How to Clean the Smell of Smoke from Your Clothes and Hair

Hair picks up cigarette smoke odors easily. Even airing it outside doesn't take care of the odor.
Hair picks up cigarette smoke odors easily. Even airing it outside doesn't take care of the odor. | Source

If You Smell Like Smoke

If you attended a meeting and sat near a smoker or gone to a bonfire you may be wondering how to get rid of the overpowering smoke smell. Getting rid of smoke odors can be difficult, especially cigarette smoke. Your hair especially picks it up. If you have an important appointment and don't have time to change and shower, these can be great solutions for you.

Here I'll show you what do do when your clothing and hair can't be washed right away. I'll also share some tips on how to launder your clothing and shampoo your hair later to be sure the smell is gone.

9 Ways to Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke Odors from Your Hair When You Can't Shampoo


A good shampoo is the best way to get rid of cigarette smells or other smoke odors. If you can't do that immediately these suggestions will help.

  1. In a pinch, you can sprinkle baby powder or body powder in your hair and then brush it out. Just sprinkle it lightly, so you don't have any problems getting it out. I can remember doing this one in High School, but we'd use it to get the oil out of our hair. It worked.
  2. If baby powder isn't available, baking soda will help too. Baking soda absorbs odors. It works for ashtrays, so it will work for hair. You may need to repeat this more than once.
  3. Spray a styling product on your hair. The nice smell will help disguise the smell. I've used this one many times. You smell the pleasant smell instead of the smoke. Of course it only masks the odor, but it helps.
  4. You can run a fabric softener sheet through your hair. Not only will it add a nice fresh scent, but it helps absorb the smell too. At the same time it will take any static out of your hair.
  5. Products are available that are created to get rid of cigarette odors. Use one of these and just spray it on your hair and clothing. Sephora sells a product to spray on your hair. Other products available are Banish and Gone Smoke. I haven't tried any of these yet, but they come highly recommended.
  6. Try spraying Febreze on your hair. Don't get it on your scalp and be sure it doesn't get in your eyes.Try to breathe in as little as possible of the spray . If your hair is long, hold your hair out away from your scalp and then spray. If you have short hair, this may not work as well. If you can hold your hair out far enough to keep the spray away from your scalp, you can use it.
  7. If you just go outdoors in the fresh air and brush out your hair, the odor will lessen. Fresh air can do wonders.
  8. Suave has a dry shampoo. If you know you are going to be in this position often, you should purchase it and carry with you.
  9. Many people claim that rinsing your hair in advance with cider vinegar keeps the smoke smell from clinging to your hair. This is worth a try if you know you'll be around smoke.


Campfires can cause both your hair and clothing to smell.
Campfires can cause both your hair and clothing to smell. | Source

Getting Rid of Campfire Smoke Smell

Following the ideas to get rid of cigarette smoke odors will help. Here are a few ideas if you've been around a campfire.

  1. You should get out in the sunshine. Sunshine is a natural deodorizer.
  2. If you can't shampoo, but can take a shower, the steam helps remove the odor.
  3. Mixing lemon juice with water can help. Just make a blend of about 1 part lemon juice to 5 parts water and spray it on your hair. This will help neutralize the smell.

How to Shampoo Your Hair to Get Out Smoke Smell

If you've been in a room with smokers all evening, getting the odor out of your hair can be a challenge. You may need to wash it several times.

  1. Just shampooing your hair should remove the odor. You can try the next steps if it doesn't work.
  2. Adding baking soda with the shampoo can help. You should add about a tablespoon.
  3. Use apple cider vinegar to rinse you hair. You should only use a half of cap mixed with water. Don't use this on colored or highlighted hair. It may remove the color. The vinegar will remove the odor and when you rinse it out, it doesn't leave a vinegar smell.
  4. These tips should work with one try, but If one shampoo doesn't work, redo the entire process.

How to Get Rid of Cigarette Odor

Getting Smoke Odors Out of Your Clothes When You are in a Hurry

It is amazing how clothing can pick-up odors so quickly. Many of the ideas that will work for your hair will work for your clothing also.

  1. If you use Febreze or a similar product it will work to cover-up the odor. What I've learned about Febreze though, is that it is only a cover-up. It doesn't remove the odor. Only laundering your clothing will do that. It works in a pinch though.
  2. You can also try sprinkling your clothing with baking soda. Baby powder will work too. You need to be sure not to overdo it or you'll have problems getting it out. Use a clothing brush to brush it out afterwards.

Laundering Your Clothes to Get Rid of the Smoke

  1. When laundering your clothes, add 1/4 cup of baking soda with the laundry soap.
  2. For the rinse, use 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Don't worry about the clothing smelling like vinegar later. It rinses out with no smell.

by VideoJug, Youtube

Hanging the clothes outdoors helps get rid of smoke odors.
Hanging the clothes outdoors helps get rid of smoke odors. | Source

Dry Clean Only Clothing

There are two ways to remove the odor from clothing that can't be laundered.

  1. First try all of the ideas for removing smoke odors suggested when you need to get rid of the odor in a hurry.
  2. Fill your bathtub about 1/4 full of steaming hot water. Pour in some vinegar and then hang the clothing on the shower rod. The vinegar filled steam will help remove the odors.
  3. If you have an outdoor clothes line, hang the clothing there. Let the fresh air do its job. If not open a window and hang the clothes there. The fresh air should help.

