Do you allow people to light cigarettes in your vehicle? If the answer is yes, the chances are that your car reeks of smoke. It doesn’t matter if you are a smoker or not, but the smell you feel once you enter your vehicle can be extremely bothersome. It is hard to get rid of that odor, especially if it has been there for a while, but we have some hacks that may help you!

White Vinegar

There is a chance you know about this method as a lot of people use it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is pretty efficient. You probably have a cup holder in your vehicle, so make sure to add some white vinegar to a cup and place it there. Feel free to leave it for several hours or overnight for optimal results. In the morning, there is a good chance that the odor will become less strong and more bearable than before.

smell smoke in the car

Dryer Sheets

The problem with cloth seats is that they absorb the smoke and can smell of it long after you are done with your cigarette. As soon as you stop and the person who smoked leaves the car, use dryer sheets to wipe the seats. You will instantly feel that your cabin smells better and fresher than a couple of minutes ago. This is something that can be useful on a regular basis, which means that you should make sure always to have a pack of sheets beneath your seats.

Coffee Grounds

The reason why you are using coffee grounds is that they are the dominant smell when compared to smoke. The process is similar as with vinegar – put some grounds in a cup and put it into the holder for several hours or during the night. Don’t forget to close your windows or you might be risking the entire garage smelling of coffee. When you open the door of your car, you will feel the smell of coffee, which is a lot more pleasant than smoke, especially for passionate coffee drinkers.


This is a method that won’t mask the smell of smoke, but it can help you take away some of the odor. Do not think that one or two briquettes will be enough because you will need an entire bag of coal. You can place it in the backseat and give it a night or two to work its magic. Charcoal has the power of absorbing the smoke odor, and that won’t affect its primary purpose, which means that you can still use it for grilling some beautiful burgers.

Citrus Fruit

You probably used a citrus scent at least once in your life. In this case, we are talking about actual citrus peels that may remain behind you after consuming the fruit. While you are eating oranges or grapes, make sure to put all the peels in the same cup and then take it to your car. Not only these peels can absorb some of the smoke odor, but they will also substitute it with that citrus scent that you (probably) love.


Love the smell of cinnamon? A lot of people do, and this is why this is their favorite hack to remove the smoke odor from a vehicle. The process is a bit more complicated than the previous steps as it requires you to put cinnamon in a small pot with water and boil it. Use a travel mug to transport the boiled cinnamon-water mixture to your car. Make sure that the windows are shut and let the ingredient blend work. You should keep it in your car until the water cools down to the standard room temperature.

smoking cigarette inside of a car

Cat Litter

Are you a fan of cats and you have one or more of them in your home? If the answer is yes, there is a way your kitties may help you with the smoke smell in your car. This one is a true fun fact – cat litter can absorb the smell of smoke! If you do not believe, we invite you to try it. Ask your kitties for some litter that they have to spare and place it in a bowl. Put that bowl into the back of your car, close your windows and come back in an hour or two to witness how the odor has considerably decreased. Do you want another fun fact about kitty litter? If you place it in your car, your windows will remain fog-free!


These may not be as effective with long-term smoking, but they can help absorb the smell of a couple recently smoked cigars in your car. In other words, if you were taking your partner home after the trip to the movies and you didn’t have the heart to tell them that smoking is not allowed in your vehicle, you can call newspapers to the rescue. Leaving them overnight will ensure that there is no smoke odor in the morning.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can also be helpful if you are looking for ways to get rid of the smoke odor. However, before using it, make sure that the floor and the seats of your vehicle are not wet. In fact, you want them to be completely dry. Next, sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and the upholstery of your car. Give it several minutes to work its magic and, in the meantime, get the vacuum. After a while, make sure to vacuum the baking soda so that your vehicle remains clean.

Hydrogen Peroxide

You might have used hydrogen peroxide to remove various odors from the upholstery in your home. If that was effective, there is no reason why the same method wouldn’t work from your car. We suggest grabbing a spraying bottle and mixing hydrogen peroxide (3%) with distilled white vinegar. Apply this mixture to your fabric and allow it enough time to dry.

Nothing Can Replace Thorough Cleaning

The hacks mentioned above can be extremely helpful in getting rid of the smoke odor, but there is no substitute for thorough cleaning of your car. This is why we will explain how to perform vehicle cleaning in a way that focuses on dealing with the cigarette smell. The first thing you want to do is to ensure that you park your car in a location that is well-ventilated. Your driveway is the perfect spot, although a parking lot will also do. We suggest steering clear of a small and tight garage.

smoking in the car

First, roll down your windows and keep them like that during the cleaning process. Opened windows along with proper ventilation will remove a small portion of the smell themselves. Now, throw out those cigarette butts that have been in the car ashtray for days. While you are doing that, why not throw away the other litter as well?

The next step is to take your vacuum and focus on thoroughly cleaning the interiors. Make sure that you have enough time and patience because you do not want to miss a cigarette but that fell on the carpet and other debris and dirt that needs to be vacuumed. We suggest taking out floor mats and carpets and allowing them to air out in the open for a while. You might have specific agents that you use on leather seats or any other type of upholstery you may have. If it is your first time using the agent, make sure to read the instructions and confirm that you can use it on the interior surface. You can also try using white vinegar combined with water as it is known to be a natural cleaner for all types of surfaces. Make sure to wipe out everything, including the dashboard and the steering wheel as them and the upholstery, are probably critical sources of smell.

You should also ensure to ventilate the duct system by turning the engine on and setting the full fan and lowest air conditioner temperature settings. Make sure that windows are down and that you turned off air recirculation to secure the conditions needed for blowing out the smell. In the meantime, look for the location of the air intake and spray a neutralizer directly into the system. Next, change the settings to maximum heat and spray the neutralizer directly into the system again. This is the best way to ensure that you removed as much of the smell as possible from the air condition vents and interior ducts.

The bad news is that sometimes you cannot remove the smoke odor from your car completely. It might have been there for years, and there is nothing you can do about it now. In fact, the only solution is to replace your car mats and carpets, as well as the upholstery. While you are doing that, make sure that you also replace the air filtration system. And once you are done with all that, the only reasonable thing to do is to put the “no smoking” sign inside your vehicle so that everyone would know that lighting a cigarette is not allowed.


  1. 8 Easy Ways to Remove Cigarette Smoke Smells from Your Car, Wonder How To
  2. Removing Cigarette and Smoke Smells From Cars, Lifewire