How to get weed smell out of your car

Updated on May 9, 2024
Written by
Paul Allen
Paul was a staff writer for HouseFresh between November 2020 and May 2024. He was specialized in product recommendations and advice for smokers and apartment dwellers.

Smoking or storing weed in your car can lead to a pretty smelly environment.

To eradicate this odor once and for all, increase ventilation and remove trash and paraphernalia from your car before carrying out a deep clean of the cabin, wiping down surfaces and vacuuming all upholstery. 

If the smell persists, turn to odor-absorbing materials such as baking soda or activated charcoal. 

To keep your car smelling fresh in the long term, consider purchasing a portable air purifier. This will improve airflow and capture odor particles before they have a chance to take hold.

Hopping into the driver’s seat, you may be met by a multitude of smells. Whether it’s that new car smell or less desirable odors such as last night’s takeaway. 

But for weed smokers, the overpowering aroma is usually the skunky, earthy or even citrus odor that ignites the senses at first whiff. 

While some pot smokers may be partial to weed’s lasting scent, most drivers would prefer their day-to-day vehicle not to honk of lemon haze. That’s why we’ve devised a five-step plan to remove stubborn odor and offered some top tips to keep your car smelling fresher for longer.

5 steps to get rid of weed smell in your car

Need to eliminate the lingering smell of weed in your car? Follow these five simple steps and you’ll have a brand-new smelling car in a flash. 

Step 1: Let the breeze tackle the bud

Let’s get you started with an easy one. Roll down the windows and take a trip around the block. 

Flooding your car with fresh air can work wonders at removing weed’s smell. While it might get chilly, aim to ventilate the car for at least 15-30 minutes to notice a difference.

Step 2: Clear junk out of the cabin

If your car looks anything like mine, it’s probably scattered with rolling papers, candy wrappers, empty cups and more. 

Grab a trash can and clear all the rubbish out of the car. Don’t forget to look in all compartments, cup holders, door panels or anywhere else where litter could be hiding.

Once you’ve cleared out all the junk, it’s time to clean.

Using your preferred cleaning solution, freshen up your car’s interior, removing any dust, debris and any odour along with it.

Scents can cling to hard surfaces such as plastic, so don’t cut corners. Be sure to wipe down the dash, steering wheel and trim thoroughly.

Step 3: Vacuum the upholstery

The odor particles found in weed are notoriously clingy. As a result, fibrous materials, such as carpets, floor mats or seats, are likely to stink.

Start by vacuuming each section of upholstery. Don’t be afraid to get deep between the cracks, seek out any crevices and target under the front seats, too. 

For leather seating, start by gently vacuuming, then move to a specialist cleaner and conditioner so not to cause any permanent damage.


Use a steam cleaner to remove stubborn, deep-rooted smells. (but try step 4 first)

Step 4: Absorb unwanted weed odors

At this point, you may not even recognize your shiny new car. But if weed smell persists, it is time to turn up the odor-busting ante.

Activated charcoal, baking soda and even coffee granules help eradicate odor. Liberally sprinkle these substances onto the floor and seating of your car and leave them overnight to absorb weed’s persistent smell. The next day, simply vacuum the granules away. 

Step 5: Spray away smells

If you need fast results in a pinch, you can turn to deodorizing sprays or air fresheners.

Bear in mind that these will merely mask the scent of lingering weed. Whether you use essential oils, perfume or cleaning solutions, applying fragranced products to your car’s interior will achieve temporary rest bite from unwanted odor. 

Air fresheners are filled with chemicals known as VOCs, which can be harmful to breathe.

Instead, consider using natural solutions such as lemon juice or vinegar. Or create your own potpourri using herbs, flowers and spices. 

How to prevent weed smell in your car

Having spent time, energy and money removing the smell of weed from your car, it’s a good idea to keep it odor-free. 

To help you do so, here are the 10 commandments of keeping weed’s smell at bay.

1. Don’t roll up a joint without rolling the windows down first. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t be smoking weed inside your car. If you’re just hanging out in your car and decide to roll a joint, remember that weed odor can spread fast. Don’t allow it to sink into your seats or carpets by simply increasing ventilation. 

2. Cast away disused joints, papers and other paraphernalia. Leaving a roach or other pieces of trash in the car is sure to smell when you return.

3. Keep weed sealed. Storing your weed in an airtight container or resealable bags will lock away smells and prolong the quality of your buds.

4. Seek out alternative weed products. Enter any dispensary and you’ll find tons of odor-free products, from mojito-inspired mocktails to vapes or classic edibles, each of which is sure to get you high without leaving a scent. 

5. Switch off the air recirculation feature. Air recirculation is great when using your car’s AC. But by switching it off, you’ll allow for extra airflow to enter from outside.

6. Deploy activated charcoal. A secret weapon for anyone looking to eradicate unwanted smells, activated charcoal captures odor particles in the porous substrate inside.

7. Reach for a dryer sheet. Can’t get your hands on activated charcoal? Raid the laundry room for dryer sheets, which can capture odors effectively, too.

8. Replace your car’s air filter. These filters suck up dust and debris, along with countless other odors. Replace them every six months, which can be done quickly at home or by a local mechanic. 

9. Invest in ambiance. Smoking weed should be a relaxing and pleasurable experience. Why not utilize your favorite essential oil or look into Weed Odor Eliminators while smoking in your car?

10. Use an air purifier. Last but not least is one of the most effective methods to eradicate weed’s smell. Using a portable air purifier will improve airflow and capture odor particles as they pass through the unit. 

Wrapping up

One of the downsides of weed is the lingering smell it leaves, long after the last joint has been smoked. 

This smell can be made ten times worse when smoked or stored in a confined space like a car. 

Be sure to keep your car clean, increase ventilation whenever smoking and invest in some odor-busting material such as activated carbon bags or, better yet, an air purifier with carbon filters. 


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About the author

Paul Allen

Paul was a staff writer for HouseFresh between November 2020 and May 2024. He was specialized in product recommendations and advice for smokers and apartment dwellers.

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