How to get the smoke smell out of clothes is probably a common question people ask coming home from a campfire trip or after a visit to a pub. Smoke scent, after all, sticks to clothes easily regardless of source — and it can get annoying too!
Here are easy and efficient hacks for getting rid of that nasty smell.
First things first: let your clothes breathe
If you need to get rid of that funky smoke smell and you can’t wash your clothes yet, the first and the best thing you can do is to let your clothing breathe.
Hang your smoke-smelling clothing out where there is fresh air. Make sure the area is well-ventilated and airflow is good so your clothes can get enough air.
For this hack to work, the air of the place where you hang it must be clean and fresh. By all means, avoid areas with so much air pollution. You wouldn’t want to add more unwanted smell!
Letting it sit there for hours can get the smell out of clothes. However, it also depends on how bad the smell is. If you can, let it sit for a day or two and just check it regularly to see if the smell has already been eliminated.
Baking soda is your best friend
Baking soda is probably everyone’s best friend when cleaning is involved. This household product works wonders and can get nooks and crannies cleaned — and it is effective in getting smoke smell out of clothes, too!
Baking soda is not only good at removing stains but it also works well at eliminating odor. The great thing about this product is it is affordable and you can easily find it in groceries and other stores.
You can use baking soda both with or without the involvement of washing. It’s a not-so-secret magic ingredient!
Using baking soda without washing your clothes
If you don’t have enough time to let your clothing sit outside, you can use baking soda to get rid of the smoke smell.
To do this hack, you need a bag like a large garbage bag or a plastic shopping bag and baking soda. Put your affected clothing inside the bag and add a half cup of baking soda inside.
After which, seal the bag tightly and shake the bag containing your clothes and baking soda. Do this for two minutes to give enough time for the baking soda to reach most parts of your clothing. You can add more minutes if you think that you need more for better coverage.
Once you feel that the baking soda has reached all, or at least most, parts of your clothing, leave it as is overnight. This will give the baking soda enough time to get the smoke smell out of your clothes.
In the morning, take out your garment from the bag and shake and dust off the baking soda of your clothes. The baking soda will not only remove the smoke smell but also other odors that may have penetrated.
If you don’t have any bags available, you can also sprinkle baking soda on your clothing. Make sure that all of the surface, especially the one with the strong smoke smell, is covered. After that, hang your clothing outside where there is fresh air.
Let it sit for a day or two until the smoke smell is gone. Once the smell, or lack thereof, is good on your end, you can shake off the baking soda and remove debris with a tiny vacuum.
Washing your clothes with baking soda
One of the common answers to the question of how to get smoke smell out of clothes is to wash them. While washing works, there is still a chance that the smell might still stick to your clothing.
You can do odor elimination through washing more efficiently with the help of none other than our trusted best friend baking soda. Adding baking soda to your laundry routine has a dual purpose: it helps remove stains and eliminates odor.
The baking soda laundry trick works for both hand wash and machine wash.
For handwashing your clothes, add a half cup of baking soda to your laundry powder and do your washing.
On the other hand, for washing machines, add a cup of baking soda to your solution. If you have a top load washing machine, add the baking soda when the water almost reaches the desired volume. For front load washers, add the baking soda during the rinse cycle.
Here is another magic trick: If you can control water temperature when washing, choose the warmest that your garment can handle. Warm water opens up fibers in clothing which makes it easier to remove stains and get smoke smell out of clothes.
Spray the smoke smell away
If the smoke smell is bothering you and you don’t have the luxury of time to get your clothes washed or air-cleaned, then your best option would be to spray the smoke smell away.
An odor-eliminating spray can help remove the smell and even add a new scent to your clothes to make you smell fresh and clean.
Odor-eliminating sprays are readily available in grocery stores and specialty stores. Just grab one off the rack, pay, and say goodbye to that annoying smoke stench.
If you like, you can also create your own odor-eliminating spray. All you have to do is put together equal parts of water and vinegar in your spray bottle. Should you wish to add a specific scent, you can add a few drops of essential oil to your spray.
What scent to add depends entirely on your preference but mint and lemon are recommended to help mask the smoke smell. Spray your solution on your clothes and smell good in no time!
Add dryer sheets and seal
Introduced in the mid-70s, dryer sheets have been in the market for decades now. Homemakers use these to keep clothes soft, wrinkle-free, and fresh-smelling.
Dryer sheets are also effective in removing smoke smell from clothes. Even if you have not washed your garment yet, you can still use dryer sheets to remove the smell.
Don’t worry! You don’t need a dryer to do the trick.
Get a resealable bag that can fit your clothing, put your garment inside it, add a dryer sheet or two, and seal it. Keep it there for a couple of days enough for the dryer sheet to absorb and remove the smoke odor.
Don’t have access to a washing machine and can’t run to the store for an odor-eliminating spray? Look for a handheld clothing steamer and get steamy!
Steam is another alternative to get the smoke smell out of clothes. Before using it, though, double-check if your garment is safe for steaming. You might end up ruining your clothing if steaming is not recommended and you push through with it.
Handheld steamers can be used to remove the smoke smell. If that is not available, an iron with a steaming function works as well. Just put distilled water on its container and iron steam it.
You may also use a solution of 3 parts water and 1 part rubbing alcohol for more effective odor elimination.
Steaming clothing might be quite tricky so watch this video for some tips:
Soak the smell in vinegar
Ready to wash your clothes? Before putting it inside the washing machine or handwashing it, soak your affected garment first in a mixture of vinegar and warm water.
Vinegar is pretty good at removing stench and odor, including smells caused by cigarette or fire smoke.
While you’re at it, you can add drops of your favorite essential oil for a more pleasant smell. You can leave it soaked in an hour or more as recommended for your garment.
Clothing tags are very useful because they tell you what you can and cannot do to keep your clothes in the best shape.
Freshen it up with fabric fresheners
Once you’re done washing your clothes and you can still get a whiff of that smoke smell, it’s time to take out your fabric fresheners and put them to use.
Fabric fresheners or scent boosters are usually added before the last rinse cycle of your washing machine. You can buy these fresheners in the laundry section of grocery stores.
Alternatively, you can also make your own mixture using essential oils and sugar or rock salt.
Aside from using it during your laundry session, you can also use it as an odor-eliminating spray. After washing your clothing, spray some of it onto your clothes before storing them. This both gets the smoke smell out of clothes and keeps it smelling pleasant.
On a budget? Learn from this tutorial on how to make a cost-effective fabric freshener:
Squeeze some lemon
Lemon is not only good for the body. It is a good ingredient to get smoke smell out of clothes, too! It works not only for smoke smell but other odors as well.
Use freshly squeezed lemon juice to remove odor by adding a half cup of it to your clothing before the first cycle of your washing machine.
Just let the natural juice do its job and say goodbye to that annoying smoke smell.
Learn how to get smoke smell out of clothes
The smoke odor might be bothersome but that doesn’t mean you have to endure it all day long. There are different ways on how to get rid of the smoke smell out of clothes. Some require appliances while others just make use of readily available ingredients and materials.
Trust us: It’s easier than you think!
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.