After a relaxing evening chilling by the campfire, roasting marshmallows and laughing with your friends and family, good memories aren’t all you’re left with the next day.
You’ve also now got the lingering odor of campfire smoke on your clothes – and getting it rid of it can be a real pain.
Luckily for you, in this article, I’m going to teach you how to get campfire smell out of clothes. Whether you’re still at the campsite or back at home, or even trying to get the smell out of clothes that are dry clean only, there’s a solution for everyone.
Want to find out more? Let’s get straight into it.
How To Get Campfire Smell Out Of Clothes At Home
No camping trip is complete without nights spent relaxing by the campfire and cooking up a storm. But, the last thing you want to do when you get back home from a camping trip is to spend hours removing the campfire smell from your clothes.
No – you want it done quickly and painlessly.
That’s why I’ve included a whole bunch of great methods, almost all of which are:
- Super easy
There’s even a clever tip for getting the smoke smell out of your hair, too.
Note: these methods are for your clothes! To learn how to wash your sleeping bag, check out this article.
Vinegar is amazing when it comes to cleaning just about anything, and clothes are no different. Adding a cup of vinegar to your load will get rid of even the most stubborn odors.
Alternatively, you can soak your clothes in a mixture of water and vinegar before washing them. If you’re soaking your clothes, use a cup of vinegar for every gallon of water.
Other than fighting odors, vinegar has a range of other benefits for your washing, too. It’s great at removing stains, it softens your fabrics, and it protects the colors in your clothes from fading. Plus, it’s even great for your washing machine, as it keeps it nice and clean.
White vinegar is generally considered to be the best, but I’ve also used apple cider vinegar and it works just as well if you ask me.
Another great method for ridding your clothes of that smoky odor if you don’t have any vinegar on hand is baking soda. Add anywhere between half a cup to a cup of baking soda into your load. The best thing to do is add half a cup at the beginning, and then another half a cup in the rinse cycle.
Baking soda also softens the water, so you actually don’t need to use as much laundry detergent as you usually would.
Dry cleaning generally isn’t as good at getting rid of smells as regular laundry. If you’ve got any smoky clothes that require dry cleaning, don’t worry. You can still get them smelling nice and fresh again without having to take the risk of running them through the washing machine.
The answer is dryer sheets!
All you have to do is stick 1 or 2 dryer sheets into a large plastic bag together with your close. Seal the bag shut and keep them in there for a few days, until the smoke odor is gone. Make sure to change the dryer sheets every other day, or they could end up staining your clothes.
Pro tip: dryer sheets can even be used to get the smell of smoke out of your hair. Just wipe your hair brush with a dryer sheet and brush your hair. Do this until you feel like you’ve got a nice amount all through your hair.
Et voilà! No more campfire smell, and your hair is smelling lovely again.
Another good way to remove smoke smell is to use activated charcoal. You just put some in a special sachet specifically designed for activated charcoal, and pop it in a drawer or container with your clothes for a few days. This should extract any stubborn smells.
Just be careful that the activated charcoal doesn’t come into contact with your clothes though, as it will definitely stain them.
Don’t have any activated charcoal lying around?
Not a problem.
Unused coffee grounds work just as well if you’re looking for a dry method.
Just pop some in a bowl and fold your clothes so that they sit over the bowl. Leave it to sit overnight and any bad smell on your clothes should have vanished by the next morning.
As with the charcoal, to avoid any stains, make sure your clothes don’t come into contact with the coffee grounds.
Using the hottest wash cycle on your washing machine is a good way to get rid of an unwanted odor. You can do this with towels and bed linen without any issues, but a lot of clothes are too delicate to withstand such high temperatures.
Still, a lot of clothes can be washed at 140°F and come out just fine. Check the tags on your clothes if you want to play it safe. Avoid washing anything that’s particularly delicate with hot water.
Materials such as wool, for instance, should always be washed at a lower temperature.
As far as I’m concerned, vinegar should be able to solve all your problems. But, if you haven’t had any luck with the above methods, you can try using a bio-enzymatic cleaner as a last resort.
These cleaning products are a sure-fire way to get rid of any and all odors or stains on your clothing.
They’re also great for cleaning your tent, and any other gear that needs a good clean after a camping trip.
How To Get Campfire Smell Out Of Clothes At The Campsite
Let’s face it.
Sometimes the smell is so bad you can’t wait until you’re back home.
You want it gone – NOW.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to get rid of those nasty smells right then and there.
Ever wondered why a lot of cleaning products and detergents are lemon scented?
(Or is it just me that lies awake at 2 AM thinking about these things?)
Well, anyway, it’s because the citric acid in lemons is great at neutralizing odors.
Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a spray bottle and fill the rest of it with warm water. Give your clothes a good spray (don’t hold back) and hang them up to dry.
If you haven’t got a spray bottle on hand, just squeeze the lemon juice into a bucket of water and dip your clothes into it. Wring them out before hanging them up to dry.
This should get rid of the campfire odor on your clothes very effectively.
Alcohol is another product you might have on hand at the campsite that can get the smoky smell out of your clothes.
Use it in the same way you would use lemon juice. That is, put a little bit (say, a quarter cup or so) of alcohol in a spray bottle with warm water and spray it into your clothes generously. Alternatively, dip your clothes into the mixture and wring them out.
Vodka works wonderfully for this, as it’s colorless and it doesn’t leave any unpleasant odors on your clothes. Pharmaceutical grade ethanol will also work well if you happen to have some on hand.
If you haven’t got any of the products I’ve mentioned on hand, another thing you can try is utilizing the UV rays provided by the good ol’ sun.
Heat some water up on the campfire and wash your clothes in warm water. Then, hang them up for a good few hours in direct sunlight.
UV rays kill the bacteria that are causing the smell, while the breeze simultaneously airs the clothes out.
This method is less effective than others, but it can actually make a huge difference in some cases, so it’s definitely worth a shot.
Now you know how to get campfire smell out of clothes.
In my opinion, vinegar is your best option. For a quick campsite solution, lemon juice and alcohol are both fantastic options as well.
Either way, you’ve probably got most of these things lying around already, so you should be able to get your clothes smelling fresh and clean again in no time.
More Ways to Clean Clothes & Gear
- How To Wash A Sleeping Bag (A Comprehensive Guide)
- Tent Maintenance: Can You Wash A Tent In A Front Loading Washing Machine?