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How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Clothes

You like to have a cigarette or two throughout the day. Maybe you have a few buddies who like to have a cigarette with you. Either way, there’s a good chance that your clothing comes away from the day smelling like an ashtray.

What’s worse is that without good products to get the smoke smells out of clothes, you can spread that ashtray smell throughout your entire wardrobe. The odor particles can mingle in the laundry, spread to other clothes, and make everything smell like stale cigarettes.

That odor then wafts off you wherever you happen to go.

If presenting that odor in public is bothersome to you, then here are some solutions that you can implement today to help your clothes smell fresh and clean, instead of old and stale.

Best Products to Get the Smoke Smell Out of Clothes

For many smokers, using a strong laundry detergent while following the care instructions on their favorite clothes is enough to get the smoke smell out. Over time, however, those clothes may begin to retain more odor particles that the detergent can no longer reach. The dryer will then reinforce the particles into the clothing, making it more difficult to remove them in future washes.

That’s why these are the best products to get the smoke smell out of clothing. They penetrate deeply into the fabrics and work with your laundry habits to ensure your clothes can once again smell fresh and clean.

PictureNameOur RatingPrice
Mold Monster Agent 420 Odor Eliminator 4.0
Puracy Natural Stain and Odor Eliminator 4.5
Smoke Blaster Natural Instant Smoke Remover 4.3
Unique Natural Products 212 Complete Odor Remover 4.0
Odoreze Natural Clothing Smell Removal Concentrate 5.0
Smelleze Reusable Closet Smell Removal Deodorizer Pouch 4.4
Nature's Miracle Original Stain and Odor Remover 4.3
Zorbx Undetected Odor Remover Extra Strength 4.4
Glade Fabric and Air Odor Eliminator 4.3
Febreze In-Wash Laundry Odor Eliminator 4.5
PictureNameOur RatingPrice

5 Steps You Can Take Right Now to Remove Smoke Odors

If your clothing is smelling a little ripe because of cigarette smoke exposure, then there are some steps that you can take right now to improve their cleanliness. Always test a small spot on your clothing to ensure these cleaning methods won’t alter the color.

  1. Fill your washing machine with water without placing your clothing in it. Then add white vinegar into the water so the acidity can soften the tar molecules that may be retaining cigarette odors. You’ll need 1 cup of vinegar for most washing machines, but large capacity units may require 2 cups of vinegar.
  2. Soak your clothing in the water/vinegar mixture in the washing machine for at least 1 hour.
  3. If your washing machine doesn’t allow a pre-soak, then use your kitchen sink, a bathtub, or another basin. Cut the vinegar to 1/2 cup if you use a kitchen or bathroom sink to soak your clothing.
  4. After soaking the clothing, wash them as normal. If the clothing is especially pungent after the pre-soak, consider adding 1 cup of baking soda and soaking the clothing for another 30-60 minutes before washing them.
  5. Hang the clothing out to dry. You can hang them on a towel rack or over the back of a chair if you don’t have a clothing line outside.

Dryer sheets are effective at removing smoke odors as well. You’ll need to seal the affecting clothing in a bag and then add a dryer sheet to it. For every item of clothing you seal-in using this method, you’ll need one dryer sheet. The bag or container should be large enough that the dryer sheets don’t need to touch the clothing. Then replace the dryer sheets every 48 hours until the smoke odor disappears.

Here’s a pro tip. If your regular detergent isn’t touching the cigarette smoke odors, consider purchasing a product that is designed to wash horse blankets. These detergents are safe to use and have powerful deodorizers that can effectively remove smoke odors from your clothing in a single wash.

How to Properly Use Odor Eliminators with Your Clothing

Odor eliminators need to be used in a specific way to work the smoke, nicotine, and tar particles out of clothing. Tar particles solidify within the fabric of clothes, so they must be softened to have the washing machine be able to agitate them out.

Because of the smoke particles, nicotine, and chemicals that cigarettes contain, its exposure to clothing is similar to a grease stain. Treating it like a grease stain with an odor eliminator is an effective way to remove that stale smoke odor once and for all.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using their product with clothing. 

