You’re here because you’re looking to remove the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke from your car? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re planning on selling your vehicle or just want to get rid of that lingering smell of smoke, you don’t have to spend a fortune on professional help.

When dealers take in vehicles of known smokers or start their appraisal and detect the foul smell of smoke, your car’s value may drop a few thousand bucks. Some will even reject your trade-in as every surface permeates cigarette smoking, especially the seats.

The bottom line is that the smell needs to go, so here’s exactly how you get rid of it in 10 easy steps.

How to Get Smoke Smell Out of a Car’s Carpet and Upholstery

smoke smell out of a car

Eliminating the smoke smell from upholstery and carpet requires different tools than leather materials. To get the smoke smell out of your car, gather some baking soda and a vacuum. Then, follow the steps below:

  1. Vacuum the carpet and seats thoroughly. Make sure you go under the seats and in between the cracks as well. You don’t want to miss any old ashes that have been sitting there for years.
  2. Next, sprinkle some baking soda on the upholstery and the carpet, and let it sit for a while. Baking soda has odor neutralizer properties, allowing it to capture repulsive smells.
  3. After the baking soda has settled for a couple of hours, initiate a second round of vacuuming to clean it up. If the smell remains, sprinkle more baking soda to help remove the smell further. As a last resort, you can also put an open box of baking soda in your car overnight to help absorb all of the smell.

Additional Methods of Removing Smoke Smell

removing smoke smell

While baking soda has been proven to work in helping folks easily remove the smoke smell and other displeasing smells from their cars, there are many other ways you can try to keep your vehicle at its best. These include:

  1. Drive your car with the windows down on a clear, breezy day blasting the AC.
  2. Rub your seats and other surfaces with scented dryer sheets.
  3. Put a bowl of coffee grounds in the car to absorb the foul smoke smell.
  4. Boil cinnamon sticks and put them in a mug to cool and cleanse the air in your car.
  5. Have open citrus peels like oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit to purify the smoke smell in your car.

How to Remove the Smoke Smell From Leather and Trim

remove the smoke smell

If your car has leather surfaces, it’s not immune from reeking of cigars and cigarettes. The smell of smoke can also seep into the leather, which often leaves a residue on the surfaces.

  1. To get rid of the smell from leather and trim, opt for a cleaner uniquely formulated for those particular surfaces. For instance, use a cleaning solution specifically made for leather or your car’s dashboard.
  2. Wipe the surfaces many times, as the smell tends to get deep within the surface of leather and trim materials. Multiple cleanings may be required to ensure you’ve fully eliminated the smell and the residue left behind.

Cleaning Other Areas in Your Car That Reek of Smoke

After you’ve cleaned your seats, carpet, and trim, it’s time to move on to other surfaces in your car that may contribute to the foul smell. Wipe your windows clean, the front and back windshield, and change the air filter in your car since the smell of smoke can also linger in the air vents. 

Do I Need a Professional Help to Get Rid Of Smoke Smell From My Car?

get rid of smoke smell from my car

If the smell persists after all of these methods, it may be time to call in the cleaning boys. Professionally cleaning your car can set you back anywhere from $50-$200 for a standard car and up to $80-300 for a van or SUV.

Professional detailing shops have the appropriate substances and equipment to remove the smoke smell, plus the training to get it right the first time. We recommend you try it at home first as most of these methods have been proven to work. If your efforts to get the smell out of your car fail, going to the pros will be worth the time and money – and will maximize the value and appeal of your car to potential buyers.

How Much Does the Smell of Smoke Affect a Car’s Value?

Unfortunately, there is no concrete standard cost cut when it comes to a car that smells like cigarette smoke as there are too many other markers to consider. However, anecdotal evidence shows that cars that reek of smoke will likely see a $1,000 to $4,000 decrease in perceived value, depending on those markers.

Car Hacks

Since you don’t have access to professional tools, we took the liberty to compile a few more hacks to make your life easier when cleaning your car.

  • Use a cup or two of white vinegar in a container and place it near the center of the car and leave it for several hours or overnight to reduce the smell of smoke.
  • If you’re not a regular smoker and only had a few cigarettes or other products since you have had the car, a few newspapers spread throughout the dashboard and seats can help decrease the smoke by sopping up its smell.


Removing smoke smells from your car doesn’t necessarily require professional detailing. With the methods mentioned above, you should be able to get the job done at home with a few inexpensive tools.