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 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 car deodorizers aren’t just safer, they actually work better than the chemical stuff. Natural alternatives include distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and activated charcoal. Charcoal and baking soda work by catching and absorbing odors, while vinegar kills the odor-causing bacteria.
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 while they’re at it. Here’s how to get rid of the smoke and other lingering odors in your car using natural, non-toxic deodorizers.
Get rid of the smoke smell naturally
- Everything in the car will absorb the smoke, so the first step is to remove clothing, trash, and other items from the car.
- 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 can simply 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 shop. 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.