The first step to take when cleaning clothes with a smoke odor eliminator is to pre-treat the clothing as if it had one giant stain. If you’re dealing with the first exposure as a non-smoker, create a pre-soak in a sink with the affected clothing and use a non-colored dish soap. Agitate the water until you get bubbles and then soak the clothes for about 60 minutes.

Use hot or cold water based on the care instructions on the garment.

For cigarette odor spots where smoke has interacted with the clothing in areas with heavy concentration, you can directly apply non-colored dish soap or your preferred laundry detergent to the area. Work the product in with your fingers and then rinse it off before adding it back to your laundry.

Once you’ve treated the clothing for the grease, you’re ready to use your preferred deodorizer or cleaning product.

If the odor is particularly resistant, then repeat the applications until the odor is removed.

Tips to Help You Get Stubborn Smoke Smell Out

Even when you’ve followed all the steps outlined above, used your preferred products, and take proactive steps to keep smoke smell out of your clothing, it can still linger. How can you get the most stubborn smoke smells out of your clothing?
Here are some tips that can help you find those last few particles of tar, smoke, or chemicals from cigarette smoke that may cause persistent odors.

  • Keep the clothes out of the hamper. When you smell clothes that have bad odors in them in an enclosed environment, you will create a recipe for lingering foul odors. Keep the clothing out of any hampers, bags, or lockers to prevent the odors from getting sealed into the clothing.
  • Turn your clothes right-side out before washing them. Many people tend to turn their clothes inside-out when taking them off. The smoke odors tend to be on the outside of the clothing, not the inside, so make sure the affected clothes have the maximum exposure to your deodorizers and soaps to remove the smell.
  • Make sure your clothing passes the smell test. If your clothing still smells like smoke and you put them in the dryer, no dryer sheet will be able to save the clothes from having the odor baked into them. Every dryer session with a present smoke odor will make it more difficult to remove it in future washes.
  • Wash the clothing immediately. If you can wash your affected clothes the same day, you have a better chance of removing the offending odors right away.
  • Let the clothes air out first. Sometimes a little fresh air can do a lot of good for your clothing. Lay the clothes outside so they can get some air before applying your detergents, soaps, or deodorizers. By removing some of the odor particles naturally, your preferred solution can become more effective.
  • Keep the washing machine loose. Don’t pack the washing machine full of clothes. Wash the affected clothing together to prevent further wardrobe contamination. It’s better to wash three small loads than two medium or one large load when trying to remove the smoke smell from clothing.

If you’re still struggling to get the smoke smell out, consider using a baking soda wash with your clothing through the washing machine. Just add a cup of pure baking soda to the washing machine after the water level tops off and you’ll be able to remove a surprising amount of odor.

Although boxed baking soda works just as well as bagged baking soda, the larger bags tend to have a better price-per-ounce.

Prices of Smoke Smell Removing Agents for Clothes

Most deodorizers, cleaning agents, and smoke smell removers are a cost-effective way to improve your wardrobe. Even if the smells are “baked” into the garment, a few repetitive washes are often enough to reduce or eliminate the stale cigarette smell that can linger.

These products can be separated into three primary categories: spray-on deodorizers, laundry enhancers, and in-wash deodorizers.

Spray-on deodorizers tend to be the cheapest products in this category, with most priced under $20. Several options are available for about $10. They are good for light smells from a first-time exposure.

Laundry enhancers are a good option for people who smoke regularly or hang around others who like to smoke. Adding these items to your laundry and then washing the clothes in small batches can effectively remove odors. Expect to pay $20-$30 for most products like this.

In-wash deodorizers work best for the baked-in smells of cigarettes that the dryer has left behind. You’ll need to run the clothing through several washes with this type of product to fully eliminate the smoke smell, but the job usually gets done. Expect to pay about $25-$35 for most products in this category.

Reviews You Can Use for Clothing Smoke Smell Removers

Mold Monster

This product does an excellent job of breaking down the smoke odors without needing to rinse the clothing. It is a product that is based on tea tree oil, which helps to eliminate odors at the molecular level. Just spray it onto your clothing and let it begin to do the work. You will want to wash your clothing afterward because the tea tree oil odor can be somewhat strong, but otherwise, you’ll find this to be a product that effectively refreshes your clothing.

