How To Get Campfire Smell Out Of Clothes
Home » Clean Clothes » Smelly Clothes » How To Get Campfire Smell Out Of Clothes Effortlessly In 2024

How To Get Campfire Smell Out Of Clothes Effortlessly In 2024

Campfire Smell On Your Clothes
The best moment can turn into a nightmare with the campfire smell on your clothes!

“How to get campfire smell out of clothes” may be the only thing in your mind when you come home after a camping trip. Camping is an outdoor activity with so much fun! You can experience so many interesting moments, and gathering around the campfire is one of them.

The campfire smell is actually pleasant to some people, but only when it is fresh. When it is clinging to your clothes for an entire day, the woodsmoke scent may start to annoy you, and cause you a slight headache. So what can you do with it? Read this article now!

Why Does Campfire Smell Cling To Your Clothes?

Isn’t a campfire the most romantic and nostalgic part of camping? To sit around the dancing flames at night, gaze at the sparkling stars, grill the marshmallows, sing that one song stuck in your head, share and giggle with your friends about everything through the night!

The problem starts when the sun rises, you have to pack everything and get home. The unpleasant wood-burning smell keeps lingering on your clothes all the way home. So, where does the smell come from, and why does it cling to your garments?

There are three most important elements to make a campfire stay alive: oxygen, fuel, and heat. As long as there’s still the combination of these three things, the fire will burn powerfully.

A mixture of the particles and gases released from the burning fuel will become the smoke that lingers on you when you sit near the flames. The fire particles contain traces of metals, cellulose, nitrogen, which make the smoke observable during the combustion process.

The organic compounds in the campfire smoke are what linger on your clothes during the campfire night. Chemicals from the smoke are not harmful to your health, so don’t worry when you normally inhale.

The campfire odor may get stuck between the fibers of your clothes. The fibers may also absorb the smell by themselves. Because the areas between clothing fibers are super narrow, when the smell gets trapped, they cannot escape easily without any treatment. 

One effective way to avoid the campfire producing too much smoke that can linger on your clothes is using dry firewood instead of wet or greenwood. It will burn easier when you use dry wood because less energy is required, producing less smoke.

More tips on lighting a smokeless campfire are included in this video!

Watch this video: How To Make A Smokeless Campfire

5 Best Treatments To Remove The Campfire Smell From Clothes At Home

There are some popular detergents available around your house that you can use to treat the campfire odor after getting home. It is not tricky and does not take much of your time to eliminate that woodsmoke smell on your clothes.

Hot Water

You should always use hot water to treat the woodsmoke smell on your clothes. A basic wash is enough, but remember to use hot water for the whole washing process, even when you wash the clothes by hand or in the washing machine.

Pot Boiling Water Steam
Hot water is always helpful in ridding of weird smells on your clothes.


Step 1: Check the labels of your clothes considerably.

Some types of clothes or fabric cannot withstand the hot water, so you should make sure to check and jot down the hottest temperature that your laundry can endure. You can wash most clothes at 140oF, but it depends on many more elements such as textiles.

Step 2: Wash as usual.

You can either run a normal wash cycle in the washing machine or wash them by hand in a large tub. But the important thing is to use hot water instead of plain water. With the washing machine, you should set the highest temperature settings that your clothes can stand.

Step 3: Air dry your clothes.

Dry your washed items outdoors in breezy weather and under the sun for the campfire smell to evaporate completely.

This is just a basic washing method that you may use to wash your clothes everyday to get rid of any smell on clothes. But with the campfire smell, if it is still there on your clothes after washing, apply some other methods with more specific detergents! Stick around!

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a popular multi-use product that is not only used in cooking but also in home cleaning. The sodium bicarbonate in baking soda works as an odor-absorber that can absorb and eliminate any weird smell, especially the campfire smell on your clothes. (1)

Baking Soda Handling Clothes
Baking soda may come to your mind first when it’s all about handling clothes.


  • Laundry detergent
  • Baking soda


Step 1: Check on the tags.

Check the labels of your garments before putting them in the washing machine. Determine the highest temperature that your clothes can withstand.

Step 2: Add the detergents and wash the clothes.  

Put the clothes in the washing machine. Pour your available laundry detergent and run a washing cycle as usual. Remember to set the hottest water temperature setting of your washer. Then add ½ cup of baking soda into the washing machine after the cycle begins.

If you do a traditional wash, just use warm water to wash and add baking soda during the washing process.

Step 3: Air dry the clothes.

Take the clothes out of the machine or wring them out if washing by hand. Then hang them somewhere breezy and have fresh air for better evaporation.

Another useful solution recipe with baking soda is included in this video!

