Cigarette Smoke in Kia

I just purchased a 2009 Kia Rondo and the previous owners must have been smokers because when I turn on the fan for the AC or Heat I smell that awful cigarette smoke smell. How do I get rid of that besides using an air freshener which just masks it? Is there some sort of filter in the AC or Heating system that can be replaced?

The smell of cigarette smoke is very hard to eradicate from a vehicle. That is why this can often be used as a negotiation point on the sale price. You could try spraying Febreze or something similar into your cowl vent while running the HVAC fan on high. If that doesn’t work, which it probably won’t, your best bet will be to disassemble the dashboard and HVAC vents and thoroughly clean everything. If you’re mechanically sharp, this can be done in an afternoon with basic hand tools. You will probably find dust, dirt, tar, ash, and other grime that smells of the offending odor. For what it’s worth, I feel your pain. I bought an F-150 from a smoker a couple months ago and am very tempted to do exactly what I recommend to you to get rid of the smell.

Thanks, Mark. That’s what I was afraid of…it’s not something simple. I guess for now I’m going to have to live with air vent fresheners since I’m not very handy with cars. :frowning:

Replace your cabin filter. It is accessed through the glove box opening.

Soak two towels in white vinegar and place them in plastic containers. Place one container on the floor in the front seat and one on the floor in the back seat. Let the containers with the soaked towels remain in the vehicle until the cigarette odor is gone.


Yes replace your cabin air filter. That’s step one. Step two if you need it is a ionizer. Most dealers/ retailers have one. If used correctly it will kill the smell.

Great! I’ll try these suggestions. Thanks so much!

Can I spray the Ionizer onto the cabin air filter and the seats? Or are you only supposed to spray it in the air?

The Ionizer is a mashine that produces ozone. Its not a spay, google it you will see what I mean.

Thank you. I googled it and found one for a car. I will check into it if the cabin air filter change doesn’t work. I looked at the air filter today and it was definitely dirty, so hopefully a new one will help. Thanks again.

I don’t know how good they are but I have seen some brands of cabin air filter that also have some sort of air freshening built into them as well. Not as good as an ionizer but still worth a try based on price.

Thanks. I don’t think Kia makes any scented air filters but I can always spray Febreeze or something on the filter myself if just the plain filter doesn’t work. Thanks again.