How To Get Smoke Smell Out Of Clothes: Steps That You Should Know

Smoke smell is something people with asthma or any breathing problems probably hate the most. But even then, people whose respiratory system works fine would hate this.

Smoke smell is not only suffocating it also lingers and sticks to clothes for a very long time.​ This is most especially true for thirdhand smoke from cigarettes. Unfortunately, smoke smell is not very easy to remove. Especially on clothes of a particular material.

So today, we are featuring a step by step instructional guide on how to get smoke smell out of clothes.

​Most people tend to think that simply spritzing on some perfume might do the trick. However, if you will notice, it smells funkier when smoke smell mixes up with perfume scent. Even worse, this combined smell can just give you a headache.

Knowing the proper technique as well as the do’s and don’ts might help you remove smoke smell in a more efficient way. (Instead of simply drowning out the smell of perfume)

How Do Clothes Accumulate Smoke Smell​

How Do Clothes Accumulate Smoke Smell​

The smoke smell cannot just come from third-hand cigarette smoke. Simply going out and walking in the streets can make your clothes collect smoke smell. Commuting and exposing yourself to vehicle smoke also causes this.

However, there are more factors to this than just going out. The smoke smell doesn’t only stick around in your clothes a long time for no reason. Here are several factors that might affect the longevity of smoke smell:


Again, just as we mentioned earlier, environment plays a big part in this. There will be places where smoke is concentrated. Exposing yourself (or your clothes) to these areas will, of course, make them absorb that smell.

So a quick fix would be staying away from these places. However, if you’re a smoker or a commuter, this might be impossible.​

Material of your clothes

Material of your clothes

This factor is more important than it seems. The material of your clothes affects how much smell and how long would it stick onto your clothes.

This is because each clothing material is woven together in a different way. Some clothing material are not as closely woven together like cotton wherein you still see a bit of the gap.

Smoke smell or other odors seep through and get absorbed quickly by materials like cotton and thus sticks more easily.

Now it is also important to note that there are fabrics which cannot be laundered in washing machines. Some are best hand-washed and some, dry cleaned. An example of these would be silk, polyester, and wool.

Cotton, however, is not as sensitive. So do take note what type of fabric material your clothes have.​

Body Chemistry

Body Chemistry

Now, this is something not most people would know. Your body chemistry affects how long and how badly is smoke going to smell like on your clothes. Some tend to perspire more than others.

In addition, damper clothes may mean that different odors tend to get absorbed more easily. This is also why it is important to dry your clothes after they get washed properly.

​Materials You’ll Need

  • Baking Soda
  • Detergent
  • Washing machine
  • Zip lock or any easy-seal bag
  • Vinegar

​Steps That You Should Follow


Use a Washing Machine

Use a Washing Machine

If you’re dealing with clothes that smell of smoke because of cigarettes, then using the good old washing machine is probably your best choice. Using the washing machine is enough to get rid of smoke in your clothes that come from cigarettes.

Although small, these cigarettes are powerful and can leave a bad smell. With that said, set up your washing machine and ready the cleaning agents that go along with it.


Filling it With Water

As you would normally do, fill your washing machine with water. However, do take note that you should use the hottest temperature available for your clothes. It’s usually in the manual or interface of your washing machine if you’re unsure.


Adding The Magic Ingredient

Adding the magic ingredient

Nope, the magic ingredient here isn’t the detergent. After all, detergents are as common as water when you’re using your washing machine. Anyways, the detergent should typically come at this step. However, we’ll be changing things up a bit.

Instead of the usual procedure, you’ll be adding vinegar instead. So why vinegar? Well if you’ve come across other articles on cleaning, you probably have seen other applications of vinegar too.

Simply put, vinegar helps by breaking down the toxins and tar. These substances are what causes your clothes to smell of smoke.

Just simply add one cup of white vinegar to the water mixture. The acidity of this household ingredient will work wonders.​


Take it a Little Further

Take it a little further

To have the best and smoke-free results, add another ingredient that goes hand in hand with the vinegar. This is the good old baking soda. Baking soda, like vinegar, is also known to have significant benefits when it comes to cleaning.

It’s very famous in cleaning sneakers and suede, for example. Thus, its cleaning wonder can also be applied to your smoke-ridden clothes. Just add the same amount of baking soda to the mixture, and you’re ready to go.

Remember to let the clothes soak first in the mixture for at least an hour. That will let the mixture break down the components of the smoke that have clung to your clothing.

After doing this step, blitz the washing machine and let it do its job.​


Re-wash it

You might be worried that step 4 could’ve been the last step. And you have all the reason to worry especially since having a mixture of vinegar might make your clothes smell sour. Well, in this step, you’ll be re-washing your clothes the usual way.

Instead of the vinegar, apply your favorite detergent and wash off your clothes until the sour smell is gone.​

Other Methods To Try

Hang your clothes outside​

Hang your clothes outside

Sometimes, if the smoke smell isn’t that bad, hanging your clothes outside is enough. The sun, the wind, and fresh air is the only thing that you might need to remove that bad smoke odor.​

However, be cautious where you hang your clothes, make sure it’s a place where there’s not much smoke accumulation. Or else, that backfires what you’re trying to remove

Cleaning non-washable clothes​

Cleaning non-washable clothes

Some clothes aren’t meant to be in the washing machine. Some of these examples are delicate fabrics like silk and wool. If you have this dilemma, then you’ll need to do a dry method of removing the smoke smell.

Get a bag that fits your clothing. Make sure the bag can be zipped or taped shut. Place your non-washable clothes inside and put some dry sheets in.To add, sprinkle a good amount of baking soda.

​The dry sheets with the baking soda will help sap that bad smell of your clothes. Make sure to lock the bag tightly that no air will come inside. Once you’re done with that, then simple dust off the baking soda off the clothes. Do this until the smell disappears.

At the End of the Day​

Clothes should always be well taken care of. Not only to longer their lifespan but also to make sure they do not easily accumulate bad smell like smoke smell.

But then again, removing smoke smell from your clothes should not be as difficult anymore if you know the right techniques.​

Religiously observing the do’s and don’ts will not only help you remove smoke smell more efficiently but it will also contribute to keeping you from accumulating smoke smell itself.​

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