This article may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This helps to cover our costs and keep this site going. Thanks!
That thick stench of cigarette smoke really sticks to everything, doesn’t it? But what really stinks is that commercial deodorizers can be as nasty as the smoke itself.
Gel air fresheners and deodorizing sprays emit harmful chemicals into the air and that can be especially dangerous in a small, enclosed space such as a car. Plus, these deodorizers only mask odors for a short time, so the smell just keeps coming back.
As it turns out, natural deodorizers aren’t just safer, they actually work better than the chemical stuff. Your natural options include distilled white vinegar, baking soda, activated charcoal, and volcanic rock. these all-natural solutions won’t just handle the smoke, they’ll also help to get rid of any lingering food and gym bag smells.
Getting rid of the smoke smell
Everything in the car will absorb the smoke, so the first step is to remove clothing, trash and other items from the car. Then vacuum the carpets, upholstery and ashtrays thoroughly.Using a clean, lint-free rag, wipe down windows and other hard surfaces with a 50/50 mix of water and distilled white vinegar. Vinegar is a safe, natural solution with no known long-term effects, but its fumes are strong, so keep the doors and windows open as you clean.
Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and upholstery and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming.
If the smell of smoke still lingers, the car’s cabin air filter may need to be replaced. In most cars, you simply need to open the glove box, push in the sides to detach them and remove it. Pinch the ends of the air filter to remove it and slide the new one into its place. The filters are easy to find online or in any auto shot. Those made with activated charcoal tend to be most effective.
It’s also worth mentioning that placing a few sachets of activated charcoal or volcanic rock throughout the car will absorb heavy smoke smells more effectively than just using baking soda alone.
Good to know
- You can usually find activated charcoal at the local pharmacy and volcanic rock at the hardware store. Otherwise, both can easily be purchased online.
- The charcoal, volcanic rock and baking soda work by catching and absorbing odors, so you discard the smelly molecules with whichever substance you used to catch it. Vinegar, on the other hand, works by killing the odor-causing bacteria.