Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Get smoke smell out of your car

How to get smoke smell out of your car

Get the smoke smell out of your car with the right procedure and products, it is possible. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you freshen up your vehicle.

The smoke smell is in your carpet, upholstery, headliner, dash, and vents

There’s no single way to get rid of cigarette smoke smell in your car; you have to treat the carpet, upholstery and vents individually. Here’s how to do that.

Start by cleaning the smoke smell from your car upholstery and the headliner

Rent an upholstery shampooer and purchase a bottle of OdorBan odor neutralizer to add to

odor ban smell neutralizer

OdorBan smell neutralizer

the shampoo. Start with the headliner, making sure you don’t spray too much water/shampoo/odor killer on the headliner.

Next, shampoo the seats and fabric on the door trim panels. Don’t forget the visors and package shelf in the back seat if you have a sedan or coup. Finish by shampooing the carpet.

Take the car for a spin with all the windows open to dry out the upholstery, carpet and headliner.

Clean the dash, windows, and all plastic components

Dilute any aerosol spray cleaner with OdorBan odor neutralizer and clean all the plastic and glass surfaces

Next get smoke smell from your car ventilation system

It’s a two-step process

1) Inject a cleaner into the heater box to neutralize the cigarette smell deposits on the AC evaporator and heater core (sell below).
2) Spray a cigarette smoke smell eliminator into the recirculation vent to spread it throughout the entire vent system

Clean the heater box with an cigarette smoke smell killer

Kool-It is designed to get rid of mold and mildew from the AC evaporator, but it does a really nice job of washing off any smoke deposits from the inside of the heater box. To use it, locate the drain tube from the heater box. It’s usually on the passenger side of the heater box. Disconnect it form the heater box.

Next, insert the tubing from the can of Kool-IT and inject the entire can into the heater box. When done, reconnect the drain tube. The solution will foam up, kill all mold and mildew and wash the inside of the heater box. The foam then turns back into a liquid and drains out onto the ground.

cigarette smoke smell eliminator products

Cigarette smoke smell eliminator

Drive the vehicle with the blower on high to dry out the heater box.

Spray an odor killing spray into the recirculating vent

Purchase one of the odor killing sprays listed below. Locate the recirculating vent inside the cabin. Set your HVAC controls to recirculate and check under the dash on the passenger side. Hold a tissue around the vents until you find an opening that sucks the tissue towards the vent. That’s the intake for the recirculating feature.

Don a respirator mask and then spray the entire can of cleaner into the vent as you move the HVAC mode control to each outlet position (defrost, floor, dash). The aerosol will kill the smell in all the vents.

Diagram of heater box showing where to spray smoke smell remover

Take the car for a spin with all the windows open the blower set on high to dry out the venting system.

If the cigarette smoke smell persists

Sprinkle baking soda into the carpets and on the upholstery. Vacuum it out later

Place bags of activated charcoal in the vehicle to absorb the cigarette smoke smell

In extreme cases, rent an ozone generator and let it run in your car

©, 2023 Rick Muscoplat


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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