How to Remove Smoke Smell From a Car Interior

Buying a used car is a great way to get into a new-to-you car without paying the steep or cost of a new vehicle, but you assume the risks of driving a car that was owned by another person.. A common issue used car buyers run into is a potent cigarette/smoke smell in the interior of the car. 

This smell is not only easily identifiable but also off-putting for many. Smoke smell easily gets stuck in cloth and other materials within your interior, and can prove difficult to remove. 

Ways to Remove Smoke Smell From Your Interior

Air it Out

Probably the most obvious step for removing a smell from your vehicle is to let it air out, preferably on a breezy day when air will be moving around the inside of the car.

Leave your windows completely down for a while on a clear day, and the smell may be at least partially removed from the car. 

This is by no means the most effective method, but it is the easiest and can make a significant difference in certain scenarios.

Black interior of car

Car Deodorizer

There are various products out there that can help eliminate the smoke smell from your upholstery and soft materials. Some are sprays you simply apply to the seats, while others are “deodorizer bombs” that fill the entire car with odor-eliminating fumes and then are left to sit. 

These products all work to varying degrees, but it’s usually a quick and easy way to make your interior smell at least a little better. 

Baking Soda

One of the cheapest yet most effective remedies for cigarette smell is baking soda. It can trap and remove odors. Just liberally sprinkle some over your seats and carpets, and leave it to sit for a few days before vacuuming up.

It may seem messy to dump baking soda all over your interior, but it vacuums up very easily and does a great job of removing the smell from the soft materials of your vehicle. 

Replace Your Cabin Air Filter

Your vehicle’s cabin air filter is responsible for filtering out dust and particles before they are blown into the interior by your HVAC system. While it does a great job of this, these contaminants will start to accumulate on the filter itself and cause all air coming through it to pick up these smells.

This holds true for smoke smell, as cigarette residue can build up on the filter in the cars and cause the cabin to smell smoke no matter how deeply you clean the seats and carpets. Replacements are generally inexpensive and can have a great effect on the overall smell of your vehicle, even in non-smoker cars. 

Wipe the Hard Surfaces As Well

While the odor has an easier time becoming trapped in soft materials like the upholstery, residue can still build up on the plastics and hard trim of your interior as well. Various cleaning products on the market can help remove this, or you can use a vinegar, water, and citrus solution if you’d rather do it the DIY route (this can actually provide better results over store-bought options). 

Auto Repair and Services at Carlsbad Auto Service

While we are not detailers, Carlsbad Auto Service is your go-to for any and all automotive services, including cabin air filter replacement. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

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