How to Get Rid of Smoke Odor on Clothes

We all know that smell. The one that lingers after a night out bar hopping, dinner around the fire pit or an evening spent at a concert. That stale ashtray stink that follows you home and seems to engulf everything you touch. Yuck! How do you get that unmistakable smoke stench out of your clothes?
Woman holding her nose to avoid smelling smoke odor

Without Washing:


Air it Out

The first thing a smoky garment needs is some fresh air. Hang the garment in a well ventilated area…even better hang outside. It’s amazing what a little sun and fresh air can do.

Odor Eliminating Spray

If the smoke smell remains, keep the garment hanging and use an odor eliminating such as Febreze all over the front and back. You can make your own odor eliminating spray by combining equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil such as lemon or mint oil.

Baking Soda

Place garment in an extra large plastic zipper bag with plenty of room for the garment to move around. If you don’t have a large enough zipper bag can also use a plastic shopping bag or garbage bag. Add ½ cup of baking soda, seal or tie the bag securely, give it a quick shake and let the entire thing sit overnight. That will give the baking soda time to absorb the odor. Once it’s done sitting, take the bag outside, open and shake excess off baking soda. Tumble garment in low or no heat drying cycle to help.


Steam is another option to reduce the odor in garments that cannot be washed in the machine. Check the garment care tag to be sure steaming is ok first. Then steam the item slowly, making sure not to miss any portion. Use a 3:1, distilled water to rubbing alcohol solution to the water reservoir for extra odor elimination.

In the Washing Machine:


Vinegar Pre-Soak

Before washing, give your garment a nice, long, odor-eliminating soak. Add 1 cup vinegar to sink or wash basin, then fill with warm water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a fresh scent. Soak garment for 30-60 minutes, then wash as directed.

Scent Booster

Laundry products have come a long way in the past decade. So much, that they make products just to add a long-lasting fresh scent to your laundered clothes. We’ve tried Gain Fireworks and Downy Unstoppables and love what they do. Just add a scoop to a load of smoky-smelling clothes and let them go to work.

Lemon Juice

Fresh lemon juice can do wonders for all kinds of cleaning purposes, especially in the laundry room. Whiten whites and remove all sorts of odors, such as smoke, just by adding ½ a cup of lemon juice to the wash.


Alcohol is a powerful odor remover and safe on most washable fabrics. Pour ½ cup of cheap vodka (or rubbing alcohol) into the wash to eliminate tough odors.

Other Product Recommendations:



OdoBan is a product specifically designed to remove smells and odors. It has been found to work well for removing smoke odor and can be purchased at most superstores or online.

Febreze Odor Eliminator

Febreze has a relatively new product on market called Laundry Odor Eliminator. It’s an in-wash detergent booster (used in addition to detergent) designed to target tough odors. It can also be found at most superstores or ordered online.
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