Camping 101: How to Get Campfire Smoke Out of Hair and Clothes

If you’ve ever wondered how to get campfire smell out of hair and even clothes, these tips and tricks are for you!

how to get campfire smell out of hair

Is there anything better than sitting around a slow-burning campfire on a warm summer evening? No, the answer is no. Let’s set the scene, the sun is setting, your fire is perfectly burning with a light crackling sound, and you are in your most comfortable sweats with your favorite beverage in hand. Nothing could run this perfect moment.

Fast forward to the end of the evening and you are now getting ready for bed when you notice that your freshly washed hair now smells like campfire smoke. Ugh. 

If you are like us, and most modern-day women, you do not have the time or the energy to wash your hair every single day. 

Keep reading to find out exactly how to get campfire smoke out of hair and clothes!

How to Get Campfire Smoke out of Hair and Clothes

Campfire smoke and cigarette smoke cling to hair because hair is naturally very absorbent, similar to how a paper towel soaks up spills and messes. Smoke particles can easily penetrate deep into the hair shaft and cause the smell to linger for long periods of time.  

Campfire Smoke vs Damaged Hair

Damaged hair from color treatment, styling, and heat styling will trap the smell of a campfire in your hair more easily. Damaged hair contains less oil and moisture. Regardless of hair health, every hair type is at risk of campfire hair smell, especially in low-ventilated areas. 

Fret not readers, today we’re sharing NUMBER ways to get rid of unwanted odors like campfire and cigarette smoke out of your tresses. These easy ways use products you likely already have at home so you can enjoy the great outdoors without overwashing this summer. 

No Wash Methods 

Let’s be honest, most of the time (especially when we’re camping) we don’t have access to a shower let alone a hot shower. So in times like these, we’ve got you covered with all the best ways to get rid of that smoke smell without washing your hair.

First, Let’s Chat about Prevention

Taking necessary precautions before even venturing fireside on your next camping trip can help prevent the campfire smell in your hair in the first place. Unpleasant odors like smoke will cling to freshly washed hair that is left exposed. The next time you are heading to a bonfire or fireside event, consider pulling your hair up or in a low ponytail with a hat, hood, or scarf.

Use Dryer Sheets

Did you know that one little dryer sheet has the power to absorb campfire smells from hair? Before using your dryer sheet, divide your hair into sections. Rub your dryer sheet all over your hair, from the roots to the end. You can grab the sheet and almost clamp down on each section as you pull it through, touching as many strands as possible. Once you have run the dryer sheet over all of your hair, hit it with a quick blow dry on the cool setting and voila, you are done and now have fresh-smelling hair again! 

Spray Dry Shampoo

Similar to grease, dirt, and oil, dry shampoo is a miracle product when it comes to getting rid of smells in your hair. To effectively do this, you are going to follow the same method as we did with the dryer sheets, by sectioning off your hair and lightly spritzing your hair with dry shampoo. Once you’ve covered all sections, brush the dry shampoo through from root to end. To remove any white cast and to feel extra fresh, hit your hair with a quick blow dry on the cool setting. 

Always Bring Essential Oils

We love natural essential oils and their many benefits. They are also excellent at removing smoke residue from freshly washed hair.

This method is best used before bed as the longer it has to sit and absorb, the better the results.

  1. Simply mix a few drops of essential oil in your palm with carrier oil, such as coconut or almond oil. A dry spray hair oil like Moroccan Oil would also work perfectly!
  2. Rub the oil mixture in your hands together to mix the products together and then run through the lengths of your hair.
  3. When you wake up, your hair will be soft, hydrated and will have virtually no remaining smoke smell.

The most effective oils for removing the smoke smell from hair follicles include lavender oil, rosemary, or peppermint. Because this method does use an oil-based product, it’s not recommended to use it on your roots if you have oily hair.

Try the Baking Soda Method

Chances are, baking soda is a kitchen staple and is likely already in your pantry.

  1. Flip your head upside down and sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda into your hair.
  2. Use your fingers to toss it through and then use a blow dryer to remove any remaining residue. 

