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How to remove the smoke smell from my car?

How to remove the smoke smell from my car?

The smell of smoke filling the interior of your car is every car owner's worst nightmare. If you've just bought a car that used to belong to a smoker and smells of cigarettes, or if you're a smoker yourself, you can get rid of tobacco odors with the right methods. In this article, we will explain the process of removing the smoke smell from your car. Read on to learn more.

How can I prevent the tobacco smell in my car?

Never leave cigarette butts inside the car

To reduce the intensity of the smell, it's a good idea to smoke with the windows open to ventilate the car. A common practice among smokers is to extinguish cigarettes in the ashtray and leave them there for days. Don't forget to empty the ashtray of ash and cigarette butts and clean it thoroughly with soap and water.

For those with a head for heights, you can add a little water with a scent, such as lavender, to the ashtray.

Use natural air fresheners

When it comes to removing the smell of tobacco, products such as coffee beans, cinnamon or citrus can neutralize odors. For example, sprinkle them around the car in the evening and leave them on overnight.

Clean the interior frequently

General cleaning is essential to combat the strong odor of tobacco that penetrates car interiors such as seats, ceilings, dashboards, and even windows.  This not only removes the smell of tobacco from the car but also disinfects the entire interior. It's a good idea to clean the car once a month (vacuum and clean), and if you want a car that smells good, use air fresheners.

How do I clean a car that smells like cigarettes?

Step 1: Remove and wash plastic parts

To remove the smell of cigarettes from a car, the first step is to remove and empty the ashtray. Cigarette odor is not only caused by the smoke from burning tobacco and paper: cigarette butts left in the ashtray also contribute to the spread of tobacco odor in the passenger compartment.

Once you've removed the ashtray, you can do the same with any removable plastic covers. These are also likely to be impregnated with tobacco odor. To get rid of them, you can hand wash them or put them directly in the dishwasher.

Step 2: Wash carpets and rugs

Plastics, floor mats, and any boot mats should be removed from the vehicle. Cigarette odors can penetrate every part of your car's interior, including the fibers of your floor mats. That's why you need to remove them for washing.

Mats can be washed with water and a brush dipped in a mixture of water and detergent. Scrub vigorously to remove odors. If the smell persists after a good wash and drying, you can repeat the process or decide to replace your carpets.

Step 3: Wash the windows

We tend to forget about them, but windows also trap soot and tobacco odors in the cabin. To thoroughly clean your car windows and remove cigarette stains, you can use rubbing alcohol. This odorless product effectively degreases and disinfects windows. It should be applied to a soft cloth before rubbing the glass surfaces. It's important not to neglect the window seals for a more thorough cleaning.

Step 4: The Dashboard

Cleaning the dashboard is one of the most time-consuming steps in removing cigarette odor from a car. This is because the dashboard is full of crevices where tobacco soot deposits can penetrate. Air vents, buttons, and controls: To clean every nook and cranny, use cotton swabs soaked in rubbing alcohol. You can also use a toothpick to remove cigarette residue from inaccessible areas.

Once you've cleaned the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, you can clean the other components with a microfiber cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. Pay special attention to areas such as the steering wheel, shifter, and controls that often come into contact with the hands of the smoking driver.

Step 5: Remove cigarette odor from seats

An injector/extractor cleaner is the ideal solution for removing tobacco odor from seat fabric. This device sprays a solution of water and detergent into the fabric and immediately sucks it up. The solution penetrates the fabric and is immediately sucked up with all the dirt.

Alternatively, you can brush the seats with a brush dipped in a mixture of hot water and fabric cleaner. Make sure you don't soak your seats in too much water when washing, as this will make drying difficult. When you're finished brushing, leave doors and windows open to promote ventilation and drying.

8 tips to get rid of tobacco smell in your car

Use white vinegar

White vinegar is a powerful disinfectant if you're looking for an alternative to chemicals and pollutants. Plus, it costs next to nothing and is safe for small children and pets.

