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20 comments on Ask-A-Pro: Smoke Smell in Car

  1. Nice post Greg.

    Zack…if you think that some of the smell is still coming from the leather, you could also try a complete Leatherique treatment as it gets deep into the surface. Worst case scenario, you end up with very clean and properly conditioned seats!

    Another option if the car still smells is to rent an ozone generator.

  2. Tim H. says:

    An ozone machine is used by smoke and odor restoration technicians. They are very expensive machines. Ozone can be extremely dangerous though.

    Another possibility is using a fogger. These can be obtained through a carpet cleaning store. Again, this is also a very expensive machine.

    Bottom line is, don’t smoke in your car.

  3. Greg Nichols Greg Nichols says:

    I didn’t mention Ozone machines because of the health risks and costs.

    @ TIM H what is the process for fogging a car, what is the chemical used? Cost effective?

    Cheers,
    GREG

  4. Mo says:

    One thing i would add is to be extremely careful with the headliner. dont spray anything on it and make sure the cloth you are using to wipe is damp at most. you do not want to saturate the headliner which may cause it to seperate from the roof. and use very gentle strokes. good luck

  5. Jeff says:

    Good point about the headliner, Mo. I bought a car that was smoked in and found some of the smell was coming from the vents/ducting. I removed all of the vents and cleaned the ducting as far as I could reach which seemed to help.

  6. Tim H. says:

    Greg,

    That’s a great question about cost effectiveness. You know, if you can truly remove smoke odor from a vehicle and word get’s around it could be very lucrative. I’ve seen foggers for as little $250. You have to buy the fogging chemical separate. Email for the link to the one I found. The description of the product says:

    This versatile fogger creates a dry fog, similar in nature to the smoke created by fire. This dry fog follows the path of smoke & neutralizes the odor.

    Hope this helps.

  7. Mike says:

    What about something like Auto Vaccine? Does it work?

  8. Greg Nichols Greg Nichols says:

    @mike,

    I have never tired Auto Vacc, give it a try and let us know? Its Dioxide based so in theory it just might.

    Cheers,
    GREG

    • Mike says:

      Will do, thanks.

    • I used the Auto Vaccine back in May as part of a process I used to attack a moldy interior. It did what it claimed to do. I used it to help kill airborne and surface mold (along with other products) and remove the residual smell caused by the mold. I also applied the Klima Cleaner from Einszett to attack the mold and residual smell in the air ducts and heater core. I checked back with the client three months later and the smell had not returned (and neither did the mold). Another suggestion would be to use a steamer. Steaming the interior and into the vents does wonders for neutralizing interior odors in my experience.

      • Greg Nichols Greg Nichols says:

        I’ve contacted Auto Vaccine for some info. While the chemistry behind it makes sense, practical application is everything. I’m hoping to test and report back to several forums on my findings.

        Cheers,
        Greg Nichols

  9. Greg Nichols Greg says:

    Sandy,

    I through interior cleaning is a must, then try and remove the smoke particulates. This type of cleaning can range from 150-250 depending on many factors. Lots of places will do it cheaper, but I’ll bet the process is uses a masking product that will ware off in time.

    If you are local visit my website and contact me at http://www.reflections-detailing.com

    Cheers,
    GREG

  10. Orion says:

    Greg,
    As a follow on to this topic, is there anything that can be done for ash marks/tiny burns on the headliner caused by inaccurately attempting to ash the cigarette out the window?

    • Greg Nichols greg nichols says:

      If the headliner is burned, you can LIGHTLY clean it with a slightly damp towel………don’t get the liner wet as it can sag. if the burns are deep you can only replace…….

      Sorry to hear

      GREG

  11. Greg Nichols Greg Nichols says:

    Okay a follow up…….

    I’ve tried some new treatments: Auto vaccine and drive pur

    Auto Vaccine didn’t work out in the long run, I just don’t think It can for heavy smoke the product has to come directly in contact with the smoke and tar. The product freshens up the car very nicely!

    Drive Pur did a great job in removing the smell for the long haul. The trick is getting the product in contatct the the tar and smoke molcules. this treatment is not for the DIY type you need to seek out a professional odor removal detailer. I’ve become pretty darn good using the system, so if you are seeking out a smoke or odor remover in the state of utah reflections detailing of utah can help.

    Cheers,
    GREG

  12. Jesse says:

    Hu Greg, this post is a few years outdated but I thought I would attempt to get my question answered. I recently purchased a 2012 Jeep. After a few days their attempt to mask the cigarette smoke in the car wore off and I am now left with a very potent smelling car. I have a 4 year old that is very asthmatic and is super sensitive to any form of cigarettes 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I have noticed an increase in her need of a nebulizer over the last few days which I am directly linking to the vehicle. I brought the car back to the dealership and they are assuring me that the use of an ozone machine will rid the vehicle of any remaining smell and tobacco residule (sp?) … my question is is that a true statement or just another ploy by shady car sales men to have me remain in the vehicle? When you say they are not safe … is that in their application / use or the left over chemicals or particles in the air after the use?

    • JB says:

      Jesse take your car to signature detail in salt lake. They have drive pur technology which will rid the car of any smell. I tried everything in a smoky smelling car and this is the only thing that worked.

  13. Greg Nichols Greg says:

    Jesse,

    Ozone can take out the smell. You just don’t want to be around when the machine is going on.

    if they ozone it for 8hrs or more it should work, if not then I can do a drive pur treatment.

    Cheers,
    GREG

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