Hair Perfume 

While a relatively new concept, hair perfume is likely not something you have in your beauty arsenal now but will likely run out and buy now that you know it’s a real thing that can add a bit of luxury to your daily routine.

Hair perfumes are formulated specifically for your strands and are different significantly than regular perfumes which can be harsh on hair. They also usually contain hydrating properties like hyaluronic acid and other natural ingredients that cover odor have UV ray protection and give hair added shine and nutrients as well as making your locks smell fabulous. We’re currently loving THIS product.

Use Baby Powder in your Hair

While baby powder for sweaty areas like under your breasts is no longer recommended, using this age-old product works similarly to dry shampoo and baking soda for removing the smoky smell from strands.

Use the same process as the Baking Soda method above to achieve fresh-smelling hair with baby powder. 

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Wash Methods 

Sometimes, when the campfire smoke smell is really intense, nonwash methods won’t cut it. The best solution in these instances is a thorough wash. Strong smells sometimes need water and a cleansing solvent to open hair follicles and remove the bad odors. 

Wash with Clarifying Shampoo

One of the best ways to get rid of the smell of smoke in your hair, as well as product buildup, dirt, and oil, is a clarifying shampoo.

Clarifying shampoos are specifically formulated with a special chemical compound to remove excess buildup or residue on your hair or scalp, while the regular shampoo is formulated to scrub the hair and scalp clean. Clarifying shampoos contain more synthetic ingredients and can dry your scalp out if overused, so be sure to only use a once weekly. 

Wash with Apple Cider Vinegar

For really stubborn smoke odors in your hair (or stubborn dirt and oil buildup from styling products), apple cider vinegar is a game changer and smoke odors won’t stand a chance.

The natural properties that makeup apple cider vinegar work to remove buildup without stripping color and make hair really really clean.

Did you know that apple cider vinegar also promotes a healthy scalp by balancing naturally producing substances like yeast, oil, and dry flaky skin? Apple cider vinegar is also the best natural detangler and helps with hair loss and hair frizz. 

Use Vinegar to Wash Hair

Similar to apple cider vinegar, plain old white vinegar is an excellent option when it comes to removing smoky odors from hair. Because of the bioactive components in the vinegar such as acetic acid, vinegar is an ideal cleanser due to its antiseptic and disinfectant properties.

Along with the smell of campfire smoke, vinegar can remove dirt and oil from your roots, prevents dandruff, promote silky and smooth hair while eliminating frizz, and can even eliminate lice!

  1. The vinegar method is easy to use, simply mix one cup of vinegar with two parts water and pour/work the mixture into your hair and scalp.
  2. The longer you allow the mixture to sit, the better the results, however, you should not exceed 30 minutes due to the high levels of citric acid.
  3. Rinse with plenty of water and wash and style as normal.

This method for oily hair can be used 1-3 times per week. 

Tip:  The apple cider and white vinegar method can also be used by placing the ingredients into a spray bottle and spraying them onto your hair for more control. 

How to get rid of campfire smoke in clothing

Another item we quickly wanted to touch on is the lingering campfire smell in your clothing. Similar to your hair, the fabric in your fireside outfit will also likely smell less than fresh after an evening outdoors.

When a load of laundry is not an option for smoky clothes, we have a few odor eliminator suggestions to get you through until you get back home to your laundry room.

Washing in cold water and your regular laundry detergent is clearly one of the most effective methods, but when that is not possible, try these instead:

Spritz your clothes with your favorite perfume.

Use on your clothes with a combination of water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil and hang them in a well-ventilated outdoor area. Do not use carrier oil in this mixture as the oil component could leave stains on your favorite sweater.

Direct sunlight is amazing and will work even without any chemicals. Sunlight will also remove all odors from clothing with time. It can even remove mold, mildew, smoke, food smells, urine, and more. 

Well there you have it! Ten simple solutions to remove campfire odor from hair stands. Do you know of other simple solutions or great ideas to remove bad smells from clothes and hair? Let us know! 

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