Watch this video: How to get smoke smell out of clothing


If you need to deal with really heavy jackets, coats, blankets, or even sleeping bags made of heavy materials, you may want to add a full cup of baking soda.

Baking soda has one more function is to soften the water; therefore, you should decrease the amount of laundry detergent that you often use for a normal wash. 

You should not use baking soda to treat woolen clothing or silk since baking soda can degrade them significantly. You can use white vinegar, which is mentioned in the next section, for these types of garments.

It’s so easy, right? Your kitchen may have some baking soda, so don’t hesitate to use them to eliminate the campfire smell from clothing now!

White Vinegar

White vinegar always stands out in the list of cleaning detergents. The acetic acid in white vinegar works really well in breaking down the bad stains and smells in any textiles and surfaces, including garments! (2)

White Vinegar in Any Kitchen
White vinegar is so popular that it may show up in any kitchen.


  • Laundry detergent (non-scented, non-abrasive)
  • White vinegar
  • Washing machine


Step 1: Put your clothes in the washing machine.

Check the labels to find out the highest water temperature you can use. Place your garments in the washing basket, then add ½ cup or more of the laundry detergent (adjust the amount to the number of your clothes) to the detergent tray.

Step 2: Wash your clothes.

Set your washing machine to the highest water temperature that the garment can endure. Then let it run the usual wash cycle.

Step 3: Add white vinegar.

When the washing machine is halfway there on the whole process, open the lid and pour in ½ cup of white vinegar directly into the washer. Then shut the lid immediately so as not to interrupt the process.

Step 4: Dry the clothing.

Dry the washed items as you would dry your normal laundry. You can use a dryer or machine-drying setting to dry the clothes. But it is best to hang them in the garden with ideal sunny weather.

Bonus Information:

You can also pre-soak the clothes with white vinegar, not just pour them in the middle of the process. Add a cup of vinegar per gallon of warm water. Soak the items in for a few hours. You should add some drops of your favorite essential oils. Wash the clothes as usual.

If the woodsmoke smell is still there, try to run one more spin in the washing machine and pour ½ cup of vinegar during the process.   

Bio-Enzymatic Cleaners

This may be considered as the strongest detergent to deal with campfire scent on clothes. When all of the methods do not work as well as you expected, use bio-enzymatic cleaners! They make use of good bacteria and are wonderful to treat mildew and mold.

Setup Enzymatic Synthesis
Bio-enzymatic cleaners may not sound familiar to you at first, but they’re helpful detergents!


  • A bathtub
  • Bio-enzymatic cleaner
  • Washing machine


Step 1: Fill your bathtub.

Run hot water to fill half of your bathtub. Then, pour some bio-enzymatic cleaner inside. Gently stir the mixture well.

Step 2: Soak your smokey-smelling clothes.

Put all of your garments inside the bathtub and sink them in the solution. Let them sit for a couple of hours.

Step 3: Wash and dry them as you would.

After soaking, take them out and move them to the washing machine. Run for a regular wash. Then dry them in breezy air or under the sun.

Learn how they make the multi-purpose bio-enzymatic cleaning spray!

Watch this video: How they make the multi-purpose bio-enzymatic

Bio-enzymatic cleaners are actually designed to eliminate any weird odors on clothing, so if you have submerged the garments in the enzyme detergent, don’t worry about the other steps! Just do what you usually do with the normal laundry.

Combination: Baking Soda And White Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are the most popular detergents that can be available right now in your pantry! You can make a special solution with these strong cleaners. Let’s get started!

Baking Soda And White Vinegar
Baking soda and white vinegar can be a perfect couple to defeat clothing problems!


  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • A container (bucket, tub, etc.)


Step 1: Prepare the mixture.

In a bucket or wash tub, mix about 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup (~250 ml) of white vinegar in warm water.

Step 2: Submerge the bad-odor clothes.

Put all of your clothing in the container until they are fully wet. Soak them for at least half an hour.

Step 3: Wash the garments as you would.

After enough soaking, move them to the washing machine and do as you usually do! You can also traditionally wash them by hand.

Tip: You can repeat the whole process until the woodsmoke smell disappears from your clothes.

Eliminate The Campfire Odor On Clothing Without Washing

What if you’re still at the campsite after the campfire night? What can you do with the clothes that have the smell of woodsmoke on when it’s not convenient for you to wash them? Try these non-washing methods! You’ll be amazed by what the following detergents can do!

Alcohol Or Liquor

The smoky smell from burning wood can be eliminated with some vodka! Sounds cool, huh? Alcohol or liquor is something that usually appears at a perfect campfire night! You can make use of the leftover alcohol for cleaning clothes!

