How to Remove Wood Smoke Smell From Clothes

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Clothing can pick up a smoky smell in different ways. Whether you're sitting around a campfire or indoors near a wood-burning stove, the scent can permeate clothes and really cling. Even risk-free tasks like barbecuing can contribute to a smoky aroma.

How to Remove Wood Smoke Smell From Clothes
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It can be annoying when the scent sticks to clothes even after you've tried to clean them using traditional methods. And if you have an item that can't be washed with the rest of your laundry, it can be super tricky to remove the wood stove scent. Luckily, there are some tips and tricks that can help.

Why Is Wood Smoke So Pervasive?

One reason why the smell of wood smoke seems to cling to clothing is because human noses are perceptive to these scents. This means you can really notice them even if the smell isn't particularly strong.

Wood smoke smells also cling because the scent molecules adhere to clothing in two ways. They get trapped in between the fibers of the fabric and can also be absorbed by the fibers. The fabric has a large surface area, especially when you consider the minuscule spaces between each of the fibers. This can mean washing techniques that usually work to remove smells are just not strong enough for wood smoke aromas.

How to Remove Smell From Smoky Clothes That Can Be Washed

Before washing your smoky clothes, you should soak them in a special scent-removing solution. Fill a bucket with warm water, then add around 250 ml of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda. Place the affected clothing items in the bucket until they are fully submerged. Allow the clothing to soak for a minimum of 30 minutes, but longer if possible.

After you've finished your soaking process, wring out your clothes and wash them in a washing machine according to their instructions. You can repeat the process of soaking then washing in the machine as many times as you need until the smell is gone.

How to Get Campfire Smell Our Of Clothes That Cannot Be Washed

If you need to get campfire smoke out of a jacket or another clothing item that cannot be easily laundered, there are other scent-removing methods.

Take your non-washable clothing item and place it into a sealable food bag. Add around 30g of baking soda and two dryer sheets per garment. Secure the seal of the bag and shake it to evenly distribute the baking powder. Leave the bag for at least 12 hours, but longer if possible.

When you open the bag, shake out the clothing outside to remove the baking powder. You can brush or lint roll the item to ensure the powder is removed fully. You can also go over the clothing item using your vacuum cleaner. If you want, you can follow up this scent removal process by taking in your clothing for dry-cleaning.

Other Tips For Wood Smoke Smell Removal

If you're in a pinch, you can at least minimize wood smoke smells by using a fabric odor spray. Make sure you purchase one that is designed to eliminate odor, rather than just mask it with artificial and sometimes not too pleasant scents.

Air circulation is also key to removing smoke or campfire smell out of clothes. After you've used any of these methods, hang up your garment outside if possible. Just allowing air to pass over and through the fibers will help lift the scent.

If your scent is persistent, an alcohol spray can help eliminate odors. Mix cheap vodka or rubbing alcohol with warm water and spray across the affected clothing items. This isn't recommended for delicate fabrics, however.

There is also a range of products on the market designed for odor removal. These can be used for smoky smelling clothing. To get the most out of the product, try sealing it with the garment in a bag and waiting overnight.


Annie Walton Doyle is a freelance writer based in Manchester, UK. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Daily Telegraph, Professional Photography Magazine, Bustle, Ravishly and more. When not writing, she enjoys pubs, knitting, nature and mysteries.

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