How to Remove Marijuana Odors from Your Car

How to Remove Marijuana Odors from Your Car

Does your car, truck, SUV, or minivan smell like weed? Maybe your significant other doesn’t like it or you want to sell your vehicle or you are buying a car and you know the odor will be a problem. So how can you remove the marijuana smells and odors from your car you may be asking yourself? Well, it is probably easier than you think and will take a little elbow grease and some car detailing products but it can be done! While this is something that can happen in your vehicle or your home we want to remind you that smoking and consuming marijuana in your vehicle is illegal.

How Long Can You Smell Weed In A Car?

Marijuana has a strong and distinct smell and is one that can last a long while. In the best conditions, the smell and odors of cannabis can last 30-40 minutes after it has been smoked. Once you take that same odor and trap it in a small space like a vehicle it can last a lot longer. While you would think it would go away quickly the odors get stuck in the various materials of the car, truck, or SUV and can seem like permanent fixtures. This is why prevention in most cases is easier than the cure. 

What Do You Need To Get Marijuana Odors Out

The list of tools and car detailing products needed for cleaning out your car and removing the odors from marijuana smoke or even cigarette smoke is pretty short. You can find many of the items you need on Amazon, Walmart, or a local auto parts store. Keep it simple and always start with products that are mild and not too strong so you do not damage any of the materials in your vehicle. 

Some basic items you need to clean the interior of your vehicle are:

Some advanced products and equipment that will help remove the odors in your vehicle:

While much of this can be found easily and can be relatively inexpensive remember that your efforts and expense will undoubtedly be less costly than a complete interior detail at a car wash or detail shop.

Step 1: Clean Your Interior

The very first thing that needs to be done to help remove any odors from your vehicle is to clean the interior. You need to clean the surfaces of your vehicle to remove any buildup of contaminants including your dashboard, door panels, windows, windshield, center console, floor mats, carpet, and upholstery. Start by removing any garbage, paper, and other loose items including your floor mats from your vehicle. Anything in the door pockets, center console, seat pockets, and glove box should be removed. Follow up with your vacuum and clean the seats, cup holders, door controls, and carpets. Any loose dirt and dust should be cleaned up easily and will help to tidy up your cockpit. Don’t forget to vacuum under your seats as they can be a trap for a lot of trash and debris. 

GLOVEBOXRx Interior Cleaner for cleaning dirt, grime, marijuana residue


Once you get your space situated and cleaned out you can start cleaning. Take a microfiber towel and spray it with your favorite interior cleaner or all-purpose cleaner and begin wiping down all of the surfaces inside the car. Professional detailers recommend diluting all-purpose cleaners to prevent damage to leather and other sensitive materials. Usually diluting 15 parts of water with one part of an all-purpose cleaner is safe. It is always safe to start with less aggressive products and test in an inconspicuous place to test your technique and products. This initial cleaning step can take a few rounds so do not get frustrated. If you need some extra kick you can use a scrub pad made for car interiors and get a deep clean on your plastics, leather, and vinyl. 

Use a detail brush and your interior cleaner to clean your steering wheel, shift knob, center console, cup holders, vents, other buttons dials, and door components. These areas can get covered with hand oils, food, drinks, smoke, and other contaminants and should be cleaned regularly. When you think about your car the interior is the place you spend the most time so maintaining this can go a long way in keeping your car free from odors and grime. A clean interior is a healthy interior so try and keep it tidy. 

All the fabrics and carpeting in your vehicle can get filthy and can be a sponge for marijuana and other odors. The fabrics and materials can be cleaned and deodorized with a good carpet and fabric cleaner like our Bio-Bomb mini tablets. Our cleaning and deodorizing tablets mix with water in a spray bottle and can be used on any surface in the vehicle. You can use it on fabric seats, carpets, headliners, and much more to help clean and deodorize the marijuana odors from the vehicle.

