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How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Clothes After a Campfire

How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Clothes After a Campfire

Everyone loves a campfire! But nobody likes the smokey smell that permeates clothing (and the RV!) once the fire is out. Since it’s campfire season, we thought we’d share some ideas for how to get the smoke smell out of clothes after a campfire.

Grab the marshmallows and chocolate, and let’s dive right in!

How to Have a Smoke-Free Campfire

First, let’s give a quick shout-out to smoke-free campfires! (Yes, there is such a thing!)

You may have read our post all about the portable propane fire pit. If not, we suggest you check it out because propane fire pits are among the best ways to prevent your clothes from absorbing smoke smell… by avoiding it altogether!

The reason for this is that propane fires don’t produce smoke. You don’t need wood with propane fire pits and fire bowls, so there’s simply no smoke to cause a smell in the first place.

If you’re interested in a portable propane fire pit, check out our video showing to connect a BBQ grill to an RV’s onboard propane tank. A propane fire pit can be connected the same way.

How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Clothes After a Campfire

Not everyone has the space to carry a propane fire pit, and lots of people love authentic wood campfires (and the singing songs, playing games, and eating delicious campfire desserts that go along with them). Plus, a lot of campsites have fire rings. So let’s get down to business on the subject of how to remove the smoke smell from clothes.

Note that these suggestions will work for cigarette smoke as well.

Odor Eliminators

Using an odor-eliminating spray can help to remove the smell of smoke from clothing. Some odor eliminators come in a spray bottle. You can spray it right onto your clothes and then hang the clothing out in the fresh air.

Alternatively, (if you’re able to do laundry right away), you can spray your clothes with the odor eliminator and toss them into the laundry.

You can also get a liquid odor eliminator that goes into the washing machine and serves as a laundry booster.

We’ve used this ourselves and found that it worked well.

BETTER LIFE Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray - Clothes, Couch Fabric, Carpet Cleaner - Furniture Stain Remover Works on Food, Grass, Grease, Cat or Dog Urine, Pet Stains - 16oz Eucalyptus/Lemongrass
  • ELIMINATES STAINS - The laundry, carpet and couch cleaner will destroy all of those frustrating stains all around your home. It will also refresh the...
  • NEUTRALIZES ODORS - Does the kid's bedroom smell like a locker room? Does the compost bin reek of rotten produce? This odor eliminator for strong odor...

Following are two popular odor-eliminating products from Febreze.

Note: Don’t use Febreze products on leather, suede, silk, or fabrics that show water marks.

Febreze Fabric Spray, Odor Fighter for Strong Odor, Refresher Spray PLUS with Clean Scent, 16.9 oz (2 Count)
  • Don't mask, truly fight fabric odors by spraying away stinks in your household fabrics
  • Spray until fabric is damp, let dry, and enjoy freshness all around your home
Febreze Laundry Detergent Additive, Original Strength In Wash Odor Eliminator, Designed to Remove Odors in a Single Wash Caused by Sweat, Food, Smoke, Fresh Scent, 50 fl oz (2 Pack)
  • You will receive (2) bottles of Original Strength Febreze In Wash Odor Eliminator, 50 fl oz
  • ELIMINATES ODORS FROM THE SOURCE: Removes the toughest of odors instead of masking them. Add to your laundry detergent to remove common odors found in...

Scent Boosters

We don’t generally use scent boosters that are supposed to mask odors, but many people swear by laundry scent boosters so we’ll include a couple here.

Laundry scent boosters are designed to hold the “fresh laundry” scent long after the laundry has been done & folded, and you’ve worn the clothes. Some work better than others. The following two are popular and have good reviews, and are available in a variety of scents.

Downy Unstopables Laundry Scent Booster Beads for Washer, Fresh, 26.5 Ounce, Use with Fabric Softener
  • Downy Unstoppables In-Wash Scent Booster adds 12 weeks of freshness that elevates the everyday (freshness out of storage)
  • Shake a little or a lot of Downy Unstoppables laundry scent beads into the cap. Toss into the wash drum at the beginning of the wash-before clothes,...
MRS. MEYER'S CLEAN DAY Laundry Booster, Pair with Liquid Laundry Detergent Or Detergent Pods, Honeysuckle, 18 oz
  • Add a fresh boost of garden-inspired Honeysuckle to your laundry routine
  • Concentrated Honeysuckle scent made from plant-derived and other thoughtfully chosen ingredients


If the smoke smell in clothing is really bad, washing alone may still leave them with a smokey odor. Vinegar, among many other things, is an excellent odor remover. If you soak your clothing in equal parts vinegar and water for about an hour, the smokey smell will dissipate. Pre-soaking the clothes this way, then rinsing them out under clean water before tossing them into the washing machine will eliminate the smoke smell from your campfire clothes completely. Washing will remove any vinegar smell.

