Homemade charcoal air filter

Updated February 21, 2017

Activated charcoal will solve most of your household odour problems. Activated charcoal is regular charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny spaces between the carbon atoms. The activated charcoal adsorbs odours from gases or liquids. Adsorb means that odorous carbon-based material sticks to the activated charcoal in all of those tiny spaces between the carbon atoms. Eventually, the activated charcoal is filled up with added-on carbon atoms and at that point the activated charcoal filter has to be replaced. Activated charcoal is available at pet supply stores, health food stores, industrial supply stores and online.

Place a few tablespoons of activated charcoal in moist saucers or ashtrays. Place the activated charcoal on tables or other surfaces around the room and let it stand overnight.

Put activated charcoal in a small cardboard box, approximately a 6 inch cube. Open the top of the box and leave it in an inconspicuous place in your room.

Cut a piece of lightweight cotton into a circle 8 inches in diameter. Place a couple of tablespoons of activated charcoal in the centre. Gather the edges of the cloth circle together and tie with a ribbon. Hang the sachet in a closet or bathroom.

Cut a 20 inch-by-20 inch standard air filter into four 10-inch squares with scissors. Glue the pieces to the insides of a 10 inch-by-10 inch-by-10 inch cardboard box.

Place the fan on top of one side of the box that has an filter behind it. Trace the base of the fan on the box. Use the razor cutter to cut and remove the section you just outlined from the cube.

Cut out a circle slightly bigger than the section you just removed on the side of the box opposite from the one where the fan will be placed. Be careful not to cut through the air filter.

Attach the fan to the side of the box where you cut out a section to accommodate it. Use two-part 5-minute epoxy. The fan must be positioned so that it will blow air away from the cube, not into it.

Thoroughly tape the bottom of the box shut with duct tape. Fill the box with activated charcoal from the top. Thoroughly tape the top shut and reinforce the other edges with duct tape. Plug in the fan.

Things You'll Need

  • Activated charcoal
  • Saucers or ashtrays
  • Small cardboard box
  • Cloth
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • 10-inch carboard cube
  • 20 inch by 20 inch standard air filter
  • Glue
  • 12 volt fan with AC adaptor
  • Razor cutter
  • Two-part 5-minute epoxy
  • Duct tape
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About the Author

Tanya Lee is a professional writer with more than 30 years experience. She has published extensively in the field of education and as a journalist, the latter in such publications as "High Country News" and "News from Indian Country." Lee holds a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.