Something like a Bissell portable carpet and fabric cleaner can greatly help with this cleaning and deodorizing process. Many Bissell machines include a pretty decent cleaning solution to use in a machine that will effectively clean cloth seats and carpeting, It is always helpful to pretreat the surface with a cleaning solution mixed with warm to hot water. Letting the solution sit on the stains and materials in your car can make it much easier to purge out the dirt. Do not over-saturate your carpet or fabrics as it can make the fabrics wick dirt from the lowest parts of the fabric and your efforts will be foiled. Another reason to not go too heavy on your carpets and seats is that they will take a while to dry out. Once you clean and extract these surfaces you should air out the vehicle overnight or as needed. If you do not have a carpet cleaning machine you can use an all-purpose cleanor or fabric cleaner and spray down the areas of the vehicle scrub and wipe with clean microfiber towels. You can also use your vacuum to pull out excess moisture will speed up the drying process.

Cleaning your headliner is a great idea to help deodorize your car, truck, SUV, or van. A lot of odors especially smoke and marijuana can get stuck into the headliner as they rise up into the air. Cleaning the headliner is a delicate task as it is only held in place with a simple glue so it is recommended to softly hand wipe the headliner with a light cleaning solution and a microfiber towel. The headline is one place you should not over-saturate as it could release the adhesive that keeps it clinging to the ceiling panel and could fall out of place. 

One step that should not be skipped and can be cleaned more aggressively as it will see a lot of dirt and can capture odors is the floor mats. Carpet floor mats can be vacuumed and pretreated with carpet and fabric cleaner and scrubbed with a brush and microfiber towel but can also be cleaned with a pressure washer. A pressure washer can blast large amounts of dirt and stains out of floor mats and can help get the nasty odors out of them. Once you clean your floor mats you can vacuum them and then hang them to dry. If you have rubber floor mats you can spray them with an all-purpose cleaner and then pressure wash or spray them with a garden hose to clean them thoroughly. Once clean to your satisfaction you can wipe dry and they will be ready to go. Some companies like WeatherTech make special products to clean and maintain rubber floor mats which may be a good option for your vehicle.

The Final step of cleaning your interior should be cleaning the windows and mirrors. Your vehicle’s glass can get covered in a foggy film which is caused by the off-gassing of the vehicle's materials and most of all from cigarette and cannabis smoke. This is not only gross but can be dangerous if it impedes your ability to see at night or in inclement weather. If you have stubborn marijuana and cannabis tar and film on your windows and glass you should use a mixture of Dawn dish soap and water to degrease them. Using 8 ounces of warm water and a couple of drops of Dawn in a spray bottle can make an effective cleaner and when paired with the interior scrub pad it will make quick work of stubborn glass. Once you have degreased the windows you can follow up with automotive glass cleaner to make the windows crystal clear. Automotive glass cleaners are usually alcohol-based and do not include ammonia as ammonia can ruin tinted windows. 

Step 2: Deodorize Your Vehicle

While many companies will sell you car fragrances and good-smelling products they will not remove the smell of odors entirely. Car odor sprays, trees, vent clips, and other air fresheners merely mask the smells and odors. This is why cleaning your vehicle is so important because you need to remove the cause of the odors and not just try and mask them. One of the best things you can do after deep cleaning and detailing your vehicle is to deodorize it. There are several ways to do this and only a couple of them are effective. 


The first and most popular way to deodorize your vehicle or even your home is to spray a product and hope that it works. Many of these sprays can work when sprayed on a soft surface but do little to penetrate and deodorize hard surfaces or things that cannot be physically seen. Many of these sprays only mask the problem like an air freshener and may only temporarily work. Cannabis odors are intense and take more than a spray to remove them so this is more of a bandaid than anything else.

The Two Best Ways To Deodorize A Car

The two ways that professional detailers deodorize a vehicle are by using a deodorizing kit that uses a chlorine gas or by using an ozone generator. Both of these solutions deodorize the entire vehicle’s interior as the gases can touch all parts and surfaces, even the ones you do not see. 

Car Odor Bomb Kit from BioBombs


The most affordable option is to purchase an odor removal kit that utilizes something called chlorine dioxide gas. They are also super easy to use, fill a jar with water, drop the tablet in water, then evacuate the car and close the doors. As the tablet dissolves in the water, the deodorization gas is released into the air. Typical treatment time is 2-8 hours (depending on the severity of the odor). These kits can pack a punch to cannabis and other smoke odors. There are small aerator pumps that will increase the efficiency of this type of product and is highly recommended. These kits start at $19.95 and are a great DIY product to deodorize your vehicle. If you splurge for the additional aerator and the kit, you are still under $40 which is a lot less than a professional detail would cost. 

