Even if you’ve already switched to Mistic electronic cigarettes or HAUS PVs, the lingering smell of cigarette smoke in your car can carry over onto your clothes, skin and hair.
Getting rid of that smell comes down to removing the residue that the smoke deposits on every surface. Not only is this sticky film causing the smell, but it also clouds up your windows and windshield, decreasing visibility.
Getting rid of the odor isn’t easy, but you’ll be so glad when your car doesn’t smell like an ashtray!
The Quick Fix
For an easy but longer-lasting solution, you can use naturally absorbent materials to literally soak up the smell. Coffee grounds, charcoal briquettes, kitty litter, and baking soda will all do the job admirably.
To get the most out of this method, vacuum first. Then, set plates or shallow bowls of one of these materials around the floor of the car and under the seats, and roll up the windows. Leave the car sealed up for at least 48 hours to let the material absorb the smell. If you use coffee, you’ll even smell like Starbucks for a few days!
In spite of its own strong scent, white vinegar is a very effective deodorizer. You can follow this same technique with a deep bowl or bucket of plain white vinegar. For ongoing odor control, place crumpled-up balls of ordinary newsprint under the seats to absorb smells.
The Deep Clean
Step 1: Pull out mats, seat covers, and everything else that comes out. Launder seat covers, steering wheel covers, and anything else that can go in a washing machine.
Step 2: Vacuum the car thoroughly, including seats, inside pockets, and anywhere else you can reach. Spilled ash or a stray cigarette butt can have a powerful smell. Clean the ashtrays particularly well.
Step 3: Clean the residue from the inside of glass surfaces. If regular glass cleaner isn’t doing the trick, try a mix of 3 c. water, ½ c. baking soda, and 1 c. white vinegar in a spray bottle (shake until combined). Don’t use anything abrasive to clean the glass - a squeegee and a clean cloth are ideal, though you may need a little elbow grease to get off the stubborn film.
Step 4: Wash all hard surfaces to remove the sticky tar residue. Everything. After all this work, you don’t want any smell to linger. If your mats are plastic or rubber, wash them as well.
Step 5: Clean the upholstery and carpet with a brush and foaming fabric cleanser. Don’t forget the seat belts, decorative fabric on doors, and even the carpet in the trunk! If you have carpet mats, clean them this way too.
Step 6: If you have leather seats, use saddle soap to wash them. Lather it up well, to get as much tar residue out as possible. Rinse your cloth or sponge frequently and wipe off the lather often to avoid rubbing the tar back in. If the smell lingers after the leather has fully dried, repeat the process a day or two later.
If this doesn’t quite do it, you can run a humidifier in the car overnight, and then repeat the cleaning process. The moisture will loosen the remaining residue and allow you to remove it. You can also follow the deep clean with the quick fix listed above to soak up any residual smell.
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Have you tried to get cigarette smoke out of your car or home? What worked for you? Let us know in the comments below!