How to Remove Odors With Charcoal

Mary Ylisela

Odors in and around your home can give your home and outdoor living area a dirty feel even when they're not. A busy home is exposed to many odor-causing substances. Strong odors, such as cigarette smoke and kitchen smells, can linger long after the source of the smell is gone.

Charcoal is a natural odor absorber.

While there are many products and methods for removing odors, you can use charcoal and charcoal-based supplies to remove odors by naturally absorbing them.


Place small bowls of powdered charcoal in a smelly closet to absorb odors caused by shoes or stinky hampers. Fill the ashtrays in your car with cat litter to absorb odors from smoke or mildew.


Avoid getting cat litter wet when it's deodorizing your surface as the litter will clump up and leave a gray, mushy mess on your surface.

  1. Fill disposable aluminum pans with 1 inch of powdered charcoal. Several charcoal briquets can also be used.

  2. Remove kitchen odors by placing one pan in the refrigerator and one on the counter top. Set a couple pans in musty basements or bathrooms and near stinky pet bedding.

  3. Leave the pans of powdered charcoal in place overnight so they can absorb the odors. Discard them the next day.

  4. Spread charcoal-based cat litter over hard surfaces that smell, such as patios, cement or wood, tile and cement flooring. Allow the cat litter to sit on the site of the odor for 24 hours to absorb the smell. Sweep up the cat litter with a broom and dustpan then discard it in the trash.