How to Get Campfire Smell Out of Clothes? Super Easy Tips For You!

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Enjoying a night around the campfire certainly takes you into the world of nostalgia. The dancing flames, out of the ordinary aroma, tangible warmth and the guy with the guitars, make your night memorable.

A wide array of people spends most of their summer nights while gathering around the campfire. There is a least few things that are more pleasing than spending a night around the campfire under the open sky, relaxing, facing from the daily stress.

Camping is known to be a tradition in several cultures. Those nights filled with songs and stories are into being for several generations.

The catch is that after spending such a memorable night, you will find a strong campfire smell is lingering on your clothes for a longer span of time.

However, you will not be able to access the washing machine while you are on the camping trip. Well, I am here to give you some of the best tips that will help you in getting rid of the smell from your clothes and continue enjoying your trip to the fullest.

To begin with, let’s take a look at where the smoke is coming from exactly!

The Smoke

The combination of heat, oxygen and organic fuel results in the combustion reaction which then forms the water vapor and carbon dioxide.

Firewood comprises of long-chain organic molecules such as cellulose along with aldehydes, traces of heavy metals, nitrogen, and mold spores.

With the burning of wood, now each of the chemicals is broken down into the smaller molecules like water and carbon dioxide completely and thus we see the smoke.

The Smell

As the fumes settle on the clothing, they consist of a mixture of the volatile organic compounds such as mold, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and aldehydes, resulting in smelly hair and clothes.

How do you get campfire smell out of clothes while still camping?

During those long camping trips, the ultimate challenge is staying fresh and packing light. You are not going to find any washing machine or laundry soap for ensuring that your clothes smell nice.

And the last thing you want to do is leaving your trip early owing to these pungent odors, annoying everyone around throughout the day and night.

There are primarily two types of ways in which it is possible to remove the pungent odor from the clothes. One way is the no-wash option whereas the other one is known to be the conventional option.

No Wash Methods

During the camping, if there is a lack or scarcity of water, these methods can be used in order to refresh your clothes without the use of ample amount of water. These remedies have been effective in order to remove the smell from the clothes in no time.

Here are some more additional tips that can be effective in order to get rid of the smell and continue the trip:

Alcohol Spray {Method 1}

Alcohol is recognized to be one of the most favorite ingredients that help people to manufacture the perfume. Once it gets heated and starts to evaporate, it releases the odor, that is soaked into itself.

It works in a perfect manner for designer scents of top class. It is also possible to use the alcohol to get rid of the pungent odor from your clothes during camping.


All you need is an empty spray bottle, clean and warm water and a strong alcoholic beverage such as vodka. To clean the clothes, you can make use of the regular vodka, that you have brought with you.

How to remove the odor

  • To begin with, heat up some water in the fire and mix it with the alcohol in the hooch in the ratio of 4:1 water/vodka.
  • After mixing, you need to soak the clothes in the mixture for some time.
  • Wash your clothes.
  • If a spray bottle is available, spray the mixture on the clothes.

The alcohol is effective in loosening the stronger bonds of the campfire chemicals that lingers to the fabric of the garment whereas the water washes them off completely.

Though in the beginning, the smell may feel like you just returned from the pub, the odor will go away eventually with the evaporation of the alcohol. Within a few hours, your clothes will be fresh and clean.

Lemon Spray {Method 2}

certainly understand that every traveler does not travel with a bottle of vodka. The citric acid of the lemon juice plays an effective role in order to get rid of the unpleasant odors.

The lemons are known to be acidic in nature and are helpful in fighting the bad odors. This is one of the reasons owing to which a wide assortment of household cleaners feature the lime fragrance.


In order to remove the campfire smell from your clothes, all you need is an empty spray bottle, warm and clean water and a lemon.

How to remove the odor

  • You need to introduce warm water and lemon juice in the ratio of 8:1 where there will be 8 parts of warm water and one part of lemon juice in a spray bottle.
  • Mix them thoroughly.
  • Spray the mixture on the complete exterior part of your clothes.
  • You need to ensure that the entire fabric is covered thoroughly by the mixture.
  • Once you are done with spraying the mixture over the clothes, you can hang them in sunlight for the time span of 3-4 hours.

The clothes are expected to get dried within this span of time. The complete process, mentioned above is beneficial in getting rid of the pungent campfire smell.

The lemon spray is considered to be one of the most effective solutions to get rid of odors around the camp. In addition to removing the pungent smell from the clothes, they are helpful to remove the smell from the sleeping bags, tents, and any other gears.

Under the Sun {Method 3}

Believe it or not, but this is yet another effective means in order to remove the odor from the clothes. In lieu of using the dryer in order to dry the clothes, you can put them under the direct exposure of the sunlight.

The open space, fresh air, and ultraviolet rays are effective in removing the undesirable odor lingering on the clothes.

If you feel that some campfire odor is still present on your clothes, in spite of washing them thoroughly, it is the perfect opportunity in order to add to the freshness to the fibers.

Activated Charcoal {Method 4}

This is yet another effective means in order to remove the undesirable campfire odor present in the clothes by deodorizing them without the moisture in an effective manner.

You need to keep activated charcoal inside the nylon leggings pair and put the same inside the enclosed box, along with the clothes.

You should allow the contents to stay inside for at least 5-7 days. As you take out the clothes from the box after the mentioned time duration, you will be amazed to find fresh clothes.

