How to Get Campfire Smoke Smell Out of Clothes

Those long summer nights by the campfire are, in many ways, irreplaceable. The smell and sounds of nature, resting while gazing at the fire, the warmth during a chilly evening, and the simplicity of the three chords that one of your friends is able to play on the guitar. That’s what camping is all about.

On the other side of the coin, once the fairy tale is over, you’re about to head back to your everyday life, but you may come to an unpleasant realization: your clothes smell like smoked meat. This is not how you want to attend school or work tomorrow.

To help you prevent this from happening and avoid having your favorite cozy outfit smelling like ham, we’ve compiled this guide on how to get bonfire smoke smell out of clothes without much effort. Let’s dig in.

How to Get Campfire Smoke Smell Out of Clothes With Washing

If you can tolerate your clothes smelling like smoke during the camping trip, you can then wait to get home and apply some of our suggested techniques. 

If you want an immediate solution during your trip, maybe try some of the tips on how to get smoke smell out of clothes in general and how to get fire smoke smell out of clothes. 

Warm Wash

Warm water is a very well-known tool for getting smelly odor molecules out of fabric. It helps the fibers expand and let the smell molecules out. It also lets the good-smelling detergent molecules in more easily.

Having said that, remember to check the washing symbols and labels on your clothes so you don’t damage the fabric.

Vinegar Absorber

Whether you’re doing a warm or cold wash, there’s nothing like a cup of white vinegar to absorb the stinky campfire smoke smell molecules from your clothes.

The acetic acid has the power to break the odor molecules in the fabric fibers down that otherwise may be unreachable to the detergent. White vinegar may have a strong odor before application, but its smell wears off very quickly.

Also, you can add it to your washing machine, to any program, but also to the handwashing solution.

Baking Soda

Similar to vinegar, baking soda is one of the multi-purpose cleaning products that almost every household has. It is also very efficient at removing odors, smoke included. Half a cup of baking soda can do miracles when added to the washing machine or the handwashing solution.

When adding the baking soda to the washing machine, make sure to do it after the beginning of the washing cycle because it’ll mix much better.

Baking soda is almost as efficient as vinegar, but many people find it easier to use because it’s powdered. 

Enzyme Cleaner

Enzyme cleaner belongs to the big guns of smoke smell removers. If none of the simpler techniques have been helpful, consider trying the enzyme cleaner.

Enzyme cleaners have quite different mechanics compared to traditional cleaning products. Enzyme cleaners employ a good type of bacteria to make the campfire smoke smell disappear from the fabric fibers.

Enzyme cleaners are very powerful when it comes to removing heavier odors such as smoke or even mildew and mold. However, before applying them to your clothes, again, make sure to check whether they can damage the fabric.

How to Get Rid of Campfire Smoke Smell Without Washing

If you’re in a rush and in need of an immediate solution for your campfire smoke-soaked outfit, here are some quick recommendations.


If you’re out camping with friends, it’s highly likely that you’ll find a bottle of liquor somewhere around. However, to get rid of smoke smells, you can’t use just any liquor. The only odorless one is vodka. If you have no vodka, ethanol should do — maybe you have some in the first aid kit.

Heat up water on the fire and mix it with vodka or ethanol in a 1:4 ratio. Then, soak your clothes in the mixture.

The alcohol should be able to loosen up the campfire smoke odor molecules sticking to the fabric cloth, and the water will help rinse them away.

At first, you will probably smell like a wild party (but at least not like campfire smoke!), but that will change as soon as the liquor evaporates.

Lemon Juice

If you’ve remembered to bring some immunity system boosters in the form of lemons to your camping trip, this might be an unexpected way to make use of them. Similar to white vinegar and acetic acids, citric acids from the lemons have their ways of neutralizing bad smells.

Perhaps you’ve noticed how many household cleaning liquids contain lemon, lime, or orange scent. Well, now you know why.

If you’re working with whole lemons, simply cut them into halves and squeeze them into a bag. Add water and zip the bag tightly. Let it sit for at least one hour and rinse.

If you don’t have fresh lemons but ready-made lemon juice, then apply the same technique as you would with the liquor. Dissolve the juice in water in a 1:4 ratio.


In the case of milder campfire smoke odor lingering on your clothes, and if none of the mentioned products are available to you, you can try leaving your clothes in the sun for an hour or two. It would be even better if you could soak them in warm water and leave them out in the sun to dry. 

The sun is usually quite effective at getting rid of unpleasant odors, and if there’s some breeze, it should help take the stinky campfire smoke molecules off and away from your clothes’ fibers.

Dryer Sheets

If by any chance you’ve packed a set of dryer sheets, you can use them to wipe your clothing pieces, as they should help eliminate unpleasant campfire smoke odor molecules. These are usually scented, so they will, in addition, replace the unwanted odors with a nice, fresh, and clean smell.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a champ at absorbing all kinds of toxins, and most people know its capabilities when it comes to food poisoning. However, not many know how effective it can be for odor neutralization.

The heat or chemical treatment used in the production of the active charcoal makes it very porous and, thus, a powerful odor absorber.

You can buy powdered active charcoal, put the powder in a thin fabric bag, and put it in a box or bag with campfire smoke-affected clothes. One or two days should be enough to get the odors out, but if possible, feel free to leave them even longer — it won’t do any harm!

Final Word

Getting campfire smoke stuck in your clothing can be irritating and unpleasant, especially because it can result in headaches and nausea. If you have time, the best solution is to wash your clothes using white vinegar, scented detergent, or an enzyme cleaner.

If you’re after a one-stop solution and simply can’t return home smelling like smoke, we recommend using charcoal, dryer sheets, lemon juice, or simply leaving your clothes outside in the sunshine. 

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