The Unexpected Secret Ingredient Against Campfire Odors

As the sun sets and the stars come out, you gather around a blazing campfire, roasting marshmallows and sharing stories with friends and family. The warmth of the fire and the beauty of the surrounding nature create a perfect setting for bonding and enjoying outdoor adventures. However, after a joyful camping trip, the lingering smell of smoke can be an unwelcome reminder of the good times, as it hangs on your clothes, gear, and maybe even in your vehicle. 

Despite trying various cleaning techniques such as regular laundering or hanging items to air out, you might find that the smoke particles can stubbornly cling to fabrics, leaving a lasting odor. The good news is that there's a simple solution to this problem, and you probably already have it on hand: baking soda. Using this household staple, you can effectively combat the campfire smell and restore your gear and clothes to their pre-trip freshness.

Preventing set-in campfire smells with baking soda

Before washing any items with a smoky smell, shake them out to remove any ash or debris. This helps prevent particles from settling in during the wash. Add a cup of baking soda to your laundry detergent to eliminate campfire odors (per Gain). For more challenging odors, Baking Soda Guy recommends soaking items in warm water with half a cup of baking soda for a few hours or overnight. This helps the baking soda penetrate the fabric and target embedded odors. After washing, air-dry the items in the sun, if possible. Sunlight helps eliminate odors and is an energy-efficient way to dry your gear.

Baking soda can help fight odors in other ways, too. To absorb moisture and neutralize odors inside your shoes, sprinkle a little baking soda and shake out the excess before wearing them. Create a baking soda sachet for hard-to-wash items like sleeping bags or backpacks. Arm & Hammer advises placing baking soda in a breathable fabric pouch, adding some essential oil, and then tucking it into your gear. This helps maintain freshness between trips. If your car smells a little too much like the great outdoors, leave an open box of baking soda in it overnight.

How baking soda removes smoke odors

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can do much more than just help with baking. According to the Oconto County Extension, it has remarkable odor-absorbing properties that can come in handy in various situations, including getting rid of campfire smells. Baking soda is an excellent choice for this task because it can neutralize and eliminate odors, rather than just masking them.

Baking soda is amphoteric, meaning it can neutralize both acids and bases. When it comes into contact with acidic or alkaline substances, such as the components of campfire smoke, it neutralizes them, eliminating the odor. Baking soda also has a porous structure, which traps odor molecules and further enhances its deodorizing power. So, whether you're a seasoned camper or a weekend adventurer, remember to bring along some baking soda to make sure that the only lasting memory of your camping experience is the beauty of nature, not the smell of the campfire!