How do you get cigarette smoke out of car vents?

I bought a used car from someone on Craigslist. Every time I turn on the air, it smells like cigarettes. Can I clean this smell out somehow?

Sophie Newman · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Buying a used car
is a great way to save money. However, this comes with some risk, as you can’t control how previous owners maintained it.
Thankfully, using an odor-absorbing deodorant spray and changing your cabin air filter should help. Cabin air filters help trap pollutants, pollen, and dust. The odor could be coming from trapped smoke within the filter. You can visit an auto repair shop or buy and change the filter yourself.
To use the deodorizing spray:
  • Park the car and roll up the windows.
  • Spray the deodorant directly into the vents and around the car seats.
  • Turn on the car and run the AC.
As a precautionary measure, leave a bowl of vinegar in the car overnight to soak up any remaining odors.
Next time you run the AC, you should smell fresh, clean air. If you don’t, consider reaching out to a dealership or repair shop. Either can help you diagnose where the smell is coming from.
Since you recently purchased your car and want to maintain it, make sure you have the proper
car insurance
as well. Even a used car can benefit from extra protection like full coverage or
towing and labor
Should you want help exploring your options, the
app is a good place to start. A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding the cheapest quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies in seconds!”
MORE: How to make your car last longer
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Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

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