How to Get Rid of Smoke Odors on Your Clothes

Whether your mother-in-law doesn’t know you smoke or you spent a few hours at a smoky bar with friends, smelling like smoke can be a problem. Luckily, we have a few tips to help ensure that you keep your clothes smelling fresh and smoke-free!

The easiest ways to get rid of smokey smells involve the use of a washing machine. But we have a few tips to help you out even if you don’t have access to a washer dryer at the moment!

With a Washing Machine

It’s much easier to get rid of smoke smells with the aid of a washing machine. In fact, most smoke smells can be eliminated with a simple run through the wash! But if you have some heavily scented clothes or the fabric just isn’t letting go, try some of these tips and tricks!


Bleach works on completely white, cotton clothing, but for everything else, vinegar is the secret solution! Vinegar naturally breaks down any smoke residue left on your clothing, eliminating the scent instead of just masking it. 

Before you run your clothes through their normal wash cycle, fill a clean sink with warm water and add a cup of vinegar. If you like, you can also mask odors and freshen your clothing by adding a few drops of essential oils. Citrus and peppermint scents work best when fighting smoke. 

Soak for one hour and then wash according to the care label instructions. 

Lemon Juice

If you don’t have vinegar, lemon juice can work in exactly the same way by breaking down residue with its citric acid. Just make sure you’re using fresh squeezed! Lemon juice in a bottle WILL NOT work and may stain your clothing. 

Take about a half cup of lemon juice and add it to your clothing when the laundry cycle first starts. Use this in addition to your normal detergent ad your clothing should be smoke-free when you hang it up to dry or pop it in the dryer! 


Alcohol also kills smoke odors by breaking down residue. You can use cheap vodka (NEVER flavored or colored!) or rubbing alcohol. Just pour a half cup into your washing machine before running your clothing through a normal cycle. And voila! Clean clothes free of odor!

Without a Washing Machine

Sometimes when you’re traveling or otherwise occupied, you don’t have easy access to a washing machine. No worries! We’ll help you eliminate those smoke odors (or at least reduce them) without the aid of a washer. 

Air It Out

Hang the affected clothing in a well-ventilated area or outside if possible. Let it hang for at least a few hours, but up to a few days to air out the smoke smell as much as possible. Give it a sniff before wearing it again. And remember, if you’re going to sweat, wear another shirt if possible. Sweating releases odors you can’t smell when the clothing is dry. 

Baking Soda

Have you ever heard of putting a wet cellphone into a bag of rice to draw out the water? This tip works on the same principle. Baking soda draws out and traps odors. Fill a plastic bag with a half cup of baking soda and throw your smokey clothes in before sealing tightly. Shake the bag to make sure your clothing is fully coated–about two minutes. 

Leave the clothes in the baking soda overnight for best results. In the morning, shake the baking soda out of your clothes–outside is best to avoid making a mess. Be aware that black clothing may look a little dusty. Keep shaking until all the baking soda residue is off. 

If your clothing is too delicate or the smoke smell just isn’t coming out, bring it into Hangers Dry Cleaners! We’re happy to help you get your favorite clothes back in rotation.