To deodorize your car and remove crusty tobacco odors, rub the dashboard and plastic parts with a little pure vinegar and let it dry

Spray your seats and carpets with a mixture of vinegar and water in the following proportions 1/5 ᵉ vinegar to 1/5 ᵉ water. Allow to dry without rinsing. The vinegar fumes will dissipate quickly, taking the unpleasant tobacco smell with them.

Baking Soda

This wonderful powder has no equal when it comes to fighting odors. Its absorbency is super: just sprinkle generously on seats and carpets and wait.

As a general rule, we recommend leaving this natural product on overnight. The next morning, vacuum carefully to remove all the white powder. The stubborn odor should disappear.

Freshly roasted coffee beans

Here's one of Grandma's best tricks! Put some roasted coffee in a small jar with a perforated lid, or in a small cloth bag with a drawstring. Place the jar or bag in the passenger compartment of your car and leave it there for a few days. This should solve the problem.

Dried citrus peel

This trick won't cost you a dime. It will perfume your car with a delicious citrus scent and combat unpleasant odors. Freshness guaranteed!

Here's how it works:

  • Dry orange, lemon, or grapefruit peels in the sun or a low-temperature oven;
  • Place them in small cloth or gas bags;
  • Place them in the glove compartment or bag of your car.

Essential oils

Sometimes called plant essences, these liquids concentrate the volatile aromatic compounds of plants. They are obtained by distillation and are therefore very potent. In other words, these little odor bombs are formidable against stubborn odors!

They also have disinfectant and purifying properties. Be careful not to use these natural solutions if you have a baby or pets in your vehicle. They can be toxic in certain cases.

To use these treasures of nature, dilute them in a little water and spray the mixture on fabric surfaces and in the ventilation system. Allow to dry and you're ready to go!

Activate your air conditioner

Open the doors and set your fan to "recirculate" while you clean the car to let in fresh air. Finally, installing new air filters or hanging an antibacterial filter will also help you get rid of bad odors.

Still smelling? Try spraying a diluted cleaning solution into the ventilation grille.

Use crumpled newspaper

Although it's not a great way to remove odors, newspaper absorbs tobacco odors. Crumple several sheets of newspaper and place them in strategic locations around the cabin. Wait 48 hours for the paper to absorb the odors, then remove and recycle it.

Use an ozone machine

This is really the most important step if you want truly effective results. There's no need to invest an exorbitant amount of money in a huge ozone machine, as you'll find that machines costing under $200.00 are generally more than adequate.  

An ozone generator is a device that produces ozone, a three-atom form of oxygen, to eliminate unpleasant odors. Ozone works by oxidizing odor-causing compounds, turning them into odorless substances. These generators must be used with care, as excessive exposure to ozone can be harmful. So don't stay in the vehicle when you start the ozone generator.

Depending on the strength of the odors, it usually takes no more than 2 hours for them to disappear for good.

After that, you'll be amazed at how little odor you can smell and how disturbing it can be to feel the complete absence of odor.

Place activated charcoal in your car to act as an odor filter.

Ammonia is a very strong and powerful product, so make sure you don't stay in the car while it works to remove bad odors. After removing the canister, open the windows and doors for an hour or two before using the car. Do this every night for a week or two if the ammonia smell hasn't gone away.

Why can't I get the cigarette smell out of my car?

Cigarette odor is one of the most persistent and difficult odors to eliminate. Smoke gets everywhere, Whether in the ventilation system, carpets, seats, plastics, or even seatbelts. Most air fresheners sold to control odors in cars are masking agents, not true neutralizers. To quickly and permanently eliminate a stubborn odor like cigarette smoke, it's important to use a product that contains an odor neutralizer specific to that molecule.

With all these steps, you should be able to get rid of the lingering smell of cold tobacco in your car! We wish you good luck!

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