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Cigar 101 – Keeping your Ride Smelling Fresh

It’s happened to all of us—you smoke a quick cigar on the way home from work, and from that moment on, every person who rides in your car has to remind you that it smells like smoke. While it’s tempting to remind them that beggars can’t be choosers, and that if they want to ride in a nonsmoking car, they can drive themselves, there are a few better ways of dealing with the after effects of smoking in your car.

I find that the best way to air out the car in a pinch is to drive around with all of the windows open, preferably pretty fast. When used in conjunction with a hanging air freshener (this one is my personal favorite), this method will work wonders. This, however, only really works right after a smoke, so thankfully there are some other ways to neutralize the smell if that doesn’t do the trick.

There are a few smells that neutralize the smell of stale cigar smoke better than others. Coffee, for example, is good at neutralizing just about any odor. Placing a few open containers of coffee grounds throughout the car generally gets the job done, though it can be a bit risky for your upholstery if it spills. If you keep the car dry, however, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. But if you don’t feel like taking the coffee risk, or if you’re not a coffee fan, baking soda works almost as well, and can be sprinkled onto the floor of your car and vacuumed out afterwards.

Another scent that works pretty well against smoke is citrus. There are a ton of different citrus-based air fresheners on the market, but I find the one that works the best is Citra-Solv, which is made with the oil from citrus peels. Febreze, however, works pretty well, too, and can be sprayed directly onto your upholstery (unless it’s leather—Febreze is not recommended for that).

Another thing worth mentioning is that if you don’t want your car to smell like an ashtray, don’t ash in your car, unless you do it into something airtight. I use an old travel mug with a removable lid, and I keep about an inch of old coffee in it to kill the smell a little bit while it’s open.

I hope this helps to keep your car smelling deceptively smoke-free, and also keeps passengers quiet about something they have no business harassing you about. If anybody knows of any other ways of getting your car to stop smelling like smoke, feel free to post them in a comment.

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