The role of alcohol or liquor here is to loosen the bonds of those chemicals inside the campfire smoke clinging to your fabric items. Alcohol is colorless and doesn’t leave any stains. Therefore, it can be a great detergent to remove the smoky scent from your clothes!

Alcohol Or Liquor
Making use of some vodka from last night’s party, why not?


  • Alcohol/Liquor (vodka, etc.)
  • Water
  • A container (hooch, bucket)
  • Spray bottle (optional)


Step 1: Prepare the mixture.

Heat some water to get warm water, then pour into the container. Add some alcohol you have into the water with a 1:4 alcohol/water ratio.

Step 2: Soak and rinse.

Soak your bad-smelling clothes into the mixture and wait for a few hours. Then rinse the clothes with plain water. You can also put the solution in a spray bottle, spray it on your garments and let it dry naturally.

Step 3: Dry your clothes.

Find some airy and sunny place that is ideal for drying your clothing.

Warning: This method should not be used for clothes with delicate fabric!

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is also a quick deodorizer for your clothes with a campfire smell on. The citric acid in lemons can be a useful odor-neutralizer. Use it for your garment and you’ll see its effects right away!

Lemon Make It A Solution
When life gives you a lemon, make it a solution for your garments!


  • A lemon
  • Water
  • A container (hooch, bucket)
  • Spray bottle (optional)


Step 1: Squeeze the lemon.

Make a lemon resolution with some warm water and lemon juice. If you happen to have a spray bottle, squeeze a lemon directly inside the bottle and fill the empty space with warm water. If you don’t have that bottle, just make the solution in a container.

Step 2: Get the lemon solution on your clothes.

Spray the mixture onto your clothes or submerge them in the solution in the hooch. Let your garments sit with the liquid for a while.

Step 3: Dry your clothing.

Hang your washed laundry up for drying. If you submerge the clothes, don’t forget to wring them out carefully before drying. Let them dry naturally in the fresh air.

Bonus Information:

If you happen to have some vinegar at the moment, pour them into the lemon juice solution to add more cleaning agents to the mixture. This solution will surely take away the campfire smoke odor on your clothes! 

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a good odor-absorber that is used regularly when there are some bad smells on clothes or in the atmosphere. (3)

Activated Carbon
Activated charcoal in sachet is usually used in the closet for better deodorization!


  • Activated charcoal
  • A sachet
  • A container


Step 1: Make small bags of activated charcoal.

Put some activated charcoal into a sachet, which is intentionally designed to store charcoal.

Step 2: Let them be with your garments.

Place the charcoal sachets in the container with your woodsmoke-smelling clothes. Wait for a few days for the charcoal to absorb the bad scent from the items. Make sure that the charcoal isn’t directly in contact with garments since it may leave stains on them.

This method with charcoal may take you some time, so if you’re in a hurry, don’t use this one and consider others.

Here are some more amazing benefits of using activated charcoal!

Watch this video: Benefits of Activated Charcoal

Tips: If you don’t have activated charcoal on your hand, you can substitute it with some coffee grounds with the same guidance.

Direct Sunlight And Fresh Air

If you are at the campsite and don’t have any detergent on your hand, then what should you do? Just simply wash the campfire-smelling clothes with some warm water and hang them on directly under the sun for a couple of hours to dry completely.

The UV rays in sunlight can kill bacteria that cause the unpleasant campfire smell on the clothes. Airing out your garments in breezy weather with fresh air is also a great way. Sunlight and fresh air are a perfect combination!

This method may be less effective than the other above ones, but it is super easy to follow and can temporarily solve your problem! Try this if you don’t know how to deal with your smelling clothes without any detergents!

Hanging On Clothesline
Sunlights and fresh air are always the best “detergent” to get off any foul odor on garments!

Dry Clean Your Clothes To Get Rid Of The Campfire Odor

If your clothes are non-washable in the washing machine or with hot water, you usually bring them to a professional laundry store, right? But you can actually dry clean them at home with the following simple methods.

Baking Soda

If you happen to have some baking soda in the kitchen, you may want to use them to eliminate the terrible smell from your clothing. This dry-clean method may take some time since it doesn’t require you to wash the clothes, but it’s worth trying!

Baking Soda Dry Cleaning Methods
Baking soda can work well in both washing and dry-cleaning methods!


  • Baking soda
  • Plastic bag (s)/ Garbage bag(s)


Step 1: Put your bad-smelling clothes in bags.

Place the items in a plastic bag or clean garbage bag that is large enough to cover them all.

Step 2: Add the cleaner.

Add one tablespoon of baking soda per 1 to 2 garments in the bag. Tightly tie or seal the bag carefully, then shake it hard to blend the baking soda with the clothes.

Let all of them sit for various days so that the detergent can absorb all the odor from your clothes. You should check the garments regularly and change the excess baking soda with the fresh one in a few days.

