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Easy Tricks to Remove The Smell of Smoke From Your Car

a hand resting on a red steering wheel, holding a cigarette.

Don't ruin your driving experience by sitting in a car smelling of smoke.

Cigarette smoke is one of the hardest odors to remove from a car interior, but here's a report on some easy steps to take to get rid of the smell of smoke from your vehicle - wether the smoke comes from a cigarette or something else.

By Guest Author: Jordan Rowley

Sun, Jan 16, 2022 08:43 PM PST

I was debating with my friend, while driving him home, that smoking leads to multiple and fatal health issues. The ironic thing about this debate was that he smoked throughout the trip. It was an uncomfortable driving experience.

Once he left, however, my biggest concern wasn't his health - the smell of smoke was not going away... My car smelled like a cigarette. It was bad.

Causes of Smoke in Car Interior

For those who are struggling with other irritating types of smoke, it's wortht mentioning another type of smoke that can accumulate inside your car. It is created when there is a leak in the heater core through which coolant flows. It results in the air inside the coolant system, which can cause engine overheating and leaking coolant will find its way inside car vents. The further damage will lead to dense white smoke with a mild odor.

As for when you walk or drive by a foul smell, it hits you for a moment but then dissipates once you move away from its source.

The smell of smoke is unpleasant, and it stays in your car forever.

Why is the Smell of Cigarette Smoke so Hard to Get Rid Of?

Cigarette smell is one of the hardest smells to get rid of. But why? Because it penetrates the inner surfaces of the car. It also infiltrates the air ventilation system of your car. People who regularly smoke inside their car pretty much allow smoke ash to settle inside car vents and other interior components. So, the permanent smoke smell comes out of the car interior, which is very uncomfortable and needs to be removed.

On the other hand, leakage of car coolant creates white smoke coming out of air conditioning vents with a mild smell. It happens if the head gasket leaks, radiator hose leaks, or is because of a bad radiator cap. Because of this, we see air in coolant systems and coolant leakage. When the air gets trapped inside the coolant system, it blocks the way for the coolant to reach critical engine components such as the cylinder head. Did you know that it can cause engine overheating and ultimately engine ceasing? The coolant leaks into the car ventilation system and creates dense white smoke inside the car interior.

The smell of cigarette smoke does not go away for a very long time because it gets absorbed by car seats and circulates for years inside the ventilation system. So, whether you smoke or buy a car whose previous owner used to smoke, you will immediately smell the smoking smell.

Coolant Problems

Want to know about the coolant leakage smoke? Here’s more: Air in coolant system symptoms includes damp chemical smoke with a somewhat mild smell. It could be a warning sign for engine overheating so you should take proper actions to solve this problem... It could result from things like:

A blown head gasket
The radiator cap is leaking
The water pump is malfunctioning
An expansion tank is leaking

man holding a cigarette outside his car door, through the window.
A common sight, but it doesn't really keep your car from smelling like a cigarette...

The Solution to Remove The Smell of Smoke From Your Car

It is possible to remove most smells from your car. Depending on the type of smoke smell you have in your car, there are different methods.. Maybe it's fire smoke you've got stuck in your car? If so, you should check out our article on dealing with fire smoke.

Removal of Cigarette Smoke and Smell From Your Car

You'll need a few items:

Vacuum cleaner
Steam cleaner
Surface disinfectant
Odor removed (vinegar, baking soda, citrus peels, etc.)
Interior cleaning spray

Here Are The Steps To Follow:

1. Remove any cigarette residue, ash and other tobacco-related litter.
2. Clean out the ashtray with disinfectant. 
3. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets and floor mats.
4. Properly vacuum the carpet, upholstery and floor mats.
5. Clean properly under seats to remove old ash stuck in crevices.
6. Start the engine and turn the fan at the highest speed on maximum cooling settings. Keep air circulation off. Open every door and blow out the smoke smell.
7. Spray odor remover or neutralizer inside the air intake of your car. It will eliminate the smoke smell in the air vents.
8. Repeat the last two steps but this time turn on the heating system at maximum performance settings to remove the smell from air ducts.
9. After vacuuming and cleaning air ducts, pour white vinegar in a cup and leave it in the car overnight. It is an excellent absorber of cigarette smoke.
10. You can repeat step 9 using citrus peels. Just leave them for a few days inside your car and watch the smell disappear.

Obviously, first make sure that your car interior can handle the methods and chemicals mentioned in this article. Consult an automobile specialist for advanced issues.

About The Author

Jordan Rowley

Guest Contributor

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