Campfires are fun. Smoke smell is not. Here’s how to get rid of it.
Who doesn’t love a good cookout around a campfire? It’s the perfect place for making s’mores, grilling hotdogs, and cooking all kinds of fun camping meals. However, the drawback is the smoky smell that clings to your clothes for days or weeks afterward. We’re here to help you know how to get the campfire smell out of clothes.
Because this is a common issue that many people face, there are tons of solutions to this problem. Some work well for laundry machines, while others can be done with a few simple household supplies.
Homemade Ways to Get Campfire Smell Out of Clothes and Other Fabric
Most options are cheap and easy, so everyone should be able to find at least one option that works well for them. Check out the list below for 9 helpful ways to get the campfire smell out of clothes.
Time and Fresh Air
The first technique is the simplest one! Fresh air does wonders for clothing that’s holding onto a smokey smell. After all, smoke in the air is what caused this issue in the first place. If you let the affected clothing sit out in fresh air for long enough, the odor will dissipate on its own.
Just hang the clothes outside on a clothesline, or even over a deck railing. Plenty of sun and fresh air will work wonders. The drawback of this method is that it can sometimes take a while for the clothes to smell normal again. If the weather is bad and air-drying isn’t a viable option, you also cannot do this.
Baking soda is a fantastic solution for all kinds of cleaning issues. This miraculous powder can also come in handy when it comes to getting campfire smell out of clothes. All you need to do is place the smokey clothes into a large bag or plastic tub. Make sure it can close/seal tightly.
Then you just add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the mix. Close the container up and shake the clothes thoroughly. Make sure you flip and rotate the container during this process so that the baking powder can coat every item thoroughly. Now you just need to let the clothes and baking powder sit overnight. In the morning you can shake the baking powder off and run the clothes through a standard washer to remove any residue. They’ll be smelling normal again in no time!
Hot Water, Vinegar, and Baking Soda
Although baking soda is effective on its own, you can also use it in combination with hot water and vinegar for fast-acting results. After all, vinegar is a tried and true method for sanitizing items and removing unwanted odors.
Begin by soaking the affected clothing in hot water. Lay them out on a flat surface, and sprinkle baking soda over the damp fabric. Next, spray white vinegar over the clothes until the mixture starts to fizz. Now you just need to let it sit for 30-60 minutes. Finally, you can dunk the clothes in clean water again and squeeze out the remaining baking powder and vinegar. By this point, the campfire smell should be gone and you can toss the clothes in a standard washer again.
Steam is a great way to remove smoky smells from clothes. If the affected clothes are safe to use an iron on, feel free to run a steam iron over the fabric. The steam works through the fibers of the clothes and pulls out the smoke residue.
If your clothes cannot handle being ironed, you can still use steam as a solution! Simply hang up the clothes in your bathroom and run the RV shower on its hottest setting. Because you want the heat and moisture to build up, make sure you close the doors and windows and turn off any ventilation fans.
If you use the shower method, let the water run for 5-10 minutes. Once you turn the water off, you can continue to let the clothes sit until the temperature cools. Finally, open up the bathroom and let fresh air in. It’s best to air-dry clothes after this, but the majority of the smokey smell should be gone by this point.
Plastic bag and dryer sheet
Dryer sheets are another low-budget solution to the smoke problem. If you need to get the campfire smell out of clothes and have limited resources, this is an easy fix. It’s similar to the baking soda method. All you need is a couple of dryer sheets and a plastic bag or tub that can be sealed.
Throw the smoky clothes into the container and add a couple of fresh dryer sheets. Now just let it sit for a day or two. When you open it up again, the dryer sheet should have absorbed most of the odor. If it’s still stronger than you would like, replace the dryer sheets with fresh ones and wait for another day or two.
There are quite a few manufactured products that were made to remove unpleasant odors from clothes. So, if you want to go with a store-bought solution to this problem, you’ve got quite a few options! Plain distilled vinegar works pretty well as an odor-eliminator. If you spray a bit over your clothes, it will remove the smell of smoke. Of course, you may smell a bit like vinegar instead, but this can be washed out pretty easily.
A good commercial product is Febreze Fabric Spray. This works on a wide variety of fabrics and gives clothes a fresh, clean smell. A quick spray will get rid of most of the campfire smell, but you may need to do one of the alternative methods as well.
Laundry Add-ins to Remove Campfire Smell
If you want a quick solution, try adding a special ingredient to your next load of laundry. Freshly squeezed lemon juice can work wonders when it comes to getting a campfire smell out of clothes. The citric acid has a pleasant smell, plus it binds to odors and neutralizes them. Simply add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to a load of laundry. Pour it directly onto the clothes so it will get mixed in during the cleaning process. The smoke smell will disappear and you’ll be left with a pleasant lemon scent instead.
Can Vodka Remove Campfire Smell?
Alcohol is also pretty effective at neutralizing campfire smells. Vodka or other types of rubbing alcohol are perfect add-ins for smoky laundry. They penetrate deep into the clothing and will remove the smoke residue. Once again, you can get by with 1/2 cup of vodka per laundry load.
Laundry Scent Boosters
There are also strong laundry detergents that are made specifically for removing stubborn odors. Adding a laundry scent booster will keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean, even if they were recently exposed to a stinky campfire.
You can make your own laundry scent boosters with sugar, salt, essential oils, etc. However, a good commercial solution is the Downy Light Laundry Scent Booster Beads. These are popular and effective for removing odors in the laundry. Even though it might feel like you’re stuck with smoky clothes forever, there are lots of ways to solve this problem!