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How to Get Smoke Damage Out of Clothes

Plaid shirt on clothesline

Smoke-damaged clothes don’t have to be sent to the dumpster. Depending on the severity of the damage, there are a few tricks you can apply to remove smoke odor from clothes. We’ve seen our fair share of smoke damage. As experts in the fire damage restoration industry, Rainbow International professionals have been restoring fire- and smoke-damaged property for years. We’re happy to share these laundry hacks so you can have your clothes back!

How to Wash Smoke-Damaged Clothes


If the clothes are machine washable, laundering is the easiest solution. Any clothes with burn holes should be thrown away. To wash the smoke-damaged garments, begin by taking them outside and shaking them off to remove any loose soot particles. Leave them outside for at least 24 hours to let them air out. Even better if you can let them air out for a few days. If you stood too close to a campfire, this simple task can sometimes remove the smoke smell entirely.

If your wardrobe endured a house fire instead of a campfire, you’ll need to do more than air the garments out. After the clothes have aired out for 24 or more hours, spray them down with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Do this a few times if the clothing smells extremely smoky. Don’t allow the clothing to dry! Toss it in the washing machine while it’s still damp, and add a cup of vinegar and a cup of baking soda right on the clothes. Launder the clothes normally. Before you dry them, machine wash them again with your preferred detergent. If they come out smelling like vinegar, don’t worry; this will go away naturally. If the clothes still smell smoky, wash them once again; it may take up to five cycles to remove the smell entirely.

Remove Smoke Smell from Non-Washable Fabrics


Can’t toss your favorite jacket in the washing machine? For fabrics that are not machine-safe, we have a solution for you. Baking soda is an effective odor remover. To clean the garment, first bring it outside. Sprinkle the baking soda generously over all surfaces. Allow the baking soda to do its magic for at least a day, and then vacuum or shake it off. You may have to apply this method repeatedly before it takes full effect. Fresh air will help remove the smoke odor, so leave the item outside for as long as possible. Some commercial smoke-odor-removing products can be effective as well. However, be careful not to buy a product that just masks the scent with a stronger smell.

Smoke Damage Professionals


If you suffered a house fire, your clothes probably aren’t the only things that smell smoky. Learn how to remove smoke odors from a room with help from your local fire damage restoration professionals. Or simply ask our IICRC-certified technicians to remove that smoke odor and restore the indoor air quality in your home. Schedule an appointment online or call 855-724-6269 to speak to a representative. Available 24/7, 365 days a year.

If your house still smells smoky after it has been cleaned properly, it’s probably because the smoke penetrated the walls; some types of paint hold odors easily. A fresh coat of paint from our sister company, Five Star Painting, can help fix that. Five Star Painting is part of the Neighborly network of trusted home service providers. Give them a call to freshen up your home’s interior scent and style.