How to Get the Smell of Campfire Smoke Out of Your Hair and Clothes

Do you find yourself loving the cozy ambiance of a campfire but not so much the lingering scent it leaves on your hair and clothes? Fear not! There are several friendly and effective methods to bid farewell to that campfire smoke smell. By following a combination of washing, natural remedies, and freshening techniques, you can ensure that both your hair and clothes come out smelling clean and fresh, ready to embrace the next adventure without any smoky reminders.

What Causes the Smoke Smell to Stick to Your Clothes and Hair? 

Before getting into preventing and getting rid of campfire odor from your clothes and hair, let’s discuss the science behind the smell. Combining wood with oxygen and heat creates a combustion reaction which forms carbon dioxide and water vapor. Firewood logs also contain aldehydes, nitrogen, and trace amounts of heavy metals and mold spores. When the wood burns, it doesn’t completely break down all the chemicals into small molecules so smoke with the mixture of organic compounds is released into the air settles on your clothes and hair.

How to Help Prevent the Campfire Smell From Clinging to You

Fire pit ashes

Tip #1: Clean Out Your Fire Pit

Before starting a new campfire, take a few minutes to clean your fire pit of any leftover ashes or debris. This can help reduce the amount of smoke and lingering smell that can stick to your clothes and belongings.

Tip #2: Choose Dry Hardwood

When selecting firewood for your campfire, opt for dry hardwood instead of damp or green wood. Dry wood burns more efficiently and produces less smoke, minimizing the chances of the smoky odor clinging to you. Also, stack the firewood using a log cabin method or in a way that allows for optimal airflow. 

Tip #3: Mind the Wind Direction

Pay attention to the wind direction when setting up your campfire. Position yourself in a way that allows the wind to carry the smoke away from you, reducing the exposure to the smoky smell.

Tip #4: Create Good Airflow

Build your campfire in a way that promotes good airflow. Proper ventilation helps the fire burn cleaner and reduces the amount of smoke produced, decreasing the likelihood of the smell lingering on your clothes and hair.

Tip #5: Freshen up Before Leaving the Campfire

After enjoying the campfire, take a moment to freshen up before heading back to your living space. Change into clean clothes if possible and give your hands and face a quick wash with soap and water. This can help eliminate any residual campfire odor and leave you feeling clean and fresh.

Alternatively, you could prevent smoke issues altogether with the use of a propane fire pit or a smokeless fire pit. For other ideas, check out this post about how to reduce fire pit smoke.

How to Get the Smell of Campfire Smoke Out of Your Hair

Campfire Hair

Tip #1: Give Your Hair a Thorough Wash

Start by rinsing your hair with warm water to remove any loose particles. Then, apply a generous amount of your favorite shampoo, or a clarifying shampoo, working it into a rich lather. Focus on massaging the scalp and roots to cleanse away the smoky odor. Rinse thoroughly with cool water to seal the cuticles and leave your hair smelling fresh.

Tip #2: Vinegar Rinse

After shampooing, try using a vinegar rinse to neutralize the campfire smell. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar and pour it over your hair. Gently massage it into your scalp and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out. The vinegar will help eliminate the lingering odor and leave your hair smelling clean.

Tip #3: Lemon Juice Spritz

Lemon juice is known for its natural deodorizing properties. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a spray bottle filled with water and mist it over your hair. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out. The citrusy scent will help combat the campfire smell and leave your hair smelling fresh and revitalized. 

Tip #4: Dry Shampoo

If you're in a hurry or don't have access to water, dry shampoo can be your best friend. Apply a dry shampoo specifically designed for odor absorption to your hair, focusing on the roots. Massage it in and brush out any excess product. Dry shampoo helps soak up oils and odors, leaving your hair feeling and smelling clean without water.

Tip #5: Use a Scented Hair Mist

After washing or refreshing your hair, apply a scented hair mist or leave-in conditioner with a fragrance you enjoy. Choose a light, refreshing scent that complements your personal preferences. This will help mask any residual campfire smell and leave your hair smelling pleasant throughout the day.

How to Get the Smell of Campfire Smoke Out of Your Clothes

Air out laundry

Tip #1: Air Them Out

Start by hanging your clothes outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Fresh air and sunlight can work wonders in reducing odors. Leave them outside for a few hours, allowing the breeze to naturally dissipate the campfire smell.

Tip #2: Shake it Off

Give your clothes a good shake to loosen any ash or debris that might be clinging to the fabric. This will help remove some of the surface-level smoke particles and prepare your clothes for cleaning.

Tip #3: Pre-Treat and Wash

Before tossing your clothes in the washing machine, pre-treat them with a stain and odor remover. Follow the instructions on the product and focus on areas that are most likely to trap odors, such as collars, cuffs, and hems. Then, wash your clothes on a regular cycle using a quality laundry detergent.

Tip #4: Vinegar Soak

For particularly stubborn campfire smells, try soaking your clothes in a mixture of water and white vinegar. Fill a basin or sink with cool water, add a cup of vinegar, and let your clothes soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Afterward, rinse them thoroughly and proceed with regular washing.

Tip #5: Baking Soda Boost

Baking soda is known for its odor-absorbing properties. Add half a cup of baking soda to your laundry detergent while washing your clothes. The baking soda will help neutralize the campfire smell, leaving your clothes fresh and odor-free.

Additionally, don't forget to clean your washing machine afterward. Run an empty cycle with hot water and a cup of vinegar to remove any lingering odors and keep your machine fresh for future laundry loads.


With these friendly and practical tips, banishing the lingering smell of campfire smoke from your hair and clothes becomes a breeze. Whether it's washing with the right products, utilizing natural remedies like vinegar and lemon juice, or simply airing out your belongings, you can confidently enjoy the warmth of a campfire without worrying about the persistent odors. So go ahead, embrace the great outdoors, and keep your hair and clothes smelling fresh and clean, no matter how many campfires you enjoy. Happy adventures!

Fire pits

About the Author

Alicia Bowe
Alicia Bowe
Alicia Bowe is a product specialist with a flair for interior design and outdoor decorating. By day, she actively researches, measures, and writes about all things Sunnydaze. By night, after her two kids are in bed, she spends time relaxing in the hammock swing on the patio with her water fountain running for a calming ambiance.

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