5 Reasons Why Your Car Interior Smell and How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Car


5 Reasons Why Your Car Interior Smell

5 Reasons Why Your Car Interior Smell And How To Get Smoke Smell Out Of Car

A car that smells gives its owner a bad image. The longer the smell stays in the car, the harder it will be to erase the smell. 

how to get smoke smell out of a carHow to get Smoke smell out of the car

Smoke smell is the toughest type of smell to have in your car and if you’ve been wondering how to get smoke smell out of a car, it takes just thorough scrubbing here and there. You can clean it the traditional way or with store-bought cleaners/deodorants. 

Your car interior smell of smoke for a couple of reasons but one of the most common reason is that your car’s AC filter is either very clogged or has gone completely bad and it allows smoke smell form the exhaust manifold to creep into your car interior. also a burnt clutch can bring acrid smoke smell into your car.

Reasons Why Your Car Interior Smell 

  1. Burning clutch or brake  

Smell: Acrid

The smell of this smoke is pungent. You will perceive this pungent smell when you press the clutch or brake. The smell could also occur if the parking brake is on. This smell indicates that the brake or clutch needs to be inspected. 

When you are not driving, and the smell is strong in your car, the brake or clutch got too hurt, and it melted. Just know that it is either the brake or clutch that has an issue. 

  1. Heater core leak

Smell: sweet 

If the heater core is leaking, you’ll perceive a sweet smell. Many believe that you should get the smell out of your quickly, so pets and kids don’t mistake it for sweets, and then they end up consuming something poisonous. 

If your kids eat in the car, they might have poured sweet things in your car, and after a few days, it started smelling. Check the ground and crevices for crumbs of snacks or sweets. 

To ascertain if the heater core is leaking, check the windshield to see if fog is forming on it. Also, there might be antifreeze on the floor, which signals that the heater core is leaking. 

To cleanse your car of this smell, you’ll have to replace the heater core with a new one and clean the antifreeze and foggy windshields. 

  1. Busted catalytic converter

Smell: sulfur 

The smell this gives off is sulfuric. The catalytic converter helps change exhaust gases by making them less toxic. If you can smell sulfur in your car, it is a sign that your vehicle’s catalytic converter isn’t working right. It could also be the lubricants used in manual transmission because when they are old and leaking, they will smell like sulfur. 

If you can smell rotten eggs, it means the catalytic converter has altered the exhaust gas. 

To get this smell out of your vehicle, you will have to carry out an inspection on your catalytic converter. After the inspection, you will tell if it needs to be repaired or it has to be replaced. 

  1. Cigarettes smoke

Smell: smoke 

This will smell like smoke. For non-smokers, this smell will be annoying and make you feel uneasy. The reason why it smells in your car is obvious. For this smell to occur, you need to have had someone in your car who smoked, or it might have been you. 

Taking special measures like rolling the window down won’t really help. The smell of cigarettes sticks because the smelly remnants will settle into upholstery, carpet, dashboard, and so on. Getting this smell out is tough. 

  1. Gas leak 

Smell: Aromatic hydrocarbons (raw gas)

If you can perceive a strong gas odor, then there is a very big problem, and you have to fix it as soon as you can. However, if the odor is light, then you shouldn’t worry. This smell could start when you turn your car’s ignition, or you will only smell it during very hot days. 

Some of the reasons this smell occurs are stuck injectors, leaky fuel lines, bad fuel pressure regulators, and other issues. All these can lead to a fuel leak, or it could dump gas into your engine. 

If the smell turns from gas to smoke, and you’re wondering ‘why burning smell from car,’ don’t ponder too much on this; instead, exit your car and call a professional immediately. 

Since many issues could lead to this smell, it might be a bit hard to know the source. To save yourself from stress, just visit a mechanic to find out the source of the smell. 

How to get Smoke smell out of car

how to get smoke smell out of a car

The cigarette Smoke smell is one of the toughest smells to get out of your car. This is because smoke sinks into soft surfaces and it sticks onto the fibers of the upholstery. 

The best way to get the cigarette smell out of the car is by cleaning the whole interior. You don’t want to take chances by skipping any side. 

  • Clean the ashtray 

The built-in ashtray is a major culprit of smoke odors, especially if you’re a frequent smoker. Remove the ashtray from your car, then wash it. Leave it outside, underneath the sky, for about 24 hours or even longer so it can dry. 

Doing this doesn’t guarantee that the smell will leave your car because it might have stuck to other surfaces. Cleaning your ashtray is like a test to determine if it is the culprit or others. 

  • Get the smoke out of the carpet 

The method you’ll use to remove the smell from the carpet is different from how you remove the smell from other surfaces. To get it out of your carpets and upholstery, you’ll need baking soda. 

Before you sprinkle the baking soda, you’ll first clean your carpet thoroughly with your hand or a vacuum. Reach under the seats and between crevices because these are spots where you’ll find cigarettes ashes. The ashes might have been there for a long time. 

