Getting rid of the smell of cigarette smoke in a car can be challenging, but not impossible. The smell of stale cigarette smoke in a car can be overpowering. Of course the best way to avoid smoke smell is to never allow anyone to smoke in your car, but sometimes you inherit the odor when you first buy a used car or if a smoker gave it to you. To be successful at eliminating smoke odor you have do some heavy duty cleaning.
Pour white vinegar into a spray bottle and grab a roll of paper towels.
Spray down the doors, windows, windshield, dashboard, back window deck and any other hard surfaces with white vinegar.
Wipe the surfaces with you paper towels, continue to spray and wipe until the paper towel does not have any of the brownish residue. The brownish residue is from the nicotine in the cigarettes and is the leading cause of smoke odor.
Wipe leather seats down with white vinegar until all of the nicotine has been removed. Spray the white vinegar onto the paper towels and wipe, don't spray the seats because the vinegar will run down into the seat and can cause damage to power seats.
Wipe down the headliner with white vinegar if it is a vinyl material. If the headliner is made of fabric, use a sponge with a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Dip the sponge in and wring it out, wipe the fabric. Always test an area for colorfastness.
For cloth seats and carpet:
Pour baking soda into a medium sized glass jar.
Add a few drops of your favorite scent of essential oil. Essential oils are available at health food stores, natural pharmacies and online. Adding essential oil is not required, but will help. Good choices for smoke eliminators are Lavender, Lemon or Orange Essential Oils.
Cap the jar and shake to thoroughly mix the essential oil in with the baking soda.
Generously sprinkle the carpets and seats with the scented baking soda.
Rinse off a few charcoal briquettes, dry them and place them under the car seats. Charcoal is a great odor absorber.
Close up your car and allow it to sit over night.
In the morning, vacuum up all of the baking soda from the seats and carpets.
Throw away the charcoal briquettes.
Open the car windows and allow the vinegar smell to air out for at least 2 to 3 hours.
Spray cloth seats and carpets with Febreze. Febreze works to eliminate odors, not just cover them up.
If there is any cigarette smoke odor remaining which there probably won't be, leave a few charcoal briquettes under the seats of the car for a few days.
The smell of the vinegar will quickly dissipate. Don't worry you won't be trading one bad odor for another.