How to Remove the Odor of Cigarettes in a Car Before You Sell It

You are ready to upgrade your ride but your car smells like the inside of a bar.  You know that the nasty smell could turn off potential buyers from enjoying the pleasure of owning this beauty. The panic and thought of you being stuck with this car forever begins to set in deeply. What can you do to evict the current smoky, smell that is overpowering your car before you sell it?  There are several things you can do to resuscitate some new life into your car.

Prepare To Attack

Before you are ready to tackle the beast that lurks in your car, you need to gather supplies together.  These supplies are key components to achieving the goal of getting behind the wheel of your new car. Your supply list should include:

  • small vacuum or car shop vac (preferably with a variety of attachments to reach those pesky nooks and crannies in the car)
  • spray bottle filled with water to wash soft and hard surfaces
  • spray bottle filled with vinegar to remove stains
  • paper towels
  • dusters
  • baking soda and bowl
  • air freshener that you got for this special occasion
  • carbon air filter or purifier

Divide And Conquer

Like areas in a house or apartment, a car is filled with zones to attack and reign over.  Break down the car into zones so that you will ensure a thorough cleaning throughout the vehicle.  Some zones that you can conquer are:

  • dashboard and the obvious culprit: the ashtray.  Dust and wipe down the surfaces of the dashboard and console and then onto the ashtray.  Dump the ashtray and give a strong cleaning.  Leave the ashtray outside the car to let fresh air pull out more of the smoke smell.
  • make the windows and mirrors sparkle and shine with some window cleaner.
  • headliner and upholstery can receive a nice coat of baking soda that can be left on for 12 to 36 hours to absorb stains and odors.  A quick swoosh of the vacuum will yield a spectacular results.  You might have to rerun the vacuum if there is any residual baking soda that might remain after cleaning.

The Whole Package

Once you have checked off all the zones on your cleaning list, it is time to focus on making sure the entire car receives some extra TLC.  Start with vacuuming the entire car.  Take out the floor mats and any removable items.  Give them a good shake to loosen any debris.  Leave them outside the car to let the air eliminate any smoke that has continued to linger.

Since the heavy stuff has been done, then it is time to eradicate the smoke that could have built up on the soft surfaces such as the seats and carpets.  After the soft surfaces are done, focus on the hard surfaces to make sure you did not miss any spots.

Final Whiff

As you admire the sweat equity that you just built up after cleaning your car, make sure the vehicle can pass the “final whiff” inspection.  Check your car’s ventilation system to see of the stale, smoky air maybe coming through the vents.  If so, upgrade the air filter.  You will definitely notice an improvement of the air quality throughout the vehicle.  Hang up the air freshener you picked out to allow the sweet smell linger when you are not inside the car.

Another thing is to roll down the windows to let the fresh air in.  Turn on the vents to circulate the air throughout the car for an extra boost of freshness.