How to Rid Your Clothes of the Campfire Smell

Last night was epic! The drinks were flowing, stories were being shared, and all your friends were gathered around a roaring campfire. This was just how you pictured the start of the camping season! But when you woke in the morning and started brewing your coffee, you couldn’t escape the pungent smell of last night’s campfire. It wasn’t because your fire hadn’t burned out, it was because your clothes reeked of smoke! Even though it’d been hours since you were around the fire, the smell of it was lingering on your clothes, giving you a headache. Luckily, you’re not doomed to wear the smell of your campfire for the rest of your trip thanks to a few tips we have for ridding your clothes of the campfire smell. Read on to learn how to freshen up and deodorize your favorite camping clothes!

Steam ‘Em

If you have a full bath in your RV, then this method should be an easy one for you. First, hang your smelly campfire clothes in the bathroom from either the curtain rod or the inside door handle. Fill the shower/tub with hot water. Then add four cups of white vinegar. Close the bathroom door(s) and let the solution sit in the tub for 10 minutes while your clothes hang freely in the bathroom. The acetic acid found in white vinegar works to remove smells from clothing as it rises up in the steam from the hot water. If your clothes still smell of last night’s campfire after ten minutes or so, heat up the water/vinegar mix with fresh hot water and give it a little more time.

Spritz ‘Em

Check your refrigerator’s fruit bin for this next tip. Grab a lemon or lime and a grater and start zesting it. You’re going to use the zest to make a water-and-zest solution to help freshen up your clothes. In a small squirt bottle, create a solution that is 1 part zest and 8 parts warm water. Let the solution sit and mingle for 30 minutes. Then thoroughly spray your campfire clothes with it and then hang them out in the sun. After about 3-4 hours, your clothes should be rid of the pungent fire smell and back to smelling like the great outdoors.

If your fireside party last night included vodka cocktails, then this might be the solution for you. That is, if your vodka bottles aren’t bone dry. If you have some vodka left, slowly pour it into a spray bottle that has a mist nozzle. Carefully mist it onto your stinky campfire clothes and let the powerful alcohol do its job. As the alcohol evaporates (and it will, don’t worry!), so will the smell of last night’s fire. Be careful not to douse your clothes in it, as it could harm or discolor more delicate fabrics. And leave your silk and suede camping outfits at home, as vodka is too harsh to be used on these fabrics. Try a less-concentrated 50/50 vodka/water mix if you’re concerned about spraying straight vodka on your clothes.

If you have a bottle of store-bought deodorizing spray handy, like Febreze, you can spray your clothes with it to freshen them up. Give it about 60-90 minutes for it to work its magic and transform your dingy, smoky sweatshirt back into your favorite go-to campfire gear.

Wipe ‘Em Down

One of the easiest ways to freshen up smelly campfire clothes is by simply wiping them down with a dryer sheet. Not only will this help absorb the musty smell, but it’ll fight any static too. And with all the wonderful scents that dryer sheets come in, your clothes will smell like fresh linen or sweet dreams in no time!

Another simple and inexpensive way to deodorize last night’s camping clothes is by sprinkling baking soda on them. This method works best on tough fabrics like jeans and flannel shirts, as you can easily brush or shake it off after it’s sat for a while. Softer fabrics may have a tendency to hang on to it. I recommend using a light layer of baking soda as opposed to completely covering your clothes in it, as baking soda can sometimes be hard to get off if it’s caked on. As a natural deodorizer, baking soda should work well in absorbing the smoky scent. Leave it on for about an hour and then brush or shake it off and take a whiff. Repeat if you can still smell the campfire on your clothes.

Box ‘Em Up

If you’re shacking up in the great outdoors for a lengthy period of time and happen to have a supply of clothes, charcoal, panty hose, and a box with you, then this is the perfect solution for your wardrobe problem. First, put your activated charcoal briquettes into an old pair of panty hose. Then place them in a box along with your stinky clothes. Close up the box and let it sit for 5-7 days. Voilà. In just a week’s time you’ll have your favorite campfire clothes back that no longer reek of smoke!

If none of these deodorizing methods are doable for you in the great outdoors and you feel like you’re trapped in a cocoon of campfire smoke, whatever you do, don’t spray yourself all over with perfume or essential oils. This will just intensify the smell as the perfume or oils mix with the smoke that’s lingering on your clothes and in your hair. Just ride it out and know that you’re not the only one who’s wearing last night’s campfire. After all, you ARE out in the great outdoors, so why shouldn’t you smell like it, right?

Do you have any tried-and-true methods for deodorizing clothes of that smoky campfire smell? Share them with us below!

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