How to Use Coal to Absorb Odors

Kaye Wagner

Activated charcoal is a fine black powder that absorbs chemicals and odors. This is why the coal is sometimes used to absorb poisons in the stomach after they are accidentally ingested. Activated charcoal can come in powder form or in can be compressed into block form.

Use either form to absorb odors in your home caused by smoke, mold or sewage. Do not confuse activated charcoal with charcoal briquettes used for barbecuing.

Removing Smells in a Room

  1. Place activated charcoal in a shallow bowl.

  2. Place the bowl in the center of the room.

  3. Let it sit there for several days until the smell is removed from the room.

Removing Surface Smells

  1. Sprinkle the activated charcoal directly over the hard surface.

  2. Let it sit there for several hours.

  3. Sweep up the activated charcoal.

  4. Repeat the process with fresh charcoal if the smell is still noticeable.

  5. Tip

    Store activated charcoal in a dry and cool place. Activated charcoal is also capable of absorbing and neutralizing poisons in your body. Contact a medical or holistic professional before ingesting it. Purchase activated charcoal at home improvement or aquarium supply stores.


    Keep activated charcoal away from children as it may cause diarrhea if ingested.