Smelling Like Smoke?

Dear Home Ec 101:
Have you any idea how to get the smell of smoke and sweat out of car upholstery without making the entire vehicle reek of Febreze? Too much Febreze gives me a massive headache, although I’d almost prefer that over the reek of man sweat in my new (to me) car.
~Longing to be Smokeless in Smyrna

get smells out of car

Heather says:

Something tells me you’re a newly converted non-smoker, congratulations! Three things will help rid your car of its stank. The best part is none of these methods will be covering up the problem with a chemical odor.

1) Shampoo the carpet and upholstery. You can typically rent a Rug Doctor
type machine from most supermarkets and hardware stores. I would do this on a day where it’s unlikely to rain. The windows should be left down for at least a few hours to allow the carpets to dry and avoid any potential for a mildew.

Guide to Household Odors

Click the picture for lots more tips!

2) Place a bowl of vinegar in the car over night. Vinegar is great at removing problem odors, although I might recommend driving with the windows cracked so you don’t arrive at work smelling like you’ve been dyeing Easter eggs.

3 ) Leave the windows down as often as possible. Fresh air is will help dissipate any lingering odors.

Enjoy your new (to you) car!

Send your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.





3 Comments

  1. @laurej1 on June 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    As a professional upholsterer, I have found that pulling the seats and scrubbing them with Tide or heavy duty laundry detergent, and scrubbing the carpet , too, is the only way to truly get rid of the smell. Otherwise, it comes back when the vehicle is closed up for a while. The smoke and dirt get trapped under the seats where you can't clean properly with the seats installed.
    My recent post Canvas Seam Repair Tutorial

  2. Scott on April 18, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Get a couple of those refrigerator packs of Arm & Hammer baking soda, open them up and stick them under the seats. Since I often wolf down breakfast in the car on the way to work, I leave one under my car seat all the time to absorb any lingering food odors. If your car really stinks, you might also want to scatter baking soda onto all the carpets, let it sit for a day or two and vacuum it up.

  3. Nashville is Talking » Front and Back, Side to Side on April 18, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    […] Have you any idea how to get the smell of smoke and sweat out of car upholstery without making the e… […]

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