DETAILING MY CAR > How to get Weed Smell Out of a Car

How to get Weed Smell Out of a Car


You don't want to drive the car pool with weed smell in the carSo the Old Car Just Doesn’t Smell Fresh

For those of you who smoked weed but didn’t inhale there can be an odor problem inside your car. In my home state smoking the bud is legal – but heavens no, I wouldn’t get into that! If you do participate in 4:20 activities this can leave a scent that you might not want to share with your passengers. I will share my tips for getting your car smelling like new again.

Get Weed Smell Out of a Car with an Interior Auto Detail

To begin this job you will generally need to do an interior auto detail. You can check out my full post on interior auto detailing for some in-depth info on this. As an OCD car nut I have an easy method to get weed smell out of a car.

You will need a sponge, towels, all-purpose cleaner (I like to use Simple Green – diluted down as instructed on the bottle), scented dryer sheets, a bottle of Febreeze, and a wet vac. That’s short for a shop vacuum – you can’t use the type you use in the house because moisture will ruin it. The last thing you need to do is electrocute yourself and ruin your vacuum.

Start the Process of Getting the Weed Smell Out

Start the job by giving your car a thorough vacuum. Now mix your Simple Green with some warm water. Since smoke rises you need to start with the headliner. Be careful with this step – you can’t soak a headliner without damaging it. If you get the headliner too wet it will sag down forever. Simply dunk your sponge in the mixture, wring out most of the liquid and lightly sponge down the fabric. Next, take a terry cloth towel and blot the fabric dry. Be gentle.

The next thing to shampoo is the seats. Like the headliner, sponge down the seat – the smell can hide anywhere. Rub the seat with the sponge and go over it with another towel. You can apply some firm pressure here to pull the moisture out of the fabric along with the smell. I’ll talk about that “smell” from your bean burrito in another post.

At this point it is time to shampoo the carpets. Get the sponge good and wet and rub down the floors. If they are really dirty you will need to go over them with a brush and the cleaning solution. Take your wet vac and go over the seats and carpets a second time. This helps remove excess moisture. Never vacuum a headliner because it will damage it.

Kill the Last of the Weed Smell

At this point you have done most of the hard work. The next steps will get the last of the weed smell out of the car. Take a few scented dryer sheets and tuck them way up under the front seats. This really works to freshen up any interior – especially when you are killing the weed.

The last thing you need to do is grab your bottle of Febreeze. This stuff is an odor remover – not just a nice smelling cover up. I like to lightly mist the headliner, the seats and the carpets. You can use a little more on the floor.

These are my professional car nut steps needed to kill that fragrant odor. Or who knows, maybe you like the smell in your car. But if you’re planning on picking up the carpool or the kid’s soccer team you might want to follow my advice. Maybe sucking down the smoke is best done outside the car. Go ahead and light up if that’s your thing. And grab some breath mints and eye drops while you’re at it.




5 comments on “How to get Weed Smell Out of a Car

  1. Do you have any extra tips for RVs? Ive got this great deal on an RV because it wreaks of weed after they professionaly cleaned it.

    • Hi Mel, This can be a tough one to fix. That strong weed smell is a little tough to get out. No wonder you got a screaming deal! The detail should have included having every surface from the carpet to the headliner cleaned. At this point I would suggest three things. Assuming that the detailers shammpood every surface including rugs, walls and headliner there are some options. First of all, you could have the RV detailed again. Second, you can rent an ozone machine from a tool rental company. These machines generate an invisible fog of ozone that is extremely effective at neutralizing odors. Back the old detail shop this really worked for cars that had been smoked in. Weed or cigarettes it is all smoke. If it still smells you can spray the inside with Fabreez. It is an odor killer not a perfume cover up. There are a couple of things to watch out for. The interior of the rig must be dry. If it is still wet from the detail it sort of negates the effectiveness of the machine. So make sure it is good and dry. It is best to only run an ozone machine inside a vehicle for one hour. When we first experimented with these babies we let on run way too long – like three hours. It killed the smoke odor but it left such a strong smell of ozone that it unpleasant to drive. We had to air the car out for about four days. In addition, some say that running an ozone machine for a great deal of time can damage rubber parts. Not sure if that is scientific or just an urban legend. After the machine has run inside for an hour you need to open the doors and windows so you can air out the excess ozone. This should knock out that strong weed smell very well. However, it needs to pass your sniff test. If it still really smells bad after the ozone has aired out for a few hours it would be ok to do a second treatment – I would only run it for an additional half hour. Pot stinks.I don’t think that folks who smoke the herb ever think about resale value!! They may be so used to the smell that they don’t even notice it. I know this is a lot of work but I think it will kill that marijuana smell very well. Best of luck, Bradley.

  2. I had my car stolen buy drug dealers. The vehicle stolen for 32 days. The car was loaded with all kinds of ashes around the car along with the distinct smell of marijuana which could be smelled within 10 feet of the car. Insurance company is making me keep the car. I do not want my four children in this car ever again. Is there a product on the market that can take care of this problem. The insurance company claims they can. Let me know thank you

    • Hi Joseph. I am sorry to hear about the odor issue in your car. In the majority of the cases over the years I have found that the smell can be eliminated. First of all, vacuum the car thoroughly. Start by heading to the store and picking up some Fabreeze odor remover. This stuff is great. Begin by misting the headliner – just a light mist. You do not soak it down. Headliners can sage down and or wrinkle if you do. Since smoke rises this is the place to start. continue spraying down the interior…seats and carpets. When it comes to the dash and other plastic surfaces all you need to do is wipe them down with a damp towel. Avoid getting any instruments or electronics wet. In the old days we had to replace a few radios and window switches because we soaked them down too much. The next step is to roll the windows down and let everything dry. Now give the car a good sniff. If all is well you are done. However, if the smell is still there you will need to do a shampoo of the interior. You can do this at home with a mild mixture of Simple Green and water – mix at 1 part Simple Green and 4 parts water. Simply wet a sponge in the liquid and go over the interior – Same thing with the headliner here too. Do not soak it. From here, let everything dry. Repeat the Fabreeze step and you should be golden. If by some change it still smells I would suggest taking the car to a professional detail shop. Give it a shot and good luck. Please let me know how it works. Thank you, Bradley.

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