How to Get Campfire Smell Out of Clothes – Best DIY Guide 2018

Camping is one of the most relaxing and eye-opening activities you can do without burning a hole in your pocket. It is a perfect activity for those looking for some inner peace, a bit of reflection, or just simply enjoying nature in all its wonder. However, if you are going camping, specifically camping at night, you will need to make some campfire. Fire, smoke, and clothes; you know where I’m getting to, right?

Yes, with bonfire comes smothering smoke that will undoubtedly linger on your clothes long after you are done. So, is there an effective way to eliminate campfire smell from your clothes? If you find yourself with a bunch of clothes smelling like burnt wood don’t worry because I have some tips on how you can remove it with no problems. Below are tips on how to get campfire smell out of clothes.

Removing Campfire Smell out of Clothes While Camping

Depending on the duration of your stay, you might find yourself in need of doing an impromptu laundry outdoors. Since you are reading this right now I would surmise that you know how difficult it is to completely eliminate that smoky smell from clothes using usual soap and water method.

Here are some cleaning materials you need to bring if you are to eliminate campfire smell from your clothes while still camping: Alcohol Spray & Lemon Spray.

How to Get Campfire Smell Out of Clothes While Camping

There are 2 ways for you to get campfire smell out of clothes while camping: The Alcohol Method and The Lemon Mixture Method.

#1. Removing campfire smell with the alcohol method

There is a reason why alcohol has been the primary ingredient in perfumes. You see, when alcohol starts to evaporate it tends to take with it odors that it has soaked. As a cleaning solution, this attribute is invaluable.

Here is what you need to remove campfire smell from clothes using the alcohol method:

  • Strong alcoholic beverage.
  • Warm water.
  • Spray bottle.

Now, after getting all the things ready, let's take a look at how we do it: 

  • Step 1: Take your strong alcoholic drink (like vodka) and pour it into the empty water spray bottle.
  • Step 2: Slightly heat up a cup of water and pour it into the spray bottle as well.
  • Step 3: Mix the alcohol and water thoroughly.
  • Step 4: Spray the mixture to your clothes evenly.
  • Step 5: Hang them under the sun and leave them to dry during the day.
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The mixture of strong alcoholic beverage and warm water will absorb the odor on clothes. When heated under the sun, the alcohol mixture evaporates and takes the smoky odor with it.

#2. Removing campfire smell with the lemon mixture method

Well, if you are not the type of camper who brings vodka during their expeditions, like me, you might want to look for a different cleaning technique. Fortunately, we have lemons to fall back to. Lemons are acidic and are great for fighting off germs and odor-causing bacteria as well as undesirable scents in general.

What You Need

  • Lemon
  • Warm water.
  • Spray bottle.

Now, after getting all the things ready, let's take a look at how we do it: 

  • Step 1: Preparing the solution is pretty simple. Remember to mix in 1-part lemon juice with 8 parts warm water.
  • Step 2: Mix the solution thoroughly by shaking the spray bottle.
  • Step 3: Spray the mixture on your clothes thoroughly. Leave no space unsprayed.
  • Step 4: Hang the clothes to dry under the sun for about 4 hours.
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I actually recommend you use this method instead since lemon spray can be used on every camping equipment you have that is made of fabric. It also has a naturally pleasing scent.

How to Get Campfire Smell Out of Clothes when at Home

When removing campfire odor from clothes at home you will get a lot more methods of choice. Check out the different ways you can remedy the smoky smell with the following techniques: Baking Soda Method, Hot Water Method & White Vinegar Method. 

#1. Baking Soda Method

What You Need

  • Laundry detergent
  • Baking soda (1/2 cup)

One of the most common cleaning chemicals, baking soda has a lot of practical uses besides, well, baking. Here is a quick way on how you can use this common kitchen item for removing campfire smell from clothes.

  • Step 1: Take ½ cup of baking soda and pour it into your washing machine.
  • Step 2: Pour the recommended amount of laundry detergent.
  • Step 3: Turn on the washing machine.
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Pretty simple, right? While your laundry detergent does it the job of cleaning the fabric, the baking soda goes in and removes the pungent smoky smell from the clothes. However, I must warn you to be careful of using baking soda on wool and silk clothing as it can damage the fabric. If your camping clothes are made of wool and silk I also have the best solution for you. Continue reading to find out.

#2. Hot Water Method

Here is the simplest method you can do when it comes to eliminating campfire odor from clothes. However, it is important that you first check the labels to find out the maximum temperature the fabric can withstand.

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Hot water makes the fabric material expand which then helps the laundry detergent make a more thorough cleanse. There are occasions wherein this method is more than enough to remove unwanted odors from the fabric.

#3. White Vinegar Method

Remember when I said that there is a safe cleaning method when it comes to wool and silk fabric? This is the method I was talking about.

What You Need

  • Laundry detergent
  • White vinegar (1/2 cup)
  • Step 1: Just like what you did with the baking soda method, you simply pour in ½ cup of white vinegar into the washing machine.
  • Step 2: Pour in the recommended amount of laundry detergent and wash as normal.
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If your clothes have a considerably pungent campfire odor then using white vinegar should completely eliminate the smell. White vinegar is also safe to use with silk and woolen clothing.

*/ Bonus Tip: How to Get Kerosene Smell Out of Clothes

Now, let’s get more a little specific here. Campers nowadays will most likely be bringing a portable stove of their own to prepare food. The portable stove uses kerosene and kerosene do produce a distinct and pungent smell.

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If you’ve been around your portable stove for a considerable amount of time you will find yourself smelling like kerosene. Removing the smell of kerosene is also quite simple. Below are two methods you can do to completely remove kerosene smell from your clothes.

What You Need

  • Baking Soda.
  • Laundry Detergent.
  • White Vinegar.
  • Ammonia or Eucalyptus Oil.
  • Step 1: First, make sure that you fill the washing machine with warm water.
  • Step 2: Wash the clothes as usual in your washing machine. Pour in ½ cup of baking soda along with the laundry detergent.
  • Step 3: If kerosene smell still persists, you can prepare a white vinegar and water solution. Put it into a spray bottle and spray the mixture thoroughly on the clothes. Rinse after half an hour and let it dry under the sun.
  • Step 4: An alternative would be to use ammonia or eucalyptus oil on the fabric. I suggest you opt for the eucalyptus oil as not only does it absorb the odor, it leaves a refreshing minty smell afterward.
  • Step 5: When drying the clothes after the cleaning and deodorizing process, remember to always hang it in an open area that is well ventilated. Fresh air will help blow remaining kerosene odor out of the fabric.
  • Note: If your clothes come into contact with kerosene directly, I suggest you first rinse it thoroughly using warm or hot water first before putting them in the washing machine and applying the technique above.

Final Thoughts

Camping overnight offers a unique experience. Don’t let the issue of smelling like burnt steak the next day prevent you from enjoying one of life’s little pleasures. As you can see, there are several ways to get campfire smell out of clothes and every single one of them is simple, easy, and cheap. If you enjoyed this article or have something to add, please comment below and share this with your friends.

Kevin Smith

About the Author

Kevin Smith

Ahoy there! The name’s Kevin Smith, the proprietor of this little travel and outdoors blog. The outdoors has always been a passion of mine since I was a kid as my parents were avid campers themselves. They taught me everything I know when it comes to camping, hiking etc. and I would like to do my part by imparting my know-how to like-minded individuals who enjoy the same hobby as me. I started this website in the hopes of helping other people when it comes to answering questions, giving tips and recommendations focusing on the camping niche. Along with some close friends of mine, we are here to help you make the most out of your outdoor experience. Enjoy your stay and enjoy the wild side!

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