Before you try any home remedies or chemicals to get the smell of smoke out of your car, there are some general cleaning tips that will help. These ideas will remove most of the smell, so once they’re done you may not have to do anything else! Here’s what to do:
The bulk of the cigarette smell will come from the physical remains of cigarettes, so remove and clean out your ashtray first. And it isn’t enough to just empty it either. Remove it completely, wash it out with soapy water, and leave it to dry for 24 hours before putting it back into your car.
- Clean out the interior and vacuum
When you smoke in the car, particles of ash fly around the interior and sink into the carpet and upholstery. You need to remove these particles to get rid of the smoke smell. Clean out the car, including under the seats, and remove the floor mats. Vacuum everywhere, making sure to get under the seats and around the center console. Shake out the mats and vacuum them before replacing them. Once you’re done, your car will smell a lot better than it did.
- Wipe down the hard surfaces
Using a damp cloth, wipe down the hard surfaces in your car. Make sure that you don’t use a very wet cloth, as this can damage the surfaces, particularly if you have a leather interior. You can also buy specialized leather or vinyl wipes.
Use a glass cleaner, preferably one with ammonia, to clean the insides of the windows and windscreen. Smoking residue can be difficult to remove from glass, so be prepared to apply the cleaner and really scrub it more than once.
You can do this yourself or take it to your local detailing center to have the seats professionally shampooed. Here’s how to shampoo the upholstery in your car yourself:
- Remove any rubbish from seats and seat pockets.
- Vacuum the surfaces.
- Pour upholstery shampoo into a bucket of water and mix well.
- Using a clean cloth, work the upholstery into a small area.
- Use a sponge to work the shampoo into the damp area.
- Dip a clean sponge in plain water and scrub off the shampoo.
- Blot with a dry cloth to remove as much of the water and shampoo as possible.
- When you’ve finished, leave the car doors open to help the seats dry.
The smell of smoke circulates throughout your car, which means that it also circulates through your duct system. So, once you’ve cleaned out your car, you also need to clear out all the cigarette smell in your ducts. Otherwise, when you need turn the engine on, you’ll get a face full of smoke smell.
Here’s how to clear out your ducts:
- Start the engine with the car in park.
- Turn the fan and air conditioner on maximum cool and full strength.
- Roll the windows down and let the air conditioner run for 3 minutes.
- Spray air freshener onto the air intake vent. This is usually located by the wiper blades.
- Turn the air conditioner fan onto heat for 1 minute.
- Spray air freshener into the air intake vent again.