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  • Writer's pictureLaundry Care

6 Surefire Ways to Remove Campfire Smell from Clothes

Family sitting around campfire roasting marshmallows

Bonfires, fire pits and campfires are all fun and games...until you walk away smelling like a walking tiki torch. Yikes! Before throwing your smoke scented clothes into the fire, try these 6 effective ways to get rid of the smell and refresh your clothes.

Air it Out

First and foremost let the smoky clothes air out. You’d be surprised how much this simple step can help. Items can be hung outside on the clothesline or indoors on a clothes rack in a well ventilated area. Allow at least 12-24 hours before moving on to another cleaning method. At minimum, this will reduce the smell and make it easier to remove entirely.

Wash it in Hot Water

This is by far the most straightforward method for cleaning: Wash it! Fill a wash basin, sink, or clean bucket with the hottest water recommended on the clothing care tag and a few drops of detergent or dish soap. Allow item(s) to soak for 20-30 minutes. If the item is machine washable, toss it in the washer, add detergent and run it through a hot (or hottest recommended) cycle. Repeat, if necessary and then hang to dry (see below).

Dry it in the Sun

This one goes hand-in-hand with the hot water wash (see above). If the odor remains after the wash, let items dry in the sun to continue the process. This is a simple and effective way to get the job done, especially if you have no access to other laundry methods. The sun’s heat and ultraviolet rays, combined with the fresh air will help remove the smell. For best results, hang the item(s) on a clothesline or on a folding rack outdoors in a well ventilated area, whenever possible.

Drink Use a Little Alcohol

Other than being a favorite party drink for a lot of people, did you know that alcohol can also be an excellent deodorizing agent? In fact, it’s the active ingredient in most perfumes and fragrance sprays. The same principle can be used in cleaning your campfire clothes. All you need is a bottle of vodka, some warm water, and a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with a 1:3 mixture of alcohol to water, spray your clothes of choice and let them air dry. As the alcohol evaporates from the fabric of the fabric, it will take the smell with it. If you’re hesitant to get the laundry tipsy, rubbing alcohol is a suitable substitute!

Squeeze a Lemon

Lemon juice contains citric acid which is a very potent odor remover. The same is true for most of the other citrus fruits such as limes, oranges and grapefruits. That is why many cleaning products contain citrus ingredients or scents. This is especially true with organic cleaners. For best results, mix a 1:6 solution of lemon juice and water in a spray bottle. Spray the offending garment generously. Then, turn the item inside out and repeat. Hang to dry for several hours, alternating inside-out and right-side out. Repeat if necessary.

Bag it with Charcoal

If you want to avoid the hassle of washing or spraying, this tip is for you. Grab an old sock (preferably one that's lost its match to the "sock monster") with activated charcoal and secure it by tying the top tightly. Activated charcoal is usually available locally at hardware stores, organic grocery stores or online via Amazon or similar sites. Place the sock along with the stinky clothing in a paper bag (like a grocery or lawn bag) or clean cardboard box. Seal the bag or box tightly and let sit for at least 24 hours. Then remove the charcoal-filled sock (trash it...or save for future use!) and shake clothing items to be sure no charcoal leaked from the sock onto your garment. Finally, wash the items as directed.


Got stinky laundry? Let Laundry Care take care of the dirty work for you!


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Aug 01, 2022

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