“It smells like tobacco smoke!” is perhaps the most familiar sale-killer the salesman hears. Though the year, make, model, mileage and color are just what they are looking for, if the vehicle has even a faint smell of tobacco smoke it is no longer the choice for many car buyers today.
The odor of tobacco smoke is the result of the “off-gassing” of the residual solids of tar and nicotine trapped in the fabric of headliners, upholstery, and carpeting. Those solids are also adhered to the interior trim, dashboards and heating and A/C ducts. If all of the residue is not destroyed smoke odors will remain or return.
Off-gassing describes the natural process of solids and liquids emitting molecules of their composition into the surrounding atmosphere. Off-gassing is virtually unstoppable unless the source is either sealed at the molecular level or eliminated altogether. If the source of the off-gassing remains and is exposed, the odors of the off-gassing will also remain.
Therefore, effective deodorization of tobacco smoke in a vehicle requires the destruction of the residual tars and nicotine, not only from the air but from the sub-surface of the porous fabrics themselves. Only recently has that process become practical.
Shampooing the upholstery and carpeting of a vehicle, plus cleaning the dash and hard surfaces of its interior can be somewhat effective if done with diligence by the detailer. The problem remains however unless the solids of the tar and nicotine are also destroyed.
Ozone is a wonderful natural remedy for eliminating the chemicals in the air, and even on surfaces. However, since the smoke has likely been absorbed into the porous fabric of the headliner over an extended period of time, unless ozone is given equal time to be absorbed it can only attack the surface. Once an ozone treatment is finished the embedded solids continue their off-gassing and a few days (hours?) in the sun and your non-smoking buyer is again discouraged by the presence of the smoke odor when the door is opened on a warm July day.
To eliminate any odor source, including smoke, a solution that destroys the solids must make contact with that source. The delivery of an effective solution for the job must occur with minimal saturation. Once accomplished, the same process eliminates the need for shampooing either the carpeting or upholstery and thereby brings no added risk of mildew odor from mold caused by the excessive moisture that often remains after shampooing.
Sniferz “It works!”