After cleaning it, you’ll sprinkle baking soda on the carpets. Put the carpets in a corner for a while and leave the baking soda on them, so it can do its job as an odor neutralizer and remove the smell. 

After a few minutes or hours, you’ll clean the baking soda on the carpets. By now, the smell should be gone; however, if it’s still lingering, then you will have to sprinkle a small amount of baking powder on them again. To fully absorb the smell, you can leave an open can of baking powder in your car overnight. 

  • Get the smoke smell out of leather surfaces 

Smoke can penetrate leather and leave a residue on its surfaces, so you’ll need a different approach when cleaning this. To remove the smell from the leather, you’ll need a cleaner specifically made for this surface. You’ll also have to clean the surfaces more than once because smoke can go deep within such surfaces. You need to clean it more than once because residue can still be on leather surfaces for a long time.

After cleaning the leather surfaces, you can move to other parts of your vehicle. You can clean surfaces like the windshield (front and back), the dashboard, the air vents, the window, mirrors, and so on. 

Alternative ways to get cigarette smell out of a car

Baking powder is the go-to option for many people, and it has been proven to work perfectly by getting terrible odors out of cars. 

Depending on where you stay or several other factors, it might be a bit hard for you to get baking soda. Below, we included some alternatives you can use instead of baking soda –

  • pour coffee grounds in a small bowl and leave it in your car so it can soak up the smell. 
  • orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit peels can be used to cleanse the cigarette smoke smell in your vehicle. 
  • lower the windows of your car so you can let air inside. You might have to do it for some days or weeks to fully get the smell out. 
  • Boil some cinnamon sticks and put them in a container. Place the container in your car to cool and cleanse the air.  

Best car deodorizer

Just do a quick search online, and you’ll come across lots of deodorizers. Sadly, most are of terrible quality. Check below for some of the best deodorizers you can opt for — 

  1. Trudin Car Air freshener

This is one of the best car deodorizers. It has a modern look. The manufacturer designed it to make it look very stylish, so using it in your car will improve the interior. 


There are three adjustable scent modes —

The normal scent mode will relieve you of stress and keep you alert. 

The strong scent mode will refresh you if you’re fatigued. 

The light scent mode will make the air in your car fresher.


This diffuser will release its scent twice within a few seconds. After every 1 min, this Trudin car air freshener will keep spraying if your car engine is still turned on. 

When you stop your car, this diffuser will automatically enter standby mode when it detects your car has stopped for about 4 minutes. 

When you turn your car’s ignition, it will automatically start working and start spraying its scent. 


It comes with a wireless design and a built-in 300mAh rechargeable battery that can function for 1 month (if you drive 2 hours per day). 


  • It comes with three modes you can adjust to get your desired level of fragrance
  • It comes with 3 essential oils that are alcohol-free and suitable for both children and pregnant women. 
  • It adopts a macromolecule fragrance system. 

  1. Chemical Guys AIR_101_16 New Car Smell Premium Air Freshener and Odor Eliminator (16 Oz)

This is a diffuser with a natural enzymatic odor. This diffuser is designed specifically to eliminate terrible smells and prevent terrible odor from smelling for too long. Its lasting deodorizing fragrance means it can eliminate all kinds of smell, even if it’s the smell of cigarette smoke or ash. 

With its strong smell, you can’t use a lot of this deodorizer, just spray sparingly, or you can dilute it. This deodorizer has the unmistakable scent of a new car. 

It’s preferable to use this Chemical Guys AIR_101_16 air freshener after you have cleaned your car thoroughly. 


  • It’s a long-lasting deodorizer because only a little mist is needed for it to work. If you want, you can dilute this air freshener with distilled water (up to a gallon of it). 
  • It is engineered to smell just like a new car. This makes it a good deodorizer to opt for if you plan to sell your car. 
  • Its scent will last for a lot of weeks in your car. 

  1. Zero Odor Pro dor Eliminator, Deodorizer, Neutralizer – Smell Remover – Trigger Spray (32-ounce) 

The formula of this deodorizer is patented. Apart from using it in your car, you can also use it in your home. It’s a great choice of spray to opt for if you’re trying to remove the cigarettes smell from your car. 

One reason why this deodorizer is different from others in the market is that it doesn’t give off sweet scents that temporarily cover the smell. Instead, it eliminates the smell. 


  • It eliminates tough commercial odors
  • It can be used in different places and on different surfaces. It’s not limited to car use only.  
  • It’s non-toxic, biodegradable, and non-allergenic. 

  1. Armor All Car Air Freshener and Cleaner – Odor Eliminator 5 Fl Oz Vent & Duct, 18546

This deodorizer was specifically made for HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning). It also comes with a formula that allows it to make odors caused by mildew and mold disappear. 


  • It works best with ventilation and heating components of a car
  • It has a tranquil skies scent


Now, you should know how to get the cigarette smell out of your car. We have shown you the common five causes of bad odor in your car and how to deal with these issues. Apart from eliminating the issues, you also need to work on your habits; if not, you’ll be doing a lot of cleaning, which is stressful and can be expensive. 


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