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How to help get rid of cigarette smell

Follow these tips to help lessen the potent smell in your car or home.

A man cleaning the interior of his car

Your nose knows when a home or vehicle's been smoked in, long after the last cigarette has been put out. Try these tips to help get rid of cigarette smell in your car or home.


Thoroughly vacuum every surface. Use the brush attachment on hard surfaces such as vents, wood floors and the dashboard. Do double duty on soft surfaces, including carpet and upholstery: Sprinkle with baking soda, let it sit overnight, then vacuum one more time.

Wipe it down

A good scrubbing of all hard surfaces helps further remove stubborn smoke residue. Use a surface-appropriate cleaner and be thorough — think vinyl, leather and the steering wheel. In your home, pay attention to windows, walls, blinds and cabinet tops. Carefully clean light fixtures and replace bulbs, too.

Wash all removables

Pull out what you can, from floor mats and seat covers in your vehicle to draperies and pillows in your home. Follow manufacturers' recommendations to launder, dry clean or wash and scrub. Dry thoroughly before replacing.

Steam clean

To deep clean fixed, breathable materials, such as carpet or upholstery, bring on the steam. Invest in a cleaner, rent one from your local home store or consider hiring a pro specializing in cigarette smoke removal.

Change the air filter

Many vehicles made in the last 20 years or so have air filters. Check your owner's manual to find out where yours is and how to replace it. At home, consider installing a high-quality, odor-reducing HVAC filter.

Clean ducts and vents

When cleaning your vehicle, open doors or windows to allow for proper ventilation. Wipe vents and invest in a long, skinny vent brush and use it while the fan is on. Next, set the AC to "fresh air" (not recirculate) and turn it on high. Spray an odor neutralizer into your intake vent, likely by the windshield wipers.

In your home, vacuum vents and wipe clean. Removing vent covers can help you thoroughly clean behind and on both sides of them. And if needed, consider hiring a duct-cleaning professional.

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