Step 3: Shake the clothes.

When it’s done letting the clothes stay with baking soda, open the sealed bag and take them out. Shake the garments hard to remove all the excess baking soda.

Is it easy to do, isn’t it? Not much effort is required, but the result is impressive! Why don’t you try this method right away?

Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are also an awesome product to get rid of the bad scent lingering on your clothes without washing. They are cheap to purchase at any convenience store and can absorb, freshen the smell from the clothing pretty well.

Dryer Sheet Over Colored Clothes
Dryer sheets are easy to find and also really affordable!


  • Dryer sheets
  • Plastic bag (s)/ Garbage bag(s)


Step 1: Place your clothes in the container.

Put all of your clothes in a zip-lock bag, plastic bag, or even garbage bag if you have one.

Step 2: Put the dryer sheets inside.

Put 1 or 2 dryer sheets per one item in the bag. Leave them there for several days. Check on them everyday and replace the dryer sheets regularly until the clothes don’t smell bad anymore.

Step 3: If it is okay, take them out and hang them up.

Whenever the campfire smell is gone, take them out and hang them in sunlight so that the bad smell can completely fade away.

Warning: Don’t let your garments sit with dryer sheets for too long or else it will leave stains on the clothing!

Combination: Baking Soda And Dryer Sheets

These two things are the most powerful products when it comes to dry-cleaning. So, why not combine them for a better odor-eliminating method?

Clothing Closeup
Dealing with your messy bonfire-odor clothes by mixing the two dry-cleaning fighters! 


  • Baking soda
  • Dryer sheets
  • Plastic bag (s)/ Garbage bag(s)


Step 1: Wrap the clothes in bags.

Put all of your unpleasant-odor clothing in the available bag. Make sure that there’s still enough room for the garments to move around.

Step 2: Pour in the cleaning products.

Add 30 grams of baking soda and 2 dryer sheets for every clothing item. Seal or tight the container tightly. Shake the whole thing to ensure that the powder is well-contributed.

Step 3: Let them sit for a while.

Just leave your clothing inside the bag with baking soda and dryer sheets for at least 12 hours or even overnight. Check them frequently until the campfire smell is no longer there.

Step 4: Shake the garments outside.

Take the clothing items out and shake or brush each one of them to completely get rid of the baking soda. You can use a vacuum cleaner to speed up the process. And, voila! Your clothes will no longer be haunted by the woodsmoke smell after this combined method!


There must be some more questions about the campfire smell. Here are some of them with quick answers for you! If you want to ask me more about this, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment section below!

Can the campfire smoke ruin my clothes?

In most cases, the answer is no. Campfire smell is not that strong to destroy your garments. If you treat them with proper methods right after you head home, you can probably save them. But if you just leave them there for a long time without any solution, they may be done.

How can I get rid of the campfire smell from my jacket?

You can use some of the above washing methods to save your jacket from campfire smell, or you can dry clean your jacket if it is made of leather or some textiles that are non-washable. Some common detergents like baking soda or vinegar may help.

What are some ways to remove the campfire smoke smell from the hat?

Turn the hat inside out and soak it in the Borax solution for an hour, then bring them to the washing machine for a regular wash. Any smell on the hat will be gone if you apply this method!

How long does the campfire smell last?

The campfire odor clinging to the garments will fade away after 3 to 4 hours. After this time, the pungent smell will be off quickly and leave a natural outdoor odor on your clothes.

How to eliminate the woodsmoke odor on my hair without washing?

You can make use of the dryer sheets to eliminate the campfire smelling lingering on your hair. The sheets consist of chemicals so you should not scrub them directly to your hair. Instead, wipe the comb with a dryer sheet first and comb your hair as usual.

What can I do to remove the campfire scent from a winter coat?

First, soak your winter coat in a tub of hot water with a solution of laundry detergent and white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio. Submerge the coat for a couple of hours and move them to the washing machine for a basic wash. You can wash it by hand.

Is The Campfire Smell Still Your Problem Now?

If the wood-burning smell clinging to clothes is the reason that makes you hesitate to join in a campfire night, don’t worry about it anymore! Now you’ve known how to treat it, just enjoy that memorable moment with your friends or you may regret it later!

Is this article helpful enough for you? Have you got any experience in dealing with the campfire smell? Like, share this post if you think it provides excellent tips, and don’t forget to share your stories with me! Hope to see you in the following articles!

How To Get Campfire Smell Out Of Clothes


  1. 2021. Sodium bicarbonate – Wikipedia.
  2. Healthline. 2021. What You Should Know About Cleaning with Vinegar.
  3. 2021. Activated charcoal.

Similar Posts

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics

Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *