Eliminating cigarette odor

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by mrlebop, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. mrlebop

    mrlebop Member

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    Ok, so I love my new (used) Prius Plug-in, but the previous owner was apparently a light smoker, and the stale smell is noticeable, especially on damp days.

    I've been looking on this and other sites for ways to get rid of the vile stench, but am confused on whether to start washing (and potentially staining) the seats and carpets with cleansers, which might add a wet mold smell to the mix!

    Any great ideas or success stories, short of buying new seats and carpets?
     
  2. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Yes there is a fairly common auto odor clean-up process called ozone treatment. I believe Tampa Prius here may use this to clear the smell from used Prii. This must be done properly, too severe treatment can start to damage things...one case the MFD got cloudy...maybe cover that.
     
  3. qdllc

    qdllc Senior Member

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    Red Fox Urine.

    It won't remove the stench, but it will make a worse one so you don't notice the cigarette smell anymore. :LOL:

    I believe the ozone treatment works well. For non-professional application, I've gone with Febreeze (multiple applications) and leave the vehicle in the garage with windows open to out gas. That at least helps. A pro job may be better just because you essentially must "fumigate" the car interior and air vents to get to where all the burnt tobacco particles have settled.
     
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  4. maurices

    maurices Member

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    In addition to the seats and carpets clean all of the plastic parts the headliner and the seat belts. Febreeze works on clean surfaces.
     
  5. mrbigh

    mrbigh Prius Absolutum Dominium

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    I'm not contributing a cent to this conversation but I feel sorry for you and I hope you had a real bargain price on that nicotine stench of a vehicle.
     
  6. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    You bought it privately I assume as a dealer would have fixed that.

    I would have the car professionally detailed. Steam clean the interior and the most important part is to service the ac e-coil under the dash.
    The smell is in the hvac system too. You can check by putting the ac on and smell the vents.

    If your not a diy guy take it to the dealer and have them do an e-coil flush. They use a product called Kool-It. You can buy it on Amazon.com.
    Its a pressurized can of microbial cleaner that has a rubber hose attachment. You attach that can to the ac condensate drip tube under the car and inject that can of cleaner as foam up the tube. It fills the e-coil box and then turns to liquid and drips out. Will make the car smell really nice and clean. May take more than one can.

    My dealer charges $100 for this. If you have the dealer do this they may use an extra can of perfume too. Tell them not to use this as it smells horrible. The cleaner is nice. Its a pretty easy DIY you just need to jack the pass side up really high to get to the tube. Its right below the glove box juts out the bottom of the car about 2 inches. Black rubber hose. The hose that all the water drips out when the ac is on.
     
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  7. mrlebop

    mrlebop Member

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    Thanks Ed, this is great advice!
     
  8. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Your welcome.

    I do the e-box cleaner myself every few years when I do the trans fluid. Its somewhat difficult as you have to get it very high in the air.
    It really helps keep the car smelling nice and also keeps that condensate drip hose free of funk that will eventually clog that drip hose and then it dumps the dripping condensate on the passenger floor.
    That really sucks.

    AS a side note think about seat covers too. I bought the best covers they make when I bought my 07 new. There excellent and add some cushioning. Toughest seat covers ever. They don't fall apart and are still on the car.

    wetokoles.com

    Good luck de-funking your car.
     
  9. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member

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    I bought an ozone generator on Amazon for $69. It worked quite well.

    I think it was THIS one.
     
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  10. icyrius

    icyrius Member

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    My car also had a slight tobacco smell when I bought it. This smell tends to reoccur once every three months if car sits in the sun for too long.

    I purchased an A/C interior filter in Auto Zone that included activated carbon pellets in it. I think it did the job. After a year it seems to be wearing out though.
     
  11. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    late to thread here...but I also got an ozone generator off of Amazon and it worked great on our used Prius V! Absolutely no smoke smell at all now.
     
  12. cthorsman

    cthorsman Junior Member

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    Another late to the thread, but

    Some, like myself, may find the chemicals in febreeze intolerable.
     
  13. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    I agree! Try an ozone generator.
     
  14. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I bought a used vehicle back in '96 whose previous owner must have smoked like a chimney. Bought it, fortunately, in summer. Used a shop-vac with water-extraction upholstery cleaner on everything until the water stopped coming up gray ("oh, so THAT's the upholstery color! Nice!"), and got everything dried out really well, and drove everywhere with all the windows down until fall when it got too chilly.

    By then, really, all the smoke smell was gone. Really gone, like you wouldn't have guessed it had a smoke smell before. I was surprised myself, but it did go away.

    -Chap
     
  15. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Yep over time it does go away. I think our 2010 was also a smokers car.

    It sounds odd but putting Clazzio seat covers on really helped the smell too. I suppose it 'covered it up'..literally.
     
  16. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I used the same driving-with-all-the-windows-down trick more recently after buying a rebuilt Prius down at autobeyours. That one didn't smell like smoke, it just smelled like some kind of really cloying used car upholstery soap. But I had to take it about 400 miles, and 400 freeway miles with all the windows down was (noisy and chilly but) effective, the smell wasn't quite all gone, but well on the way.

    -Chap
     
  17. misstenacity

    misstenacity Junior Member

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    Great tips on here, especially the ecoil cleanout for any Prius!

    This made me think of one of the used Prii I was about to take on a test drive. I circled the lot, found the car, found the salesman and the key, opened the doors, and... HEL-LO, Motel 6!!!! Seriously that car smelled like the worst $34 hotel I have ever stayed in. Yechhh.

    Weirdly enough I thought, well maybe it would be a good Uber car, as long as I put up a sign that says, "welcome to the Prius Motel, where I leave the light on for you!" just to get some laughs and understanding.
     
  18. Eric Hehs

    Eric Hehs Junior Member

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    Dryer sheets work well after you've done the major stuff. Put them under the front seats. Sorry if this is a repeat (long thread).
     
  19. Jon Watkins

    Jon Watkins Active Member

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    You can buy the Toyota air conditioning cleaning kit on Amazon for around $25 and it will take you less than an hour to clean the ac system. It comes as two cans (one large and one small) and a hose that attaches to the large can. Also a small tube for spraying the contents of the small can.

    Remove the cabin air filter. Now is the time to replace it if needed but don’t put it in until the ac cleaning process is completed. Jack the car up and put it on jackstands so it is level. Remove the passenger side wheel. Look over the suspension control arm and you will see the end of a black hose where the evaporator drains its water while the ac is on. Put the supplied cap/hose on the tall can of the cleaning kit. Shake it up good before you start to use it. Attach the fitting on the large can hose to the end of the evaporator hose. Put some kind of a drain pan near where the hose will drain or you will have a mess on your floor. Shoot half of the can into the evaporator hose. It looks like a white foam that will turn into a clear liquid. Remove the hose fitting and let it drain for 15 mins or so. Reattach the fitting to the evaporator drain hose and spray the rest of the tall can into the evapotator drain hose. Remove the filling and let it drain and you are done with this part.

    Put all of the windows up. Turn on the heater to high temp. Set the fan on its fastest setting. Just below the front window on the passenger side you will see what looks like a grate in the plastic cover. Put the supplied spray hose on the small can and shake it up good. Spray the entire small can into the grate opening of the plastic cover by moving it from side to side. Let the car fan run for about 10 minutes.

    This completes the cleaning of your ac system. There are YouTube videos on the process that you can review prior to starting if needed. Nutzaboutbolts has a good one.

    This combined with cleaning the fabric seat covers and carpets will remove any odor from your car.
     
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  20. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    I read an article decades ago in a VW magazine about leaving your banana peals in the car overnight.
    The peals absorb the odor. I've been using them for decades and it really works. Remove them after a day though.
    They do get nasty! :)
    Also, a product called "LA's Totally Awesome" from the dollar store works REALLY good! Cleans up cloth seats awesomely!
    Get's rid of the smell. The label says NOT to use it on leather.
     
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