Smell from cigarette

I’ve used the chlorine dioxide kits a couple times now with excellent results. Even on rodent smells when they broke through the cabin filter. I think it was Auto Vaccine. Probably cheaper for one time use than equipment purchase. And the gas doesn’t degrade plastic and rubber…

The smell can be weakened, and in time will get weaker yet. But it will probably never disappear 100%.

If you do not want any cigarette smell at all, forget about this car.

I suspect op doesn’t have a lot of Preludes in good condition to choose from, seeing as this one is 20yrs old, and most of them are even older than that

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It’s funny how that works. I can remember when the Honda Prelude, hatchback Civic, Toyota Celica, Ford Probe, and 2-door Cavalier were everywhere. Now, they have all become a rare sight. Maybe once a year, one will pop up on Craigslist within a 200 mile radius. Whenever one appears, the seller always wants top dollar, unless it’s completely used-up and ready for the scrap yard.

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Had a similar problem when I bought a 1995 Lexus SC300 that literally was a little old lady car w/low mileage and excellent condition – but she had been a smoker. And car had leather seats.
This worked for me. Afterwards the smell never came back. First thoroughly clean and vacuum the interior. Find out if car has a cabin air filter. If so, replace. Second: On a warm, preferably hot day, open all doors & windows and trunk, then leave car in sun for at least one day. Third: buy some activated charcoal (about $3-$5 at Walmart or CVS). Spread it out on a tray and place on passenger side floor. On a hot day close up the car & leave it in the sun all day. Smell never came back.

If the person smoked for years…then - it’s going to be impossible without replacing a lot and spending thousands of dollars. The seats may be leather, but the material under the leather is not. And it’ll absorb the cigarette odor. Same with carpeting.

Find another car.

The smell will always be there. You can get used to it over time but after driving it your clothes will smell of smoke. You will swear there is no smoke smell but someone getting in the vehicle for the first time will smell it.
I had a friend who had a wolf hybrid that rode in his van and was an inside house dog. His van reeked of dog and he didn’r believe it because he lived with the smell. One day he took his van to a garage and the guy refused to work on it because of the smell.
I was going to buy a year-old F-150 from a Ford dealer but when I test drove it I smelled dog. Closer examination I found lots of 3/4" hairs in the upholstery and carpet. I turned the truck down. Dealer offered to use a machine to “air it out all night” but I said no thank you.
Too many vehicles out there to buy one that smells like burning tobacco.

Follow-up: Wife hates smoke & has sensitive nose. We took many road trips in our 95 Lexus SC300 & she never smelled smoke. However, if the car hadn’t been something I wanted & such a good deal, I would have passed it up. Others did. I didn’t & bought a rare car at a very good price.

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Keep in mind that not everything will be accessible for even the most stringent detail. After some time of smoking, the smell of cigarettes’ smoke would have reached and settled on every nook and cranny on/in the car. A detail shop will improve it from before…but never get it 100% free of smoke smell settlement.

My motto: If you are patient enough, there is usually something that comes along just as good or better…and without the issues that bother you.

Does anyone offer a pressurized air freshening service? Just thinking…if it’s technically possible to chemically neutralize tobacco smell, and the main issue is how much the smell has penetrated the fabric, wouldn’t you think that if you highly pressurized the vehicle interior with an odor neutralizing compound, that could help?

I don’t know if it’s a thing…I can’t imagine it would be technically hard, if you sealed the vents, nor are there any super sensitive items that could be damaged by air pressure…

The car won’t handle it, you’d pop out the windows.


Yea…but it’d be a hoot to watch.

Haha, well I’m not talking about that high of pressure. I’m talking like, I dunno, 50-100 psi. Surely a window can handle that?

I doubt it could handle 10 psi. Think of the area - 2’ x 2’ x 144 in2/ft2 x 10 psi = 2560 pounds of force!

So, it’s surprisingly difficult to find definitive information on side window glass strength on the internet :smiley: .

But according to this website (, the pressure 1ft below the surface of a freshwater body is about 15 psi (slightly over 1 atm). I think it’s generally accepted that a car which goes into the river is not at any serious risk of its windows immediately blowing in, and I don’t have any reason to think the glass strength depends on whether the force is coming from inside or outside.

I think my hypothetical business model is fine :joy:

Auto windows pop out of a vehicle with dramatically more ease than in. That’s for safety issues. A person can kick a front or rear window out with their feet with enough effort. There’s no way he could do that from the outside.

" the pressure 1ft below the surface of a freshwater body is about 15 psi "

Nope. The pressure from water is a bit less than 0.5 psi/ft. 15 psig would be at 30 feet deep. I think you’re mixing up psia and psig.

It should be no problem still. First of all, replace the cabin filter, then buy this automatic spray freshener for the vehicle. The way it works is you start the spray, turn the A/C on full blast and on Recirculate. Make sure all the windows are closed and close the doors. Wait 10 minutes then that should help. Replace the cabin filter first.

That’s only going to temporarily mask the problem . . .

Help for what ? Maybe a day at the most until the mystery spray wears off.