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How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Clothes: 9 Camper Tips

Camping season is here! Songs and tasty snacks around the campfire will become a favorite pastime again. Roasting marshmallows for s’mores will be the go-to treat while at the campground. 

But what happens when campfire smoke gets into your clothes? Get the smoke smells out with washing and non-washing procedures. Tips to get the smoke smell out of clothes include water temperature, booster beads, essential oils, baking soda, dryer sheets, and odor eliminating spray.

how to get smoke smell out of clothes

Washing Your Clothes: Getting Smoke Out

If you have access to a laundry room at your campground (or don’t mind handwashing) here’s how to get smoke out of your clothes.

1. Hot Water Instead of Cold

A scientific study showed that if clothes had an odor on them, people were more likely to use hot water rather than cold water to launder them.

The higher temperature of a liquid means that the molecules move more quickly. Hence, the rapidly moving water molecules can cut through water-soluble stains on clothing and remove odors. 

When washing your clothes in hot water, do not expose them too long.

While hot water can effectively remove stains and odors, it can also cause shrinkage over time. Be sure to rinse with cold water to reduce the likelihood of your clothes shrinking. 

2. Use Scent Booster Beads

Sure, laundry detergent can leave your clothes smelling good and remove some odors. But it is not as concentrated of a solution as scent booster beads.

Bring your favorite scent booster beads to the campground to wash your clothes in a washer or a basin by hand. 

Add the laundry beads to the water with your detergent as you wash them in a basin or using a commercial washer.

The scent booster beads will dissolve into the hot water and distribute a pleasing scent into your clothes, removing the smoke smell. 

The fresh scent from any laundry washing beads that you pick may last up to 3 months with the same lovely-smelling clothes.  

3. Add an Essential Oil 

Essential oils including pine, lemongrass, and eucalyptus can remove campfire smoke and other odors from your clothing.

Lavender, sage, peppermint, and rosemary also work on how to get smoke smell out of clothes. 

  1. Soak your clothes in hot water, then place 10-15 drops of your favorite odor-eliminating essential oil into the basin or washing machine.
  2. Wash the clothes as with your chosen method.
  3. To reduce heat damage to your clothing, hang it outside at your campsite to dry rather than running a commercial dryer. 
smoky campfire smell

4. Throw in Baking Soda

Adding baking soda while washing your clothes can help eliminate the campfire smoke odor on garments. 

  1. Have hot water ready in your laundry basin or campground washing machine.
  2. Put in your favorite laundry detergent per the instructions on the bottle.
  3. Let it wash until it hits the rinse cycle.
  4. Open the washer and place in a half to a full cup of baking soda

5. Use Vinegar

When your washer is on the rinse cycle, adding a half cup of distilled white vinegar would be one way to remove the smoke smell from clothes.

If you are using a washbasin, wash your clothes with detergent first.

Refill the basin with cold water and mix it with a half cup of vinegar. 

get smoke smell out of clothing

Enjoy campfires? Check out all our guides to campfire fun!

Without Washing Your Clothes to Get Rid of Smoke

What if you go to a camping ground that does not have a laundry room?

Maybe you do not want to bother with the extra time required for handwashing clothes. 

1. Bring Dryer Sheets 

While it may sound odd, have a small box of dryer sheets and some large Ziplock freezer storage plastic bags in your camping bag. You can use any brand or scent of dryer sheets of your choice.

Take the shirt, pair of pants, or another article of clothing with a smoke smell and place it inside the Ziplock bag. 

2. Hang Up Your Clothing Outside

Find a place at your campsite to hang your clothes. You can bring a clothesline and install it between two trees or other fixtures near your campsite. For this tip, have some hangers or clothespins on hand. 

Hang up the garment in the fresh air away from your campfire and barbecuing area. Give it 2-3 hours there before giving it a sniff test. If there is a bit of a breeze, it will improve even faster.

The smokey smell will disappear as the garment sits in the fresh air. If you want to use this tip, check the Air Quality Index in your area for that day to remove the smell more quickly and efficiently. 

3. Odor-eliminating Spray 

Grab a Febreze, Odoban, or Tide odor-eliminating spray from your local store for your camping trip.

If you do not have this on hand, add at least 20 drops of your favorite odor-eliminating essential oil into a spray bottle filled with water for a homemade solution. 

  1. When you notice your clothes smell like campfire smoke, hang them on a hanger or clothesline.
  2. Spray the front and back of the garment with as many sprays as you want.
  3. Let it air dry for a few hours outside your sleeping quarters and away from the campfire area.

4. Bring a Portable Propane Fire Pit

Stop the campfire smell altogether by bringing a portable propane fire pit.

You can enjoy the campfire without the campfire smoke smell because burning propane does not let off odors like traditional campfires. 

getting smoke smell out of clothing

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of methods for removing the smell of smoke from clothes. Whether washing is available or you need to use another option, these odor-eliminating solutions will help remove smoke from your clothing.

How do you clean your smokey-smelling clothes? Which tip are you going to try? Let me know in the comments!