at 2:19AM
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Congratulations on quitting smoking!! Me, I just keep trying!
Set a bowl of white vinegar in the car, all day or overnight. You can put in a drop of two of essential oil for a pleasant smell. I don't know how it works but vinegar absorbs odors. It's how I rid my car of its "smoky" smell and how I freshen my teenage son's room. You can also mix 50/50 water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on the interior (seats, carpets, etc). The vinegar smell goes away when it dries so don't worry about that.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 7:18PM
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Coffee did the trick for me, at least so far, I put in a little in a tuperware and let it sit overnight, this morning I could not smell the smoke, it was wonderful. I also put the fabric sheets under both seats just for good measure. I plan to fully detail the car and keep the coffee going for a few days, then I am going to remove it and report back, but so far so good, thanks to those of you on here that suggested it, I HATE SMOKE.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 2:25PM
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The "coffee" girl wins my husband used to smoke and it worked like a charm for his car. But, it makes you stop at Starbucks for a cup-a-Joe.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 12:07PM
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Be sure to use fresh dry coffee grounds from a new can of coffee, not old used wet grounds from your coffee maker. I made that mistake once. It didn't help the smells at all and it started growoing its' own mold!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 2:09PM
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I am a smoker & I smoke in my car but I don't like to smell it when I get in. (I also live alone.) I shampoo my car mats & upholstery every month & keep the ashtray clean & filled w/baking soda at all times. I have tried the vinegar method which worked. Also, you should treat the vents since when you turn them on, the smell of smoke will be right back. I bought a small bottle of New Car Smell at my local Stop & Shop & that works great! I use it everyday when I leave my car for the night. I spray it on the seats, interior roof, etc. I have also used the Gain fabric softener sheets to minimal success. Basically, aside from smoking, my car is always very clean. I understand that's a big "aside," & I know it would be much easier to quit smoking but that ain't happening soon! However, when people get in my car, they are surprised that I smoke in it since they tell me it doesn't smell like smoke.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 1:56PM
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I second or third the Coffe Grounds suggestion. It does work.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 9:25AM
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Odo-ban from SAMs did the trick for me.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 7:53PM
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Coffee grounds, vinegar, baking soda, activated charcoal, calcium chloride, onions, all work well. Finish with Febreze and rub down seats with fabric softener.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 6:52PM
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