Click here to find the best price on Amazon.


This natural stain remover does an excellent job of removing stain spots and odors that cigarettes can leave behind. We appreciate the fact that this product is not colored, so there is less of a risk of clothing damage with it. The product is based on 6 plant-based enzymes that are suitable for hypoallergenic needs while removing odors on virtually any type of clothing. The only thing you can’t use this product on is your dry-clean only clothing. Grab it today and we think you’ll love it as much as we did.

Click here to find the best price on Amazon.

Smoke Blaster

This is the odor remover you’ll want to use if you do a lot of traveling. It does an excellent job of removing smoke odors immediately. It doesn’t mask the smell. It neutralizes it. You’ll notice the change immediately. It’s safe to use on your hands or hair if you’re in an environment that covered you in cigarette smoke as well. Each bottle provides you with about 250 sprays and your purchase today gets you two bottles. One note: it isn’t intended to be used on children.

Click here to find the best price on Amazon.


We really enjoyed the effectiveness of this product on old, stale smells that cigarettes can leave behind in clothing. It’s safe around the family and your pets and will work to remove stains while the clothes soak. Old stains, new stains – it doesn’t matter. Now it is a concentrated formula, so don’t apply it directly to your clothing. We found a direct application could alter the feel or color of our test clothing. For tough odors, use a sponge on the clothing with this item and you’ll get a lot of success.

Click here to find the best price on Amazon.


This is another concentrated odor remover that is bio-based. You don’t need to worry about chemicals or phosphates at all. It is an in-wash product that needs to be added to your regular cycle. Don’t use it as a pre-treater or it will stain your clothes. Once the washing machine is filled with water, use the recommended amount and you’ll find the smoke smell can be reduced immediately. Even with old, stale odors, in just 3 washes we had a successful experience with this product.

Click here to find the best price on Amazon.


Sometimes the smoke odors don’t need to come out in the wash. With the right product, you can absorb those odors straight from the closet. That’s what this effective product will do for you. Not only does it remove that nasty closet smell, but also it improves the smell of your clothing at the same time. It’s a reusable product too, which is a definite bonus, and it neutralizes the odors instead of masking them like similar products tend to do. Use it on its own or supplement it with other products in this category to have awesome clothes once again.

Click here to find the best price on Amazon.

Nature’s Miracle

This is the product you’ll want to have at the ready when you have powerful smoke smells to get out of your clothing. As an added benefit, you can also use this product on your carpets, floors, and furniture. It is one of the few products that are guaranteed to permanently eliminate the stains and odors that are in your clothing. The best value is to purchase the 1-gallon bottle, but sprays and bottles in smaller sizes are also available. If you have a tough job in front of you, get this item and eliminate your worries.

Click here to find the best price on Amazon.


What we appreciated about this odor removal product is that it is unscented. There’s no guessing if you’ve removed the stale smoke smell from your clothes or not. There’s no mixing required with this product either. It’s rated to work for individuals with allergy or asthma concerns as well. Just spray it on the affected clothing and let it air out. Then wash on a normal cycle and you’ll be amazed at how clean and fresh it will smell coming out of the dryer.

Click here to find the best price on Amazon.


We feel this is more of a masking agent than a true deodorizer, but sometimes that’s what you need in an emergency. You can spray it in the air to improve odors there and see an immediate impact when sprayed on clothing. We did find this product to be effective when added in the bleach area of the washing machine during a normal cycle. For tough odors, consider spraying the clothing with this item and then moving to a true deodorizer for professional-quality results.

Click here to find the best price on Amazon.


This in-wash odor eliminator gives you an option to eliminate odors right at their source. It is safe to use with all standard detergents. It will also work with fabric softeners, bleach, various soaps, and other laundry additives. We wouldn’t recommend using it with a vinegar soak, however, as the results we experienced were mixed. It is a professional-strength formula that will reduce or eliminate even the toughest odors on a single wash. If you smoke regularly or are around others who do, then you’re going to want this product.

Click here to find the best price on Amazon.

The best products to get the smoke smell out of clothing will breathe new life into your favorite outfits. Don’t settle for smelling like an ashtray anymore. Find the items that will best meet your needs today and let them eliminate cigarette odors once and for all.

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