We often go camping to unwind and get away from our hectic lives. But I found something else that lingers from our camping trips, besides the great memories. And that’s the smell of smoke from last night’s campfire being embedded in our clothing
And who knew it was so hard to get rid of!
If you’ve ever had a hard time trying to eliminate this obnoxious smell from your clothes or even your tent, don’t worry. I’m about to show you how to get rid of that campfire smell!
Campfire Chemistry 101
Firewood contains many substances, depending on where it comes from and how it is stored. Although its main constituent is cellulose (organic matter that plants are made of), it can also harbor other compounds, like nitrogen, small quantities of heavy metals, and mold.
When you ignite a fire, a combustion reaction takes place, which combines heat, oxygen, and cellulose.
The heat breaks down most firewood into carbon dioxide and water vapor, but not all substances can decompose, and they precipitate in the air.
Therefore, they linger in the vapor and are visible because these molecules reflect sunlight. This is why you can see smoke.
Also, combustion produces a variety of unstable substances, such as aldehydes, polycyclic hydrocarbons, sulfur oxides, and others. These compounds are the cause of the campfire smell emitted by smoke.
Even more, inhaling the fumes can lead to certain health issues, such as difficulty breathing, eye irritation, coughing, and headaches.
However, studies have not shown compelling evidence that exposure to soot can increase the risk of cancer.
How to Get Wood Smoke Smell Out of Clothes?
Now that you understand the logic behind the presence of wood smoke in your clothing, there are many methods and substances you can employ to remove the nauseating odor.
The approaches are rather simple, and some items range from common household products to store-bought chemicals.
Why does Campfire Smoke Remain in Clothing?
Some people wonder why the smell of smoke persists on their clothes if they never come into direct contact with the ash or soot.
Many people, like me, are very sensitive to odors and can easily detect smells, even when they aren’t that strong. However, the reason lies in the absorption properties of your clothes.
Some fabrics, such as cotton, nylon, and fleece, absorb scent particles easily in their fabrics, which makes them more prone to retain smells, like smoke and fumes.
Some clothing also retains wood smoke because they possess large surface areas within the fibers. Although you may not see it since it is practically microscopic, there is space between each thread. These spaces can trap smoke particles, allowing the smell to stay for longer periods.
If you follow these methods, the smell of smoke on your clothes will be a thing of the past. Now you can continue to experience the wonders of camping without the inconvenience of smoke residue.