A more expensive product is an ozone generator to tackle your vehicle’s marijuana odors. This is a machine that converts oxygen (O2) into ozone (O3) and helps breakdown odors and can even disinfect your vehicle. An ozone machine can be found on Amazon for as little as $50-$60 and is the size of a shoe box which is still cost-effective and portable. The nice thing about the ozone generator is it can be reused, the maintenance is simple, and it can be used in your home as well. To use the machine is easy, set it on the front seat or center console, plug it in, turn it on, and close up the vehicle. An ozone machine can make work in as little as an hour and can do a great job in just a few hours but overnight would be ideal to do the job. One thing that is recommended with an ozone machine is to run your air conditioner on high so the ozone machine can clean your vents and ducts in the vehicle as odors and tar can get stuck in these places. The bad thing is an ozone machine will prematurely break down the materials in your vehicle and the odor from ozone can take 24-48 hours itself to disperse. 

There is also a concern with ozone machines that it can harm you and your vehicle but that would be if you expose yourself to large amounts of ozone and are using it in your vehicle very often. We would never recommend sitting in the vehicle with the machine running so there is not much to concern yourself with. Once you turn off the machine the O3 becomes 02 after 30 to 45 minutes (possibly longer if you had the machine on for an extended time) and the only thing you will notice is that it might smell like chlorine but that to will pass. Once you have stopped the machine you should open the doors and let the vehicle air out. 

We believe that chlorine dioxide odor bombs are the best solution as they are affordable, affective, and have no negative impact on the vehicle or your health after the product is used.

Step 3: Protect And Maintain Your Interior

You just cleaned your entire interior and really got things dialed in and now you should take some quick steps to maintain and protect your work. Using an interior protectant on your plastics, vinyl, leather, and other surfaces of the vehicle can really make things stay cleaner for longer. Many interior protectants help against UV damage, dirt penetration, and staining and are worth their weight in gold. Leather seats and steering wheels have a protective coating and don’t require a leather conditioner but a leather protectant can help with cracking, dye transfer from blue jeans, and protection from other contaminants.

Other Things To Consider In Keep Your Car Odor-Free

While cleaning your car and deodorizing it may have gone a long way there are other things you can do to keep it smelling clean and fresh. One thing that may go unnoticed and should be done regularly is to replace the cabin filter in your filter if it has one. The cabin filter helps clean the air like the furnace filter in your home. These filters should be replaced every 15,000 miles or so and vary from vehicle manufacturer. If you don’t replace this you most likely always have foul odors in your vehicle and even may smell mold or mildew besides the marijuana and other odors you may normally face. This filter is a sponge for contaminants and odors and is easy to replace and usually cost between $30 to $70 and can be purchased online or at a local auto parts store. A cabin filter usually can replaced in 5 to 10 minutes and require little to no tools and is a very DIY project to tackle. There are endless videos on YouTube for most makes and models and could make this an easy maintenance item for you that will cost a lot less than at service center or dealership.

If you want to help block or mask odor from cannabis, food, and anything else that may be in  your car you can use an air freshener. There are endless types of air fresheners in the automotive space from trees that hang on your mirror, sprays you use on your carpeting and fabric, clips that go on your vents, and even wooden bard that clip to your visor. Some of these air fresheners last a few days to a couple of month and come in many scents. These scents and smells definitely can help your experience with odor and even can create a calm and Zen like space in your vehicle so we recommend shopping around for what fits your mood or vibe. 

Regular cleaning of your vehicle’s interior will make deep cleaning much easier and help cut down on odors. So we recommend tidying your vehicle up at least once per month to maintain all of the hard work you did on your deep cleaning.

If you are going to smoke in your vehicle try and air it more often by rolling your windows down and getting more fresh air into the cabin. 

Overall, smoking cannabis in your car is not recommended as it is illegal and also because prevention is better than fixing the issue.