Bad smells can pop up almost anywhere in the house. There’s no shame in it. Everyone has to deal with foul odors at some point, and for many, it’s an ongoing concern. One study even found that nearly 70% of Americans worry about how their house might smell to others!
Daily activity in even the cleanest home naturally leads to offensive odors, which might explain why there are so many products to combat them. But despite the selection, odor removers are not all created equal, and too many options only mask odors rather than destroy them.
Don’t waste your time and money on temporary solutions that make you fight the same battles repeatedly. If you’re ready to remove odors for the long term, check out our reviews of the best odor eliminator for the home in 2023!
Best Overall Odor Absorber — Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag
Activated charcoal pouches are a popular product these days, and you’ll find an ever-growing lineup of these cookie-cutter gray deodorizing pouches seemingly only differentiated by the brand name at the top. But it’s not from a lack of originality; the design is just that good!
A breathable (and, for the most part, tamper-proof) mesh pouch holds chunks of activated bamboo charcoal. The charcoal adsorbs odors, moisture, cigarette smoke, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to eliminate smells and improve indoor air quality.
The Vitscan Bamboo Charcoal Bag is as versatile as the next charcoal pouch. Its 12-pack comes with six 50g and six 150g pouches. Every pouch has a grommet for hanging on hooks or clothes hangers and is discreet enough to slip into a purse. Plus, you can recharge the charcoal in the sun, so it can keep working for up to two years.
While the specs don’t significantly differentiate Vitscan’s bamboo pouch from the competition, its value makes it our pick for the best overall odor absorber for the home.
Vitscan provides 12 bags in a pack at a great price, allowing you to tackle odors in several spots throughout the home. With six 50-gram and six 150-gram pouches of charcoal, you can spread them out in different parts of your home or cluster them to increase the rate of absorption. They’re safe, affordable, long-lasting, and highly effective, an overall excellent investment if general household odors are a recurring issue.
- Removes odors, moisture, and VOCs without harsh chemicals
- Versatile in any room of the house
- Lasts up to two years
- 50g and 150g pouches allowing for flexibility
- Safe to use around children and pets
- Durable metal grommet allows you to place the pouch anywhere
- Requires regular recharges to stay effective
Best Room Spray — Febreze Air Freshener Spray
It’s wise to be wary of aerosol sprays when you want to eliminate unpleasant smells rather than mask them. Febreze doesn’t cut corners on its air freshener lineup, delivering a promise of actual odor elimination alongside a fresh scent.
Use Febreze’s odor-absorbing air freshener when you can’t wait for an odor eliminator to take effect. The powerful spray creates a wide, continuous spread, making it easy to target and instantly soften smells.
Once airborne, the cyclodextrin in the spray attracts and traps odor molecules before they reach you. The Febreze air freshener leaves a delightful Gain-powered aroma, and the OdorClear Technology will stop bad smells from returning when the pleasant scent fades.
- Provides instant odor elimination
- Leaves a light fresh laundry scent
- 100% natural propellant is safe around pets and children
- Not recommended for use around birds
Best Odor Eliminator in the Bathroom — Poo-Pourri Toilet Spray
Poo-Pourri toilet spray will undoubtedly inspire a chuckle the first time anyone happens across it. And yet, it’s much more than a simple novelty or gag gift. Toilet odors can quickly stink up a bathroom, but a spritz or two of Poo-Pourri in the toilet before you go is all you need to stop those smells from filling the space.
The cleverly simple spray uses essential oils to deodorize and comes in an attractive package, letting you seamlessly slip it in among a collection of cosmetic products. You can also choose from several scents, all offering delightful twists that are fun to test until you find your favorite.
- Uses natural essential oils to freshen toilet smells
- Attractive packaging
- Numerous scents available
- Useful for toilets, trash cans, and other sources of bad smells
- Relatively small spray bottles
Best Refrigerator Odor Eliminator — NonScents Refrigerator Deodorizer
We may have covered the best odor eliminators for refrigerators already, but as it’s one of the hotbeds for foul odors in the house, it bears repeating: The NonScents Refrigerator Deodorizer is our pick for removing nasty fridge smells.
