Will Vaping Destroy Your Car’s Interior?

Yes, vaping can compromise a car’s interior. Vaping leaves a sticky residue on windows and other parts inside a vehicle due to vegetable glycerin (VG) found in vape liquid. 

Vaping can saturate vehicles with chemicals resulting in cosmetic issues and a lasting smell.

When you exhale and blow a vape cloud, you are leaving vegetable glycerin debris along the inside of the vehicle. 

Vegetable glycerin is an e-liquid ingredient that can stick to car windows due to its oily properties. The oil can leave windows looking dirty and cloudy.

Not only can vaping products be harmful cosmetically, but vaping can impair your vision while driving, especially in the cold. 

The film on windows, caused by smoking and cold weather, will make visibility challenging. 

This can be hazardous and potentially life-threatening when you are operating a vehicle.

Vaping may sound less harmful to one’s car than smoking cigarettes because it has no ash, but a smart motorist will consider the effects vaping products have inside their vehicles.

Common Damage to Car Interiors from Vape Use

The main issue with vaping inside a car is the debris it leaves left behind. 

But other problems can occur from smoking e-cigarettes, such as stains, bad aromas, and spillage of e-liquid.

For example, smokers find that cigarette smoke attaches itself to everything it comes in contact with. 

Using e-cigarettes is similar to smoking traditional cigarettes in that it can stain the walls and fabric of a car’s interior. 

However, it may take longer for e-cigarette stains to appear, in comparison to the smell and ash left behind from smoking a cigarette.

Cigarette smoke is known to leave a strong, unpleasant smell, but vaping will also leave a persisting odor. 

Vaping can leave a lingering smell of overcooked popcorn for 5-10 minutes after smoking. This may not seem like a big deal, but the overcooked popcorn scent can easily saturate the seats. 

Another challenge to vaping while driving is that vehicles are not designed to hold e-cigarettes. 

E-cigarettes became popular in the mid-2000s, so manufacturers have yet to incorporate storage for such devices into their new designs. 

E-cigarette users find it annoying that there’s no place to store their vape without worrying about a spill.

This storage issue can cause e-cigarettes containing sub-ohm and clearomizer tanks to spill. 

Sub-ohm and clearomizer tanks are commonly found in larger, more advanced types of vape devices. 

These leaks can damage upholstery and be a big challenge to clean up due to the thickness of the fluid.

How to Limit Vape Damage?

One way to limit the residue left from vaping is to purchase a vape with lower vegetable glycerin oil content. These can be found on some tobacco websites.

Another way to limit the sticky residue on the car’s interior is to frequently replace your cabin air filter. A new cabin air filter can cost anywhere from $30-$70 online. 

A good tip for reducing vape residue is to open the windows when vaping to create constant airflow throughout the vehicle.

Humidity and condensation inside the vehicle can trigger the vapor to seep deep into the seat’s fabric. 

Excess moisture trapped inside a vehicle can create mold and bad smells. 

Reduce moisture in your car by opening the windows often to create consistent airflow.

A good trick to reduce moisture in your car is to fill a sock with kitty litter and keep it under the car seat. 

The kitty litter absorbs moisture, but be advised, it may give off an unpleasant odor. 

Spreading loose baking soda on the seats or floormats is also a good solution for absorbing unwanted moisture.

Tips for Removing Car Window Residue Caused by Vaping

Here are some easy, at-home methods for removing vape residue that has built up on car windows. These tips are free of chemicals and budget-friendly.

  • Microfiber cloths. Use a dry microfiber cloth to rub the sticky residue off the window. These clothes help make cars’ interiors and exteriors shine.
  • Vinegar. The combination of water and 1/3 cup of vinegar is the best way to remove debris from windows. Use a newspaper to dip into the liquid and scrub the surfaces and upholstery till the residue is gone.
  • Elbow Grease. It may be old-fashioned, but elbow grease can go a long way. Break out the soap and water and scrub away.

Does Cigarette Smoke in the Car Bring Down its Value?

Yes, according to Kelley Blue Book, smoking inside a vehicle results in lowered resale value. 

A car’s value is 7.7% less than a smoke-free car and 87% of people said they will not touch a used vehicle if it smells of e-cigarette or cigarettes.

If retaining the value of your car is a concern, refrain from using e-cigarettes or any smoking product while driving. 

A clean, well-maintained vehicle is your best chance of maximizing its resale value.

Does Vaping Cause Second-Hand Smoke Inside the Car?

Yes, vaping can affect non-smokers by breathing in second-hand smoke, toxins, and other chemicals. 

Although scientists don’t have as much data as they do on traditional cigarettes, studies show vaping has many of the same risks of secondhand contact as smoking.

This is especially true for children. According to the Smart Motorist, children have smaller lungs and less developed immune systems. 

Vaping has a greater impact on a child’s lungs and is a substantial health risk.

Over time, the smoke in the vehicle will accumulate in the form of dust on surfaces within the car and create a harmful environment, making breathing difficult. 

The scent left behind from vaping can linger for weeks or months and may require professional cleaning to completely eliminate it. 

An ozone generator, available at most hardware stores, is one effective way to remove unwanted odors from your vehicle.


A smart motorist knows vaping inside a vehicle has a variety of negative effects and can reduce overall market value. This includes unpleasant odors, window residue, and stains. 

Vaping is also a harmful, second-hand smoke environment for passengers. Think again before driving and smoking or vaping.