How to reduce odour with activated charcoal

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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How to reduce odour with activated charcoal
A laundry basket full of dirty clothes can result in an offensive pong. (Ewa Rejmer/Hemera/Getty Images)

Activated charcoal is carbon treated with oxygen, which makes the substance naturally absorbent. Activated charcoal is used in water filters and to absorb strong odours. You can find activated charcoal in pharmacies, DIY, hardware and health food shops in powder form or gel capsules. You can remove odours using activated charcoal better than with plug-in air fresheners or air freshener sprays that perfume the air and only disguise the smell. Because the activated charcoal absorbs odour, it leaves the room smelling naturally fresh.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Activated charcoal powder
  • Box or container with a lid
  • Sharp knife

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  1. 1

    Look for the source of the unpleasant odour in your home, such as an overflowing laundry basket, a dead mouse or spoiled vegetables or other foods. Remove the source of the smell.

  2. 2

    Place one or two cups of activated charcoal powder in the bottom of an open box. Alternately, you can place 5 to 7.5 cm of activated charcoal powder into an empty coffee jar. Punch holes in the lid with a sharp knife. Put the lid on the coffee jar and place it in the room with the smell.

  3. 3

    Close the door to the room that contains the smell. This helps the powder absorb the odour more effectively. If the unpleasant odour is in the entire house, place a container in each room.

  4. 4

    Leave the activated charcoal powder in the room area for five to six hours or overnight. Remove the container once it has absorbed the odour or you can leave it in the room for continuous odour control.

Tips and warnings

  • You can leave containers of activated charcoal powder in areas that frequently smell, such as wardrobes, near a cat litter box or near dustbins. Change the powder every month or six weeks to continue the absorbency.

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