How to Get Bonfire Smell Out of Clothing

For anyone who has enjoyed a bonfire, they know that their clothes will often be left with a musty smoke smell long after the fire has burned out.  The bonfire smoke produced within the night creates an undesirable aroma within clothing fiber that is characteristically strong and long-lasting.

To avoid spending money at the dry cleaners, this guide will introduce a range of unconventional household solutions for removing bonfire odor.  By following the below odor reduction tips, you will be able to increase your odds of eliminating this smokey musk and have your clothes smelling fresh again.

Traditional Smell Removal

1 Multiple Detergent Washes

Often one rinse and spin is not enough to the remove the musk of bonfire from clothing.  By putting your smoke infused clothing through two or even three washes you will usually be able remove remaining bonfire odor.

2 Hot Water

When using a conventional washing machine, be sure that the appliance is set to a hot water cycle.  The heat works to open up the stitching and to remove remnants of hard to get odors.

3 White Vinegar

On the first cycle of your washing machine, add a half cup of white vinegar to the mix.  Follow this by adding normal detergent for another rinse and spin to remove any vinegar remnants left behind.  Your laundry should be left detergent fresh without any hint of bonfire residue.

4 Baking Soda Wash

Once you begin your washing machine rinse cycle, add in 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by detergent added as normal.  Baking soda has the effect of removing smoky odor, with the added benefit sharpening colors and making whites whiter.

5 Air Dry

If you were unsuccessful removing odor with the above methods, air drying clothing after your wash cycle is suggested .  Air drying clothing on a outdoor line provides additional freshness over using a clothes dryer.  This occurs as the residual odor gets sweep off as the breeze removes remaining moisture.

Smell Removal without Washing Machine

Once your clothes contains bonfire odor, it can be difficult to remove the odor without washing.  Unfortunately, this is often something that is necessary due to certain clothing restrictions.  When cleaning options are limited, the following odor reducing tips can be performed without washing.

1 Sun

When hanging smoke-stenched clothing in the sun, several natural elements begin working to neutral odors.  The sun, wind and open space all work within your favor to wipeout any odor, and restore the clothing to it’s original state.

2 Borax

Utilizing borax to remove odor requires a box or trash bag large enough to contain the clothing you are trying to treat.  Place the clothing in the enclosure and sprinkle borax throughout to ensure that the items are covered within this chemical compound.  Closure the box or trash bag and let the clothing sit for a week.  After 5-7 days, you can remove the odor-free clothing and shake off the borax.

3 Baking Soda

Removing odor with baking soda requires similar instructions.  Use a box or trash bag, and enclose items of clothing with a half cup of baking soda.  After 5-7 days, remove items of clothing and shake off remaining baking soda.

4 Activated Charcoal

Using activated charcoal requires similar principles, but a different application.  Place activated charcoal within two old lengths of nylon leggings.  Place nylons and clothing within enclosed box or trash bag for 5-7 days.  After a week, remove freshened clothing.


Published by

Joe Fresh

Joe is an odor combatant, chemistry extraordinaire and all around good guy. He has an over-productive olfactory system with absolutely zero tolerance for unpleasant aromas.

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