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How to Banish Bonfire and Cigarette Smoke Odours from Clothes

It’s almost a month since many of us gathered around large bonfires and, dazzled by the flames and firework displays, celebrated Bonfire Night. Although the occasion is always a lot of fun, the task of ridding clothes of the stench of bonfire smoke is never an enjoyable one. Perhaps having to endure the odour of smoke on your clothes isn’t an annual event if you’re a smoker or live with a smoker. If you’re looking for ways to free your garments from the smell of fire or cigarette smoke, you’ve come to the right place!

Removing the Lingering Smell of Bonfire/Campfire Smoke

The Huffington Post shared a great, quick, simple and almost free way of banishing smoky smells without a washing machine…

1) Pop the smoke-infused clothes on a hanger.

2) Hang them on the bathroom door handle or from shower curtain rail.

3) Turn your hot water on to fill your bath up with water.

4) Turn the tap off and put four cups of white vinegar into the bathtub. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.

5) The white vinegar should remove that smoky bonfire odour.

Banishing the Pong of Cigarette Smoke from Your Clothes

We all know smoking is an unhealthy habit that also affects those around us via secondary smoke. But did you know the smoke absorbed by clothes is often termed ‘third-hand smoke’? Here’s some great advice on how to eliminate the stink of tobacco smoke…

cigarette smoke, fresh air, drying clothes outside

Let Fresh Air Work its Magic:

Hang the cigarette-smoke-infused clothes outside, ideally on a sunny day with a light breeze. It may not be very technical, but your clothes should naturally end up smelling fresh and clean.

Embrace the Power of Baking Soda:

Simply sprinkle baking soda onto the guilty garments and allow baking soda’s natural cleaning abilities to work their magic. Afterwards, allow those once smoky garments to sit in an area that is well ventilated for 2–3 days. A freshening spray can also work wonders.

Use Low Heat for Wool:

If it’s knitted or woollen garments suffering the worst effects of the smoke, put them in your dryer on a low- or no-heat setting together with a scented dryer sheet (that you can get from most supermarkets). If the clothes have had long exposure to smoke, you might need to repeat this a few times.

Take Advantage of the Wonders of White Vinegar:

By adding a cup of distilled white vinegar to your normal laundry detergent (or colour-safe oxygen bleach if you prefer) and then washing the smoky clothes on the hottest water setting permitted (as per to the manufacturing care instructions), you’re allowing the vinegar to help neutralise the nasty smoke smells. To give your wash an extra boost, apply a quarter-cup of baking soda directly to the offending clothes before washing.

Odours from cigarette smoke are notoriously stubborn. Be sure to smell your clothes once you’ve washed them using the above technique, before putting them in the dryer. You may need to repeat the washing process more than once to truly rid your clothes of the smoky stench.

What about Dry-Clean-Only Clothing?

cigarette smoke, clothes When it comes to clothes that say ‘dry-clean-only’ on the label, you have a few options. You could try:

  • Using a garment steamer with a mixture of 50% vinegar and 50% water.
  • Spraying the clothing with a half-vodka, half-water solution, as both the alcohol and the smoky smell will evaporate.
  • Adding an open bowl of used, dried coffee grounds in with smoked-infected clothes for a few days is a great way of killing smoky odours if you have clothes hanging in tight, confined areas like boxes or wardrobes. The coffee absorbs the smoky stenches from the air.

Alternatively, if you’re pushed for time or would like an experienced professional’s touch, you can always contact your local dry cleaner who would be happy to help.