A family roasts marshmallows over a campfire

How to Remove Lingering Campfire Odors

Gathering around a campfire in the great outdoors or in your own backyard can be a great way to spend the night, but after you've extinguished the flames, eaten your S'mores and retired for the evening, the smell of smoke can linger. 

Campfire odors can permeate everything from your clothing to your sleeping bag to your outdoor furnishings to your hair, and they can be challenging to deal with. The good news is that you don't have to forego campfires to keep things smelling fresh. In this post, we'll discuss how to get rid of the smoke smell from a fire, teaching you how to tackle odors without exposing you or your loved ones to harsh chemical ingredients. 

Understanding Campfire Odors 

Before we get into how to get a smoke smell out of clothes and other items, it's important that you understand why campfire odors happen in the first place. 

Campfires involve combusting wood. Combustion is when oxygen from the atmosphere mixes with a fuel, giving off the light and heat that we perceive as fire. 

When wood combusts, some of the material is converted to small molecules of gas like carbon dioxide that mixes with the air around you. However, not all of the wood turns into these undetectable gases. Some of it changes into larger molecules called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, or PAHs. They're what gives smoke its gray color and distinctive odor. 

PAHs are highly volatile, meaning that they're attracted to other compounds, and their size makes them fall out of the air. As a result, PAHs can stick to a variety of surfaces like the chairs you pull up beside the campfire. In addition, they can get absorbed into porous materials like fabrics, upholstery and hair. 

Preparing for Odor Removal 

Knowing how to get the smoke smell out of clothes and other items is just one piece of the puzzle. For your efforts to be successful, you need to do some prep work before you start addressing lingering odors. 

To do so, first remove any leftover ash or soot from the area. If you used a fire bowl, wash it out with soap and water. In the event that you can still see smoke in the area, use portable fans to increase airflow to dissipate it. Only when the area is smoke-free and clean can you tackle odors successfully. 

Natural Odor Eliminating Solutions 

Odor eliminating products play a vital role in addressing smoke odors, but not all formulas are equally ideal. Conventional synthetic air fresheners release chemicals into the air that may contain volatile organic compounds that can cause negative health effects like eye irritation and headaches. In addition, many of these products simply cover up smoke smells with chemical perfumes. Once their pleasant smell fades, you may be able to detect the campfire smell again. 

Natural odor-eliminating products like those from Fresh Wave work differently than synthetic products. Free of volatile organic compounds and toxins, our products feature a blend of plant oils powered by Fresh Air Technology. Here's how they work: 

  1. The products release plant oil compounds into the air. 
  2. The compounds seek out lingering PAHs. 
  3. Once the compounds encounter PAHs, they surround them. 
  4. A chemical reaction then occurs that neutralizes the PAHs, eliminating the odor. 

Fresh Wave offers a variety of plant-powered odor eliminators, including gels, sprays and packs. Read on to learn which ones are best for different items. 

Targeted Odor Removal Techniques 

The best way to deal with smoke odors depends on the material. For example, the process for how to get campfire smell out of hair is different from how to get the smoke smell out of upholstery. Here are our recommendations for eliminating smoke smells from various items: 

  • General environment: If the smell of a campfire got into your home through an open window or flaws in the building's structure, try placing a Fresh Wave Odor-Eliminating Gel in a large room or a Fresh Wave Odor-Eliminating Pack in a more compact area. 
  • Clothing: To get the smoke smell out of clothing, spritz on a Fresh Wave Odor-Eliminating Spray. Wash clothes as soon as you can and add one or two capfuls of Fresh Wave Laundry Booster to eliminate any lingering odors. 
  • Pets: If your pets smell like smoke after a night outside, give them a bath with Fresh Wave Pet Shampoo. You can also spray their bed with our Pet Spray. 
  • Carpeting and rugs: If soft floor coverings smell like smoke, try our Fresh Wave Odor-Eliminating Spray and then add our Vacuum Beads to the canister or bag the next time you vacuum. 
  • Upholstered furniture: Fresh Wave Odor-Eliminating spray is safe for upholstery and draperies, too, making it a great option for smoke odor removal. 
  • Hard patio furniture: Wipe down hard furniture with a rag dampened with our odor-eliminating spray. 
  • Hair: Shampoo your hair as soon as possible after the campfire. Then, rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar followed by water and condition as usual. 

Additional Tips and Tricks 

To strengthen your efforts in the fight against campfire odors and fireplace odors, follow these tips: 

  • If you're lighting fires in your fireplace, clean your ventilation system regularly and replace filters as often as recommended. 
  • Replace aging seals around your windows and doors to keep smoke smells out. 
  • Use smaller pieces of dry hardwood in campfires to reduce smoke. 
  • Place fans on your patio or porch to keep air circulating outside. 
  • Light a Fresh Wave candle on an outdoor table. 


Get Ready for Your Next Campfire 

Campfires give off a number of compounds that cause lingering odors, but by preparing for a campfire properly and using natural odor eliminator products, you can keep lingering smells to a minimum. Now that you know how to get campfire smell out of clothes and other items, you're ready to enjoy time around the fire with less worry about odors. 

As you gear up for your next camping trip or backyard bonfire, don't forget to stock up on Fresh Wave Odor-Eliminating products. Our gels, sprays, packs, laundry boosters and other products neutralize the compounds that cause smoke without any need for toxic, harsh chemicals. Shop the Fresh Wave collection now.