How To Remove The Smoke Smell From A Car

White Lotus Interior

Whether you’ve kicked the habit or purchased a used car from a smoker, the smell of cigarette smoke can be tough to deal with. Fortunately, there are three steps you can take to remove the stench. Removing the smoke smell from your car isn’t a light task, and may require professional assistance depending on how extreme the odor is. But if you have the time and are looking to tackle the issue by hand, here’s what you’ve got to do…


When a car smells profusely of smoke, chances are every inch of the car has been exposed. You should start the process by shampooing the various surfaces of your vehicle—seats, carpet, headliner, etc. Depending on how severe the odor is, you might need a hot water extractor. You may be able to find a local shop (ie. Home Depot) to rent one from, however shampooing your car’s interior is often best left to the professionals. After shampooing, you’ll want to let the interior dry completely to avoid the growth of mold or mildew.

OZONE Treatment

Once you’ve shampooed and dried, the interior should look great. Problem is, the odor still lies in the ventilation of the car. An “OZONE treatment” will do the trick and cleanse the air throughout the entire car. The OZONE machine works to reduce and remove airborne bacteria, leaving the air fresh and clean.

Odor Eliminator

An odor eliminator spray can be used to tackle remaining odors. Simply spray the odor eliminator directly onto the affected surface (ie. the headliner). While the product wont be able to remove odors from beneath the carpet (that’s what shampooing is for), it will be able to effectively remove those molecules that are only on the surface.

While most professional detailers have packages to completely revive the interior of your new or used car, you can do this at home with the right equipment. The whole process, to be done right, can take in excess of 2 or 3 days depending on how bad the smell of smoke is. As always, if you have questions along the way, we’re here to help in the comments!

  • Joe

    Nice read. Thanks for sharing!

  • Joe

    You should check out our auto detailing blog at www. autodetailingblog.thesocalway .com