NonScents uses one of the most effective odor-eliminating ingredients, zeolite, to indiscriminately pull odors from the fridge. Zeolite traps gasses and moisture on its surface, much like activated carbon.
Unlike many activated carbon pouches, you don’t need to recharge the NonScents pack monthly. Tuck the slim package into an out-of-the-way place in the fridge or freezer. It will last up to six months without needing any attention, ensuring your food is as fresh as possible.
- Zeolite adsorbs gasses, VOCs, moisture, and odors
- Does not need recharging
- Allows produce to last up two times longer than normal
- Slim design saves space in the refrigerator
- Not refillable
- May give off an initial mild chlorine smell
- No hanging hook
Best Odor Eliminator for Closets — Arm & Hammer Fragrance-Free Hanging Moisture Absorber and Odor Eliminator
Nobody wants to pull out their favorite shirt only to find it has built up a musty odor from a stuffy closet. Absorb odors and the moisture that causes them by employing a classic solution featuring Arm & Hammer baking soda.
Arm & Hammer’s Hanging Moisture Absorber and Odor Eliminator hangs alongside clothes to dehumidify and neutralize odors. A fragrance-free pack is available, or you can choose the Clean Burst option to add a fresh scent to the closet.
The odor-absorbing pack’s generous size makes perfect use of the extra space a closet affords. It can last longer, absorb more moisture, and work more effectively to remove stubborn smells due to the high surface area. One pack can hold 16 ounces of water and last for up to 60 days.
- Absorbs odors and dehumidifies to prevent mold and mildew
- Slim pack hangs alongside clothes without stealing closet space
- Holds 16 ounces of fluid
- Lasts for up to 60 days
- Clean Burst fragrance may be too strong
- Relatively expensive
Best Shoe Deodorizer — Marsheepy Shoe Deodorizer Bags
No matter your cleanliness standards, there’s no escaping stinky shoes. After a long day of absorbing hot sweat and foot odor, shoes are happy to share stubborn smells with a closet full of clothes or a room full of people.
Marsheepy’s Shoe Deodorizer Bags are the perfect solution for smelly shoes. You don’t have to deal with a mess, unlike with foot powders, and there’s no worry about an overpowering scent you might get from a shoe spray.
Each pouch fits perfectly into a shoe, allowing the activated bamboo charcoal to absorb odors and moisture efficiently. They’re reusable for up to two years, and for the value, the 12-pack earns our pick for the best odor eliminator for shoes.
These packs are the perfect on-the-go deodorizer. Toss them in your gym shoes and bag after a workout, use one in the car for continuous odor control, or keep it in your suitcase to keep your clothes fresh as you travel.
- Perfect size and shape to fit into shoes
- Ultra-thin breathable fabric enhances the charcoal’s effectiveness
- Lasts up to two years
- Useful throughout the house
- Needs monthly recharging
Best Carpet Odor Absorber — Arm & Hammer Extra Strength Carpet Odor Eliminator
Baking soda is one of the best odor eliminators for smelly rugs, so it’s easy to see why we chose a carpet deodorizer where it takes center stage. In Arm & Hammer’s Extra Strength Carpet Odor Eliminator, baking soda is the primary deodorizer, but it gets a beneficial boost from a few extra ingredients.
Odor eliminators are great, but they’re even better when they clean the soil that creates them. By adding OxiClean Dirt Fighters, Arm & Hammer ensures its carpet deodorizer can lift more dirt, dander, and other odor-causing particles. Sprinkle it around the room, vacuum it up, and enjoy a fresh scent and a cleaner carpet than you ever thought possible!
- Added OxiClean power loosens dirt for easier
- Leaves a pleasant jasmine and citrus scent
- Digs deep down to pull out tough odors
- May need to sit for several hours to eliminate odors
- Makes areas inaccessible while it’s down
- Scent may be overpowering
Best Fabric Deodorizer — Febreze Fabric Extra Strength + Unstopables
Febreze offers two high-powered fabric and air fresheners with its tandem of Extra Strength and Unstopables sprays. Like the air freshening sprays, the Febreze fabric refresher uses OdorClear Technology, featuring cyclodextrin alongside citric acid to eliminate odors.