Use of Deodorizing Spray {Method 5}

There are a few deodorizing spray products that can be used in order to remove the campfire odor. You just need to spray the same on the affected areas of the garments for the time duration of 30-90 minutes. This is useful in drying out the moisture and bringing out the fresh aroma of the clothes.

How to Get Campfire Smell Out of Your Clothes at Home

Now that your camping trip has come to an end and you are back home, it is going to be easy to get the campfire smell out of the clothes. You are going to find  a bunch of ingredients around the house in order to make your work really easy.

In case you have a washing machine and the clothes are machine washable, you can opt for the following methodologies in order to remove the smell of campfire from the clothes.

However, it is essential to take a look at whether the clothes are machine washable or not. In case they are not eligible, it is recommended to give them for dry cleaning:

Enzyme Cleaner {Method 6}

If you are a proud pet owner, you are also owning an enzyme cleaner bottle. You will be surprised to know that along with cleaning up your pet, these enzyme cleaners are vital in removing the strong odors from the clothes, especially the campfire smoke.


Some of the prominent ingredients that are used for the purpose are inclusive of laundry detergent, a bathtub filled with water and enzyme cleaner.

How to remove the odor

  • You need to fill the bathtub with warm water and enzyme cleaner where there will be 10 parts of warm water and one part of enzyme cleaner.
  • You need to keep all the campfire-soaked clothes in the bathtub.
  • You need to ensure that each and every part of the cloth is covered with the solution completely.
  • Leave them for the time span of a few hours completely.
  • Once the enzymes have accomplished their work, you need to bring out the garments from the bathtub.
  • Keep the clothes on the usual cycle in the washing machine.

The enzymes are believed to eat the pungent odors from the clothes. Thus, as soon as you wash the clothes with the aid of laundry detergent after washing them with enzymes, you will find that your clothes are smelling fresh.

Washing With Baking Soda {Method 7}

Baking soda is one of the most common ingredients found in every home. Baking soda is believed to be one of the most common choices in order to fight those strong odors.


Some of the common ingredients that are used in order to remove the campfire smell out of the clothes via baking soda are inclusive of

  • Laundry detergent
  • A half cup of the baking soda

How to remove the odor

  • Soak your clothes in normal detergent
  • Add a single cup of soda into the normal wash cycle
  • Rinse it off

Following this procedure is helpful in getting rid of those strongest pungent smell. Don’t do this process on any type of woolen or silk clothes. As the fabric of these clothes is too sensitive, use of baking soda can be harmful to them.

If the smell of the campfire is lingering on your silk or wool clothes, you should either opt for vinegar or dry cleaning during the wash cycle.

White Vinegar Wash {Method 8}

White vinegar plays a vital role in reducing the complicated odor as well as deodorizing the odors, present on the clothes.


In order to remove the pungent smell from your clothes with the aid of the white vinegar, you need the following products

  • Laundry detergent
  • Bathtub filled with hot water
  • One cup of white vinegar

How to remove the odor

  • In order to eliminate the most persistent smell, you need to run the bathtub, filled with hot water.
  • Next, you need to add one cup of white vinegar.
  • In the next step, place the clothes, you need to clean in the tub. You need to ensure that the clothes are covered perfectly with water.
  • Let them soak for the time duration of a few hours.
  • You need to rinse off the clothes after the time duration.
  • Let the clothes dry

As you follow the procedure, you can be ensured that the smell is gone. However, you should double check prior to taking out the clothes from the washing machine.

In case you find that the odor on the clothes is too strong, you may need to put them through another cycle.

Hot Water Wash {Method 9}

At times, running your clothes through water in a machine is sufficient in order to remove the strong odor of campfire from the clothes.

While doing your laundry, do not forget to check out the labels present on the clothes. You should make sure to utilize the hottest temperature, in which they are allowed to put in.

Hot water opens the fine threads and thins out the fabric. It is useful to the detergent for penetrating in an effective manner.

At times, a single hot wash is a prerequisite for getting rid of the pungent smells, present in the clothes.

Borax Wash {Method 10}

Borax is recognized to be an amazing smoke smell neutralizer. You need to put the items in a plastic bag or container and sprinkle the borax on the sleeping bag.

After you finished spraying, you need to close tightly and wait for the time span of one week approximately. It will confer good results and is considered to be an effective solution in order to remove those pungent smell from your clothes.

General Tips

Here are few points you need to keep in mind while trying the get the campfire smell out of the clothes:

  1. Regardless of the approach, you are going to take, you should refrain from overdoing it as there are chances that this may cause a damage to your clothes.
  2. In case you feel that the smell is too much, you need to repeat the procedure, you have chosen for a bunch of times.
  3. It is recommended to avoid using smell-covers and perfumes. Those may make things worse as they get mixed and combined with the odor of the smoke.
  4. The fastest option to get rid of the pungent smell of the campfire is giving the clothes for the dry-cleaning purpose.
  5. If you are trying to get rid of the smell from the sleeping bag, you need to take it out in the hot sun and fresh air that is effective in flushing out the smell of the smoke.
  6. It is recommended to choose sunlight as the most natural deodorizer.

Final Thoughts

It is not possible to take out all the clothes for machine washing owing to the restrictions in cleaning. If you encounter any sort of face washing restrictions, the best option is depending on the natural procedures or smoke removal processed without washing them.

During the natural process, the best option is exposing the sleeping bag and other personal effects under the Sun.

As you hang them under the sun, the perfect amalgamation of different factors such as wind and sunlight is sure to take the prerequisite care of the job.

However, you need to hang your clothes in bright sunlight in order to get the work done for a better duration of time.

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