17 Tips to Get Smoke Smell Out of the Car

Whether you are a smoker or not, you don’t want to tolerate a horrifying odor in your vehicle for sure. Like most of us, you probably worry about how to get smoke smell out of the car. Basically, it is not too complicated to remove it effectively if you know the best methods.

It’s up to you to use chemicals or natural cleaners, but you should always begin with emptying the ashtray to eliminate the source of the unpleasant smell. After cleaning, put an odor-absorbing product inside the car due to the prolonged effect and deodorizers to keep the air fresh. Let’s see.

How to Start Getting Smoke Smell Out of the Car

1. Clean out the ashtray

Clean out the ashtray

The first thing you should do is to clean the built-in ashtray in your car. Wash it thoroughly, let it sit in the air for 24 hours, and then rub the inside with an air freshener and absorbent kitchen paper.

That way, a thin layer of the air freshener will stay in the ashtray and prevent a horrible odor from producing in the future. Don’t worry, that coating is thin, and it won’t catch fire.

It is an excellent idea to purchase a smoke diffuser and hang a car freshener somewhere in a cabin. They will provide a pleasant scent together and neutralize the bad odor of cigarettes.

2. Vacuum cleaner and carpet cleaner

Vacuum cleaner and carpet cleaner

The next step is to get a vacuum cleaner and a fragrant carpet cleaner to do rough cleaning of dirt. Vacuum all the seats and floors, and wash your mats afterward. That way, you will get rid of the remaining ash and small particles cloaked by smoke, which will help in removing the smell itself.

3. Re-circulate car heater and air-conditioning system

Re-circulate car heater and air-conditioning system

Let the car heater and air-conditioning system re-circulate for at least half an hour. You can do it while cleaning the car. That way, the fresh air will improve the quality of the air in the cabin. Also, don’t forget to replace the air filters once a year or after 12,000 to 15,000 miles (19,300–24,100 km).

How to Get Smoke Smell Out of the Car with Natural Cleaners

4. Baking soda

 Baking soda

Baking soda is one of the best natural deodorants you can find on the market. It is cheap but highly efficient, especially if you have a car with cloth seats and fabric interior.

If you use it to remove smoke smells, you should purchase a packet of 1 pound (0.45 kg). Sprinkle the powder over the surface of the seats, mats, and even roof by using a dust cleaner, brush, cloth, or your own hands.

After at least half an hour, you can vacuum the remaining baking soda and enjoy the fresh air inside your car. If the smell is too heavy, you can let it sit for a day before vacuuming.

5. White vinegar

White vinegar

Mix 2 ounces (60 ml) of white vinegar with 16 ounces (0.5 l) of water and wipe the interior of the car. When cleaning the glass, it is a better option to use a spray bottle. After the surfaces dry, the vinegar smell will wear off quickly.

If you refresh the air on regular bases, it will be enough to put a cup filled with this solution and let it stay in a handy dandy cup holder overnight.

6. Cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon sticks

I adore the scent of cinnamon sticks, and highly recommend this option for getting rid of bad smell from your car. Boil these sticks in water and pour it into a cup. Keep it inside the cabin until the water cools a bit. It is an ideal solution for the winter season. If you turn on a heater for 20 to 30 minutes, you will get an even better effect.

7. Citrus peels

Citrus peels

It is a comfortable option to eat citrus fruits and use their peels to refresh the air in your car. Depending on your preferences, you can use peels of lemons, grapefruit, or oranges. If you keep them in a cup, they will soak up the smoke smell and provide fresh scent for hours.

8. Roasted coffee beans

Roasted coffee beans

Put 8 ounces (227 g) of roasted coffee beans on each of several paper plates and let it sits inside your car for a day. If you are not a fan of coffee, you can keep the windows down about 0,12 inches (3 mm). After a day, remove all the plates and enjoy the fresh air.

9. Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds

Put a cup with coffee grounds inside your car for a few hours. Take care that all the windows are closed, and the smoke smell will disappear entirely.

10. Crumpled up newspaper

Crumpled up newspaper

The newspapers are an odor absorbent, but it is doubtable if they can remove lousy smoke smell from the car. If you like easy solutions, you can try. Crumple up old newspapers and place them throughout the cabin of your vehicle.

Remove them after 48 hours and check for the result. You can increase the effect by adding baking soda or roasted coffee beans between paper sheets.

11. Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal placed inside the cabin will act as a filter. Put it into the cup, and wait for 24 to 48 hours to let the charcoal absorbs the bad smell. Some users believe that it is a better option than baking soda.

12. Ammonia


Leave the cup with a small amount of ammonia in the cabin overnight. Since it is very harsh, you will need to keep the doors of the car open for at least an hour in the morning to get rid of that smell. However, you will be satisfied with the result.

13. Cat litter

Cat litter

If you have a cat, you can use a little bit of its litter to absorb the bad odor from your car. Pour it in a bowl and let it sit in a cabin for a few hours.

You will get three benefits by using this method. Litter will soak up the smoke, keep your windows from fogging up, and you will save some money because you can reuse that litter for your kitty.

How to Get Smoke Smell Out of the Car with Chemicals

14. Fabric and upholstery cleaner

Fabric and upholstery cleaner

It is a cleaner you can use in both your household and a car. Besides your vehicle will be clean, this antibacterial chemical will finish an excellent job of neutralizing bad odors.

Spray it on seats, seat belts, and mats, and spread it with a soft-bristled brush. Keep in mind that the result will be better if you remove mats and even seats and clean all hard-to-reach areas.

15. Pet odor eliminator

Pet odor eliminator

In fact, it is not a bad idea at all. You can use one of the pet odor eliminators available on the market. Since they are effective against smells, urine, and stains, you can expect them to work wonders in removing the smoke odor, as well.

Other Options to Get Smoke Smell Out of the Car

16. Ozone generator

Ozone generator

Using an ozone generator is a highly efficient method for removing smoke smell from your car after it has been cleaned. The best of all is that this device removes a bad odor entirely instead of masking it.

17. Professional cleaning

 Professional cleaning

It is probably the most comfortable option to remove all lousy smoke odors from your car for not too much money. All in all, you will get a clean and scented vehicle without any effort. Go for it!