Both sprays attack odors in hard-to-wash fabrics, including clothing, upholstery, drapes, and carpets. With two options available, you can choose between a fresh and clean smell straight from the laundry or a more powerful fresh scent for extra-tough odors.
- Two bottles offer your pick of odor-eliminating fresh scents
- OdorClear Technology captures odors
- Unstopables scent can be overpowering
Best Pet Stain and Odor Eliminator — Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator
Pet urine is a special kind of cleaning nightmare, digging into fabrics and shrugging off conventional cleaners and deodorizers. Nasty pet odors are challenging to remove, and you can keep reactivating them for months or even years.
Most odor-eliminating products don’t work well on pet smells from the carpet or furniture. For these, you need a bio-enzymatic cleaner like Rocco & Roxie’s Stain and Odor eliminator. Natural enzymes break down the crystallized urine stuck into carpet fibers, allowing them to evaporate harmlessly.
Spray Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator on new or old pet stains, giving it about 10 minutes to work before blotting it up. It may take a few applications to eliminate odor-causing messes, but if anything can destroy the toughest pet odor, it’s Rocco & Roxie’s formula.
- Bio-enzymatic formula breaks down urine and eliminates odors
- Color-safe and effective on carpet, upholstery, bedding, and hard surfaces
- Safe for use around children and pets
- Relatively expensive
- May require multiple applications
Is Pooph an Effective Odor Eliminator?
Pooph is an odor-neutralizer spray that breaks down organic odors rather than masks them. The product oxidizes odor molecules to remove smells instantly. According to the label, it’s effective on all surfaces and 100% safe for people and pets.
Pooph’s formula uses eco-friendly odor remover technology from BioLargo. BioLargo makes industrial odor eliminators for landfills and waste treatment centers. Of course, you won’t get the same industrial strength in Pooph pet odor spray. Still, plenty of Pooph reviews state its effectiveness.
Pooph works on a 1:1 basis, meaning you need enough spray to match all the stain particles. Bio-enzymatic formulas like Rocco & Roxie, by contrast, are active. Bacteria and enzymes keep working until they run out of food (aka poop and pee particles). Compared to a product like Pooph, they’ll give you a more thorough cleaning to avoid repeat pet accidents and remove stains.
When you need to get serious about eliminating tough odors and marks, use an enzyme cleaner. But Pooph can be more convenient and time-saving for light everyday pet stains and smells. If you want to try Pooph spray, Walmart and Amazon carry various sprays for laundry, litter boxes, and general odors.
Choosing the Best Odor Eliminators for Your Home
Odor eliminators come in all shapes and sizes. Some are targeted for specific uses, while others are all-purpose, but the common tie between the best odor eliminators around the house is that they are permanent solutions. It’s crucial to invest in a product that doesn’t mask odors but instead removes them, ensuring you won’t have to deal with them time and time again.
While these are our top picks for the best odor eliminators around the house, this list does not include every odor elimination technology. Let’s look at the many considerations and types of odor eliminators available so you can make the best choice to keep your home smelling fresh.
Fresher air is easier to come by, thanks to a slew of innovative odor eliminator technology. Unlike cleaners, odor removers typically don’t require any action on your part. Except for sprays, you can generally set and forget the best odor eliminators for a month or longer.
Here are some of the more common odor eliminators you can use today:
- Air Freshener Spray: Fast-evaporating spray deodorizer with a fragrant smell to cover unpleasant odors, with some also eliminating odors
- Air Purifying Bag: Sealed pouch containing natural odor eliminators and moisture absorbers for use in rooms, cars, refrigerators, drawers, closets, and more
- Gel Odor Eliminator: Jar containing gel that absorbs odors and leaves fresh scents while it evaporates
- Air Purifier: Relatively expensive small appliance that actively circulates room air and absorbs bad smells, cigarette smoke, and volatile organic compounds via an activated charcoal filter
- Plug-In Air Freshener: Automated deodorizer that plugs into a wall, frequently spraying air freshener to maintain an enjoyable aroma
- Fabric Freshening Spray: Odor-eliminating spray that saturates clothing, upholstery, carpet fibers, or drapes to trap smells and release a fresh scent
- Scented Candle: Candle that releases a delicate, non-toxic scent to mask, but not neutralize, odors
- Powder: Powdered odor eliminator for absorbing moisture and neutralizing smells in dirty mattresses, shoes, carpets, and upholstered furniture
- Diffuser: Bottle or container that releases fragrances from natural essential oils to cover smells
- HVAC Filter: Odor-reducing HVAC filters with activated carbon to pull odors from recirculating household air
Most odor eliminators only work to remove smells. Some options, such as air purifiers and enzyme cleaners, can also clean materials as they capture odors. Air purifiers with added HEPA filters are particularly beneficial. A HEPA filter can help remove dust, pollen, and allergens along with dander and hair that may contribute to a consistent pet odor in a room.
