If you have a bothersome smoke smell in your car, it may be because of a previous owner. You can get it out by cleaning your car’s interior surfaces, using natural or chemical odor neutralizers, and replacing parts if necessary. Getting rid of smoky and other undesirable smells can support the health and comfort of you and your passengers. It’s also important if you plan on selling the car. We’ve created this guide to help you learn all about how to get smoke smell out of the car.
What Is Smoke Smell In the Car?
One of the most common causes of smoke smell in cars is from cigarette or other smoking of a previous or current owner. The smoke can penetrate cloth, hard surfaces, and even the air system of the car and the smell can linger over time. However, if you smell burning in your car, pull over and get out immediately, put a distance between yourself and the vehicle, and take caution until you can identify the source. It may be a broken car part, but it’s important to practice safety because there’s a chance it’s a fire.
Here are the benefits of removing a smoke smell from your vehicle:
Health and safety â€” Removing smoke particles can support the health and safety of you and passengers, ensuring everyone in your vehicle can breathe clean air.Comfort â€” Making sure your car’s smell is pleasant can help you offer a better experience for guests and provide for both your and their comfort.Protection of the vehicle’s interior â€” As smoke particles can damage a car’s interior, it’s important you remove them and prevent them from affecting surfaces in the future.
Chemical deodorizers and foggers are one option for reducing smoke or other negative smells in your car. These can help you clean both hard and soft surfaces, and may be more potent and effective than natural remedies. Make sure these are safe on your car’s materials, especially if you have sensitive surfaces like leather. There are also some aerosol products that allow you to clean out your car’s air conditioning system.
One of the most common reasons for a smoke smell is an old air conditioning system. Replacing the air filters in your car is good practice in general, especially if you’re smelling an unpleasant odor. You can also replace your car’s ashtray, if it has one. The smoke smell may be due to faulty electrical wiring in an interior or exterior car part.
How To Get Smoke Smell Out of the Car
Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.
Air Your Car Out
Airing your car out is simply leaving your car’s window’s open on a dry, breezy day. You can also drive around with the windows open to increase wind and air circulation throughout your car. This is a good preliminary step to take and can help you determine the extent and strength of the smoke smell.
Vacuum or Wipe Down Surfaces
If you have cloth upholstery and carpet, vacuum and clean all your surfaces to remove any ash or smoke particles. Make sure to do so thoroughly, including under the seats and between any crevices. If you have leather and trim surfaces, use a special, non-abrasive cleaner to avoid damaging them. Try the cleaner on a small part of the leather to ensure it’s safe before cleaning your whole vehicle and let surfaces air dry, repeating if necessary. Clean your dashboard, windows, and other surfaces to remove smoke film.
Check the Ash Tray
Many cars have a built-in ashtray. If this is the case in your vehicle, remove it, wash it out, and let it air dry for 24 hours. This can help lessen the smoke smell in your car.
Leave Items Inside to Filter the Air
There are certain items you can place inside your vehicle to freshen the air, including:
Baking soda Sprinkle baking soda on seats and floors as an odor neutralizer. Vacuum or wipe it up after a few hours. You can even leave an open box of baking soda overnight to absorb the smell.Dyer sheets Consider wiping your seats and surfaces with dryer sheets, which can help hide strong smells. Coffee grounds Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which can help neutralize air-borne odors quickly and safely. As a more natural alternative to baking soda, leave a bowl of coffee grounds in your car overnight to absorb the smell.Citrus peels Citrus peels are a great option to have a fresh fragrance in your car. Keep open peels of citrus like lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruit in your car, and simmer them in water beforehand to give the sweet smell an extra boost.