How to Remove Campfire Smell from Clothing

There’s something magical about sitting around a campfire, sharing stories, and roasting marshmallows. However, the lingering smell of campfire smoke on your clothes can be less than enchanting. Fear not, campfire enthusiasts! We’ve got some tried-and-true methods to help you remove that smoky odor from your clothing.

a photo of a firepit with a smokey campfire

Why does campfire smoke stick to clothing?

Before we tackle the solutions, let’s briefly understand why campfire smoke lingers on your clothes. Smoke contains tiny particles and volatile organic compounds, which easily attach to fabric fibers. The smell can be persistent and difficult to remove, but don’t worry – we have you covered with the following tips and tricks.

Pre-treatment steps

Air out your clothes

Before washing your smoky garments, air them out for a few hours or overnight. Hang them outside or in a well-ventilated area to allow the fresh air to circulate and help dissipate some of the odor.

Shake off ash and soot

Make sure to shake off any visible ash and soot from your clothes before washing. This will prevent the particles from spreading during the washing process and potentially causing stains or further odor issues.

Washing methods to remove campfire smell

Use a vinegar and baking soda solution

Vinegar and baking soda are natural deodorizers and can help eliminate the campfire smell from your clothing. Add one cup of white vinegar to your washing machine during the rinse cycle, and then sprinkle half a cup of baking soda directly onto your clothes before starting the wash cycle. This combination will help neutralize the odor and leave your clothes smelling fresh.

Add some lemon juice

Lemon juice is another effective odor remover. Squeeze the juice from two lemons and add it to your washing machine during the rinse cycle. The acidity in the lemon juice will help break down the smoky odor and leave a pleasant, citrusy scent on your clothes.

Utilize activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is known for its odor-absorbing properties. Place a small bag of activated charcoal in your washing machine along with your smoky clothes. Run the wash cycle as usual, and the activated charcoal will help absorb the campfire odor.

Drying tips

After washing your clothes, hang them outside to air dry in the sunshine. The sun’s UV rays can help break down odor -causing molecules and further freshen up your garments. If outdoor drying isn’t an option, use a dryer with a low heat setting and toss in a dryer sheet for added fragrance. Avoid high heat, as it can sometimes cause odors to set into the fabric.

Additional odor-elimination techniques

Use dryer sheets

Dryer sheets can help mask any lingering campfire smell. Simply toss one or two sheets into the dryer with your clothes. The fragrance from the dryer sheets will infuse your garments, leaving them smelling fresh and clean.

Try fabric fresheners

Spray-on fabric fresheners, such as Febreze, can be helpful in removing stubborn odors. After washing and drying your clothes, give them a light misting of fabric freshener and allow them to air dry. The freshener will help neutralize any remaining campfire smell.

Opt for an odor-neutralizing laundry detergent

Some laundry detergents are specifically formulated to tackle tough odors. Look for products labeled as “odor-neutralizing” or “odor-fighting” to help remove the campfire smell from your clothing.

Prevention tips

To minimize the amount of campfire smell that clings to your clothes, try these prevention tips:

  1. Choose a seat upwind from the campfire to reduce the amount of smoke exposure.
  2. Wear a designated set of “campfire clothes” that you don’t mind smelling smoky.
  3. Keep a separate bag for smoky clothes to prevent the odor from spreading to other garments.


Can I use essential oils to remove campfire smell from clothing?

Yes, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the rinse cycle of your washing machine or to a dryer sheet to help eliminate the campfire smell and add a pleasant fragrance to your clothes.

Does dry cleaning remove campfire smell?

Dry cleaning can help remove campfire smell from clothing, particularly if the garment is made of delicate or non-washable materials. However, it’s essential to inform the dry cleaner about the source of the odor to ensure they use the appropriate cleaning methods.

Can I use regular white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar?

Yes, regular white vinegar works just as well as apple cider vinegar for removing campfire smell from clothing. In fact, it’s often preferred due to its neutral scent.

How long should I air out my clothes before washing them?

Airing out your clothes for a few hours or overnight should be enough to help dissipate some of the campfire smell. However, the longer you can air them out, the better.

What should I do if the campfire smell persists after washing and drying?

If the campfire smell lingers even after washing and drying, try repeating the washing process using a different odor-removal method, such as activated charcoal or lemon juice. Additionally, you can try using an odor-neutralizing laundry detergent or fabric freshener spray for extra odor-fighting power.

Removing campfire smell from clothing may seem challenging, but with these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to enjoy your campfire memories without the lingering odor. Just follow the pre-treatment steps, use the right washing methods, and employ additional odor-elimination techniques if needed.

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