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Cigarette smoke odor

We recently bought a used Honda Accord, manual transmission (to torture our up and coming teen drivers), in great condition. We will be the 3rd owners. The retired couple we bought it from swear they are not smokers, and have had it for several years. They bought it used from a Honda dealer but have been the majority drivers. It is a great car except it has this lingering odor of cigarettes probably from first owner, and I notice it most when using the heater. Is there a product or a way anyone recommends for getting this odor out of the ventilation system? Thanks! KT

I have used this before with excellent results-

Follow the directions and run the ventilation system during treatment…

I have used a product called Odo-Ban to remove mildew odors in my vents. Mix with warm water in a bucket and pour it into the area where the windshield wipers are. Open the hood, you should see air intakes for the ventilation system. Pour the mixture in (there is a drain to keep water out of the INside) and let it sit overnight. Rinse with more clean water. There will be a slight smell of the cleaner so run the blower with the windows open and it will go away.

You might also try a small pan of ammonia with a few cotton balls floating in it left in the car overnight with the windows up. A buddy of mine tried that to kill cigerette smell and it worked.

Good luck!

I am almost certain that your Honda has an air filter in its heating and air conditioning system. These filters serve the same purpose as a filter on a forced air furnace. The filters aren’t expensive and it would be worthwhile to change that filter. It might help since you say that the smoke odor is worse when you turn the heater on.

+1 for @Triedaq since filters tend to hold the odor. I usually just take the vehicle to a good detail shop to take care of cigarette odors. My wife and I are lifelong non-smokers so the $100 is well spent in our minds.

Although I’ve never needed this myself, I’ve heard that running an ozone generator works well for this. You might check with some local detailing shops and also those disaster recovery companies to see if anyone around you does that.

@missileman‌ is right. The first step to odor control is cleaning. Until all the particulates (as many as humanly possible) are removed, it’s just a cover up. We bought two “smoker cars” and rented carpet/ upholstery cleaners for each. It does take a couple of sessions with lots of fresh air and a few months time between but it does eventually subside. That does include cabin filter replacement too. In each case though, it was already done by the dealer. The headliner was a huge contributor. So be “flexible” and clean (wash) everything.

Spray Lysol down into vents with blower off. let it sit a bit.

remove cabin filter

with engine running and a/c on and blower on high spray entire can of Lysol into filter opening

install new cabin filter

open a box of baking soda and secure I so it will not spill so it will absorb odors