If you've had a guest that smokes, you may want to find how to remove the odors from your home. How to Get Rid of Smoke Odors from Your Home will show you ways to get rid of the odor .

© 2013 Barbara Kay Badder

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Comments 33 comments

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

I never thought of using Febreze! Sometimes we just don't think of the obvious. Thanks for the good idea!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Sunshine625, Thanks for reading. I wouldn't get the Febreze on my skin or scalp though.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

No. But, with clothing...good idea:)


Vickiw 3 years ago

Imagine what that smoke does to your lungs, if it has this powerful effect on your clothes and hair?Can't spray Febreze in there! Interesting article for those confronted by the problem, but I simply won't put myself into an environment like this for any length of time! Good information though, and very thorough.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 3 years ago from Jamaica

I love the smell of wood smoke but I really hate cigarette smoke...lol. Vinegar was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this and am glad you included it for the laundry.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

vickiw, Thanks for your comments. I've been in situations where I just can't stay away from campfire smoke etc. Yes, secondhand smoke can be harmful.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Cardisa, Vinegar is the best way to get rid of smoke odors. Thanks for commenting.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

The fabric softener sheet on the hair is a good tip. These ideas are easy to put into use and I will remember as I do have a friend that smokes. Sharing here and on Twitter too. Thanks!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

ChristyWrites, Thanks for reading and especially thanks for sharing. I have used the fabric sheet on both my hair and clothes.


KoraleeP profile image

KoraleeP 3 years ago from Vernon British Columbia Canada

Great tips! I never thought of putting baking soda in my hair. I'm definitely sharing your tips because they are so practicle. Especially with summer season and campfires in the near future :)


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

KoraleeP, Thanks for reading the hub. I hope you use them.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

Great informtion. I hate that smell. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

moonlake, Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing.


passionate77 profile image

passionate77 3 years ago

nice and very thorough hub, thanks for sharing barbara , i'd try to follow some tips as i also dnt like smell of smoke but many times i have to bear it when some guest visit us, smoke cigarets and left us with smoke smell that some times is totally unbearable for me, thanks for sharing the tips hny, stay blessed!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

passionate, Thanks for reading the hub. Yes, you'll need to try some of the ideas and they do help.


old albion profile image

old albion 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Barbara. Febreze yes we use it all the time in the house in general. I particularly like the fabric softener through the hair, brilliant and so easy.

Graham.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Graham, Thanks for reading the hub. I'm allergic to the Fabreze myself. I wish I could use it.


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

These are great suggestions Barbara Kay!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Thanks you Fossillady. I'm happy you liked them.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great suggestions, Barbara! This can be a problem from time to time, and it is very hard to get rid of that smell. Thank you for these...I especially love the site of the clothes line outside.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

billybuc, Thanks for reading and commenting. I don't have a clothes line anymore. I don't have two good trees to hang it between and my husband isn't into that kind of stuff. I always enjoyed hanging the clothes out, since it was a good excuse to be outside.


cathie bridges profile image

cathie bridges 3 years ago from Pakistan

that is really useful information..Voted UP!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Cathie, Thanks for reading. I'm happy to hear you found it useful.


LCDWriter profile image

LCDWriter 3 years ago from Florida

This is great advice. Everyone has been in this situation at one time or another! I'm going to save it for future reference.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

LCDWriter, Thanks for reading and saving. I hope you don't need it, but in a pinch it should come in handy.


azrestoexp profile image

azrestoexp 3 years ago

Thanks for the great info and simple soulutions. Will give a try next time we BBQ.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

azestoexp, I'm happy you are going to use the advice. Thanks for commenting and have a nice day.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Valuable tips here about How to Clean the Smell of Smoke from Your Clothes and Hair, I am so glad to have stopped to read this hub, tips one surely would always need


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

DDE, Thanks for commenting and I am pleased that you found some helpful tips.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

Barbara Kay, this is a terrific hub and I voted up, useful and interesting!

Never thought of what you mentioned above, and I THANK YOU. My husband used to smoke, but he had to quit when he developed peripheral arterial disease in both his legs...Thank God I do not have to deal with the smoke odor any more.

Here in Upstate New York there is a total ban on smoking, so we don't have to worry about it in restaurants.

When I was growing up and working as a young adult, smoking was allowed EVERYWHERE - in offices, and any place of employment.

If we go over the border to Pennsylvania- about ten miles away-they have smoking and non-smoking restaurants. I guess it depends on what state one lives in.

Thank you for your tips which I am sure will benefit multiple readers.

God bless, Sparklea :)


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA Author

Sparklea, Michigan doesn't allow smoking in any public place anymore. That helps asthmatics. I have a friend that will have terrible problems if she is around smoke of any kind. We've been burning limbs since we had a terrible ice storm this winter. That is bad too. I blew my nose and it was gray like smoke. I wonder how good that is for the lungs too.


Claudia Mathews profile image

Claudia Mathews 21 months ago

I'm a smoker so this will be very helpful. But am I strange, I love the smell of campfire smoke on myself or anyone else. Great Hub.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 21 months ago from USA Author

Claudia, Thanks for reading the article. I like the smell of campfire smoke, but not once it is on my clothes .No you are not strange, because I am sure there are others that love it too. Have a great day.

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