The smell of cigarette smoke in a car is unmistakable; whether you love it or hate it, it is instantly recognisable when you get into a smoker’s car. Cigarette smoke literally gets everywhere; it penetrates fabrics and clings to hard surfaces to form a pretty nasty brown film that retains the nicotine scent. The chances are if you enjoy a cigarette while driving, you’ve probably become used to the smell of it and don’t really notice it anymore. However, the lingering smell after the cigarette is long gone can be highly offensive to your non-smoking passengers and even pets!
Does Cigarette Smoke Reduce A Cars Value?
Not officially, but it can harm your cars resale opportunities and most dealers will factor any apparent nicotine staining into their valuation of a car. Many second-hand cars come equipped with the odour of stale cigarette smoke and for a non-smoker, this can often be an influencing factor on whether to buy a car or not. In a private sale, it can be difficult for a non-smoker to know if they can ever really remove the smell of smoke from a car. If you are considering buying a secondhand car from a dealer and it reeks of nicotine, alarm bells should immediately start ringing in your head. Presuming the car has already undergone a deep clean by the dealer, if it still smells then you can guarantee the car will have a permanent nicotine aroma unless action is taken.
Dot Cotton. Mean tabber and total legend
How To Get Cigarette Smells Out Of A Car
Fear not! It is possible to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke in a car and for light smells, there are some really effective natural methods which we outline below. However, if the past custodian of your car smoked like Dot Cotton, or you can’t bear your car smelling like vinegar, coffee or an onion, then go straight to using chemical solutions to banish the nicotine smell once and for all. Assess the severity of the smell and staining (if any) to determine what option will suit you best.
Cigarette fumes penetrate upholstered items and form a thin, tarry film coating on the hard surfaces in your car. This film is often invisible to the eye but can be identified as a brownish stain in a heavier smokers vehicle. You’ll need to thoroughly clean all areas in the interior of the vehicle to clear this film and banish the smell of cigarette smoke once and for all.
- Empty and clean out any ashtrays (obviously!)
Remove all car seat covers and car mats from the car
Thoroughly vacuum all areas of the vehicle.
Fully clean all parts of the interior - windows, plastics, fabrics and fully wash or replace your seat covers & car mats.
The Best Products For Removing Cigarette Stains and Smells
Nextzett Nicotine Remover & Odour Eliminator
Nextzett Nicotine Remover is great because it gets to work safely on almost any surface (make sure to test on a small area first). Spray this everywhere in your car - the carpets, seats, windows, dashboard, and even the roof - to absorb nicotine smells and safely dissolve grease and nicotine film. Allow it to work for a max of 3 minutes, then wipe clean with a damp cleaning cloth. Use a wet & dry vacuum to suck up any leftover residue.
Autoglym Interior Shampoo
Autoglym Interior Shampoo is suitable for all fabric surfaces and dashboard surfaces, and it is great as an all-round cleaner to help absorb foul smells from fabrics, clean gunk from dashboard surfaces, and get the interior looking spic and span again.
Simoniz Upholstery Cleaner with Brush
The Simoniz Upholstery & Carpet Cleaner is a highly effective spot cleaner and is great for upholstered areas with particularly bad staining. Comes with a brush attached to the top for working the formula into very dried in or stubborn stains. Great at tackling a particularly stained area.
Concept 3C Universal Cleaner
For particularly badly stained fabrics and plastics where time is of the essence, use this to rapidly dissolve nicotine stains. Concept 3C Universal Cleaner is a fantastic all-round cleaner for vehicle interiors but it can be a little pricier than the other items. It is favoured by trade users for its highly effective results that are achieved in a relatively short space of time.
Autoglym Odour Eliminator
The perfect finishing touch - use Autoglym Odour Eliminator to add the final layer of attack to nicotine smells. Unlike a regular air freshener that just masks a smell, this solution actually destroys smells by breaking them down and neutralises them.
Holts Air Con Bomb
A great product that's well worth trying if you're not a big fan of manual labour is the Holts Aircon Bomb. This is an aerosol that you place in the foot-well with the engine running and the fans on full blast. You press the trigger, close the car door and let the entire contents of the can dispense. The active odour neutralisers circulate around the entire ventilation system, soak into the seats, carpets and headlining and it's really effective.
Nextzett Klima Air Conditioning Cleaner
Nextzett Klima Air Conditioning Cleaner is an Aircon Matrix cleaner which comes with a long hose which you pop down the air vents in your car and then dispense. It cleans the Aircon matrix and all the pipework where dust and bacteria build-up. Result - non-smoke stinky Aircon!
One notable mention is Air Fresheners. Air fresheners won't get rid of the smell, they will just mask it, but until the smell is gone you may well want to mask it! There's no better air freshener for the job than our very own range of MickAir Air Fresheners, which come in Lemon, New Car and Bubblegum scents.
Don't like chemicals? Read on, we've got you covered!
For decades, truck drivers have used ground coffee to get rid of strong odours in their trailers, and others have discovered that it works like magic to get rid of cigarette odour in vehicles. Get yourself a shallow open bowl or two and fill them with ground aromatic coffee. Place the bowls in the car foot-wells and on the seats with the windows and doors closed. Allow the coffee to absorb the smell of cigarette smoke in the car for at least 48 hours. We shouldn't have to point this out but it's not a good idea to drive with these open bowls of coffee in situ. If the odour is not completely gone after 48 hours.......leave it a bit longer! Alternatively, you could fill up a couple of old tights with the coffee and stash it around the car and drive on! After a while, the smell of cigarette smoke will dissipate and In the meantime, your friends will be impressed by the luxurious and robust coffee aroma wafting from your car (and probably you)
Ordinary charcoal is a fantastic odour absorber, and placing charcoal or charcoal briquettes in a car is a great way to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke. Place a large bowl of charcoal on the car seat, and allow the car to remain closed for at least 48 hours. The charcoal should absorb the scent of cigarette smoke, and the vehicle should smell fresh and clean (again, we shouldn't have to point this out...but you don't light the charcoal)
White vinegar is also a fantastic natural product to get rid of odours, and although it can be messier, it is very effective. Er, your car will smell of vinegar instead of cigarettes, but only for a short while! Pour about 200ml of ordinary white vinegar into the bottom of a deep bowl or clean bucket, and put it in the foot-well of the car. Allow it to remain undisturbed for at least 2 full days. The car should smell significantly better, and the scent of cigarette smoke should be all but gone.
Newsprint also works well to get rid of the smell of cigarette smoke in a car. Roll up a few ordinary black and white newspapers, and place them under the passenger seats. They will continue to work to absorb odours, and within a few days the car should start to smell a lot better. Periodically change the newspapers and they will continue to keep the car smelling fresh and clean
Similar to when you paint a room, slice up an onion and leave it in a small bowl in the car. Although the car will obviously smell like an onion at the start, the vegetable will absorb surrounding odours and lose its own smell. When you remove it the next day, the air should be fresh and odour-free
There are plenty of other products that will help, all of which will require a bit of elbow grease to apply. Simoniz, Autoglym, Concept and Nextzett all have extensive ranges of products for cleaning and conditioning your cars' fabrics, seats and carpets. Got any advice you'd like to share with us? Then get in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org