Cigarette or cigar smoke is among the biggest complaints for car owners. It seems once the smell is present, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of. The reason smoke is such a problem odor in cars is because it absorbs into upholstery and seeps into areas that are difficult to clean. Think it’s hopeless and you’ll just have to live with that stale stench forever (or at least until you decide to sell or trade your car)? Think again. Here are some nifty little tricks you can try that just might banish that tough odor once and for all.
First, gather your materials. Getting rid of a smoke smell takes a lot of work and a lot of equipment, so the first step is pulling together everything you need. This includes vinegar, baking soda or charcoal, deodorizer, towels or rags, a heavy duty brush and a vacuum cleaner. Once you’ve gathered all of these items, prep your vehicle by removing all of the contents from the interior.
Open all of the doors of the vehicle and vacuum the entire interior thoroughly, including not just the seats and floors, but also all those tiny crooks and crevices where dirt and grime can lurk. The debris in these areas can hold odors, perpetuating the problem of stale smoke smell in your car. Use the towels or rags to wipe down the doors and other hard surfaces within the car to remove any lingering dust and dirt. For really stubborn odors, you may need to brush your carpets to lift up additional debris and re-vacuum to remove. You may even want to shampoo your carpets.
If the smell is still lingering, sodium bicarbonate – otherwise known as baking soda – may do the trick. Simply sprinkle the white powder on all cloth surfaces, including seats and carpets. Allow the product to sit for at least 4-5 hours before vacuuming it up. This is very effective because baking soda is a natural odor neutralizer. If the ashtrays of your vehicle were used to hold old cigarettes and ashes, wash them thoroughly and apply baking soda there as well.
If you don’t have access to baking soda or would prefer not to use this product, activated charcoal is also another natural way to absorb and neutralize odor. Grab a small bag of charcoal and leave it open in your car for several days. Charcoal briquettes can be found at most stores where household goods are sold.
In many cases, the odor of smoke can invade areas that cannot be easily reached for a thorough cleaning, such as the air conditioning and/or heating vents. To deodorize these areas, park the vehicle someplace where it’s safe to open the hood and leave it running. Turn the air on full blast and set it to the “fresh air” setting. Allow the air to pump through for several minutes. To really get rid of the smell, locate the air intake vent (found in the engine compartment) and spray a deodorizer directly to that area.
If you’ve tried all of these things and still can’t seem to kick the smell of stale smoke, it’s time to bring in the big guns. Your local Nashville carwash professional should be able to thoroughly clean and detail the interior of your vehicle and get it smelling fresh again. In many cases, this is necessary to completely eliminate the odor, especially if your upholstery is leather. That way when it comes time to sell or trade your vehicle, the value won’t be tainted by the smell of old smoke.
If you enjoyed article, please share and comment on any of Wash N’ Roll Car Wash’s offered social media profiles.