It’s best to use distilled white vinegar for any type of cleaning.

You can also add 1 cup of vinegar to the washing machine when you launder your campfire clothes.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is actually a pretty powerful odor remover. Most fabrics that are washable will do fine with rubbing alcohol.

Use one part rubbing alcohol to five parts water. Mix and add your clothes. Hang to dry, or launder as usual, and this should completely eliminate the smoke smell.

Or, if you’re able to do a load of laundry, simply add a half-cup of rubbing alcohol to your regular wash load.

How to Get the Smoke Smell Out of Clothes Without Using Water

For RVers who boondock and conserve water, there are a couple of great ways to remove the smoke smell from clothes without using any of your precious water!

Baking Soda

Pour a half cup to a cup of baking soda into a plastic bag and put your smoky clothes into the bag. Tie the bag up tight and then shake up the bag to distribute the baking soda.

Leave the clothing inside the bag at least overnight to allow the baking soda to absorb the odor. Then thoroughly shake everything out in the morning.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, 1 Pound (Pack of 12)
  • Versatile, effective and affordable solution for over 170 years
  • Use for baking, cleaning, deodorizing and more.Baking Soda can be used with HE washing machines. Add 1 cup with your liquid laundry detergent

Dryer Sheets

You can also try essentially the same “trick” with dryer sheets to get the smoke smell out of clothes.

Toss a few dryer sheets into a large bag along with your smoky campfire clothes. Seal up the bag and leave the clothes in the sealed bag with the dryer sheets for a few days.

Some say this works, and others say you end up with clothes that smell like smoky dryer sheets! LOL But if you’re looking to conserve water when you’re boondocking, it’s worth a shot. If you’ve tried this, be sure to let us know if it works for you in the comments below.

Bounce Dryer Sheets Laundry Fabric Softener, Outdoor Fresh, 240 Count
  • Classic Bounce outdoor fresh scent
  • Helps Reduce Wrinkles

Dry Cleaning

As a last resort (or if you happen to get a smoky smell on clothing made of fabrics that aren’t machine washable or are otherwise sensitive), you can always take the clothing to dry cleaners.

Dry cleaning can take care of most odors, but of course, it’s a more expensive alternative. Maybe best to avoid wearing non-washable clothing on camping trips. ????

How to Keep Your Campfire Clothes from Bringing a Smoky Smell Into Your RV

Now that you’ve got multiple ways to try removing the smoke smell from your clothes, go ahead and enjoy your next campfire!

If you don’t want your RV to take on the smokey smell from your campfire clothes, at the end of the evening when you shower and change, toss your smoky campfire clothing into a plastic bag along with some dryer sheets or baking soda, seal up the bag, and leave it outside.

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Larry Lee

Friday 9th of September 2022

As a practical method, whenever we are planning multiple days with campfires, we don our prechosen campfire clothing, enjoy the evening getting as smokey as we want, then placing our clothes in a plastic bag with some baking soda until the next evening when we wear the same campfire clothes again. Repeat until campfire evenings are over and then wash clothes. The only problem we have not successfully solved is the smokey smell in our hair! Our next attempt will be to wear shower caps when sitting around the campfire.


Friday 9th of September 2022

Love it!


Tuesday 6th of September 2022

I bought a bottle of Downey Unstoppables once. I thought it was pretty useless. It didn't seem to leave much scent in the clothes.

Another product that might remove smoke odors in the wash is Borax. I use it occasionally to remove odors and it works so well it seems to reduce or eliminate the nice scents they put in detergent.

I've noticed smoke odors on our clothes right after the campfire but they seem to dissipate and are gone the next day.

Thank you for all the information you provide to us!

Subiie Driver.

Thursday 15th of September 2022

@MLB, The smokey smell didn't disapate, it's still there even know you can't or don't smell it. I'm a smoker and I can't smell the stink on my clothes because you become nose blind. I always thought my clothes didn't stink but I was wrong..


Tuesday 6th of September 2022

Thanks so much for the input, Mike!


Tuesday 6th of September 2022

I like the campfire smell.


Tuesday 6th of September 2022

LOL! Lucky you, Randy! ????????

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