If you are selling aRemove Smoke Smell From CarCredit: morguefile.com car and you want to get top dollar then make sure you remove smoke smell from the car before letting anyone inside it.

Even if you never smoked in the car yourself, but you allowed your passengers to smoke, it doesn’t take long before it gets right into the fabrics, carpets and ceiling fabric of the car, especially if the windows were not wide open at the time and they were in the back seat. 

Non-smokers will pick up on this stale smoke odor right away and this can make the difference between a sale and them walking away or offering you low dollar.

Have you ever gone into a smoker’s house?  No matter how much air freshener they use or other masking sprays you just can’t hide it.  Well it is the same with a car.  No matter how many times you shampoo the seats and the carpet and clean the windows, it smells nice for the moment, then you open the door the next morning and its back again!

Those little pine tree air fresheners simply add to the smell and then it looks like you are trying to hide something!

That is because it gets right into the seats, it doesn’t just sit on top where your cleaners do their work and chemicals just add to the odour and sensitive buyers will pick up on the masking job.Remove Smoke Smell From Car(130421)Credit: morguefile.com

So, if you want to get top dollar for that car of yours, or simply want your “car to be free of any odours” then try these 5 tips. 

Make sure you clean under the seats and find any offending odor causing substances and remove them first.  Give the car a good clean and then follow the tips below to get remove smoke smells.

My family used to detail cars for a car lot for extra money and we picked up a few tips over the years that work better than commercial products (in our opinion!) and simply leave the car smelling fresh.

1. Charcoal Bricks Help To Remove Smoke Smell - This is the Best Way!

If you have a bag of charcoal for your old barbeque (the old fashioned type not the bricks for gas grills) then simply fill a large open bowl such as a salad bowl size and sit the bowl on the back seat and if it is really bad, another one on the front seat.

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Leave the car closed up for 24 hours, then remove them, you should notice any smell gone from the car as charcoal absorbs odours of all kinds.

Make sure you don’t accidently dump the bowls of charcoal as it will leave black dust on your seats!  Pour the charcoal into a bowl outside of the car as there will be messy black dust.

2. Fresh Coffee Grounds (Not Used Grounds!!)

IfRemove Smoke Smell From Car(130423)Credit: morguefile.com you don’t have any charcoal around, then the next best thing is coffee.  Nothing nicer than the aroma of fresh ground coffee and the best part about coffee is that it will absorb odors too!

Use your best ground coffee.  You will have to waste some for this effort, but your car will thank you for it, and hopefully your wallet when you sell it.

Pour fresh ground coffee into 2 cereal sized bowls and put one of them on the floor in the back and one on the floor in the front.  Leave the car for 24 hours with all windows closed.  Then remove the coffee bowls and your car will smell like you just brewed Starbucks!

3. How To Remove Smoke Smell From Car with White Vinegar

Now if you don’t have any charcoal, or don’t want to waste any of your best coffee grounds, then consider white vinegar.

This is a bit messier if you are not careful but worth it.  Pour four small bowls of white vinegar and place them on the floor in the back and 2 on the front floors.  Make sure you don’t spill any, although a few drops won’t hurt!

Leave the car shut for 24 hours at least if not more, and don’t forget to remove the bowls before you head out or show your car!  Vinegar will also remove spilled milk odours, vomit odours and especially pet odours, so this is the cheapest way to remove smoke smell.

You can get a big jug of white vinegar for quite cheap at the grocery store.  Make sure it is the white vinegar, it works the best. 

4. Absorbent Cat Litter

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If you don’t have any of the above items, such as charcoal bricks, fresh coffee grounds, or white vinegar, but you have a cat.

Then take a couple of open clean trays such as foil roasting pans, and fill with odour absorbing kitty litter and leave for 24 hours with the windows closed, then remove.  Litter has odor absorbing qualities that work.

5. Newspapers Remove Cigarette Smell

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If you find you simply don’t have any of the above items, then use black and white newspapers. (Not the colour comics!)

Newsprint has odor absorbing qualities but you need a lot more of it.  So grab your latest editions and take each page and crumple it up and put a few crumpled pages under the seats and simply leave them there for as long as you can.

Each time you open the car you will find that the smoke smell has been neutralized by the newsprint paper. 

How to Remove Smoke Smell From Car?

Start with the obvious, clean the ash trays, and look for stray butts.  We used to find these offending little butts that had fallen out the back of the ashtray so take the ashtray out and really look behind it and under the seats.  Also check the cigarette lighter, as it can hold really bitter smoke smells.


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All it takes is some cigarette ash here and there and the smoke odor will stay in the car.  We used to find all kinds of nasty things under the seats of the cars, even in the cleanest looking cars that would fester and cause odours, especially old cigarette packages and foil wrappers, and butts from the backseat smokers.

So play CSI and really look in every nook and corner of the car for offenders and get rid of them, clean the car well, especially the car mats.  These can be hosed down and dried outside.  They will hold all kinds of nasty odours.

You car will be so squeaky clean you may not want to sell it!