Deodorizers use one or a combination of natural or chemical ingredients to neutralize bad smells. Some of the most common odor-eliminating components include:
- Baking Soda: Sodium bicarbonate powder that absorbs moisture and eliminates odors by neutralizing their acidity
- Activated Carbon Charcoal: Porous blocks or chunks of charcoal that grab odors, moisture, and gasses and hold them on their surface
- Zeolite: Porous mineral similar to activated carbon that attracts odors to its surface
- Enzymes: Proteins produced by bacteria that break down odor-causing materials
- Cyclodextrin: Cone-shaped sugar molecules derived from starch that trap odors
- Natural Essential Oils: Plant-based oils in various scents to use in DIY cleaners, oil diffusers, and air fresheners
Manufacturers make most air fresheners and odor eliminators safe for use around children and pets. Because they don’t eliminate microbes, remove dirt, or otherwise clean the home, effective odor removers don’t need harsh chemicals like bleach to do their job.
Some solid air freshener or gel odor eliminator products could be potentially dangerous to children. Brands typically encase these in plastic containers to prevent accidental ingestion, but it’s crucial to consider who has access to them before choosing an odor eliminator.
Essential oils, scented candles, sprays, and plug-ins are available in numerous fragrances. You can have your pick of light citrusy blends, fresh laundry smells, herbal aromas, floral scents, and much more.
Ordering a fragrant odor eliminator is often a roll of the dice. One of the most common knocks on scented odor absorbers is that they cover bad smells with an even worse one.
Even if you love the idea of a particular fragrance, you must read product reviews and avoid bulk ordering until you’re sure you like the product. Many air fresheners tend to give off a strong smell, even if they claim to use natural ingredients or produce a “light scent”. Scented candles are one of the best options if you want a pleasant scent without overpowering the room.
The best odor eliminators add convenience, either through their long-lasting effectiveness or easy application. Sprays work instantly but may only last a matter of hours. Other odor eliminators, like activated charcoal pouches, baking soda odor absorbers, or gel jars, work for about a month before needing a replacement.
Choosing the right product depends on how much odor-eliminating power you need. For instance, the one-off bad-smelling sweater may only require a Febreze fabric refresher, but hanging odor and moisture absorbers in the closet are more practical if a musty smell is an ongoing issue.
Staying on top of the replacement schedule with odor eliminators is crucial. The average activated charcoal pouch can last up to two years, but they need monthly recharging. You have to set them in the sun for 3–5 hours to refresh them, or you’ll have nothing but a bag of bad smells sitting in your room, unable to remove any additional odors.
The most convenient and effective odor eliminator is an air purifier. A powered air purifier typically doesn’t need a filter change for 6–12 months, so there’s little guessing about whether it’s working.
That longevity is one reason we like the NonScents deodorizer for fridges. It needs a replacement twice a year, but because you don’t need to recharge it, you can go months without worrying about it.
Larger rooms require a more powerful odor eliminator, so sizing the space is essential. Many products come in different sizes to help you find the right fit. Charcoal pouches, for instance, are available in sizes ranging from 50g options for shoes to 500g options and larger to deodorize a whole living room.
What Smells Can Odor Eliminators Control?
Odor eliminators can control all kinds of bad smells, including pet odors, cigarette smoke, burnt food aromas, and musty smells from moisture. But although they remove odors, they don’t take care of the source. If you don’t clean or remove whatever is causing the smell, you’ll end up using an odor eliminator until the end of time.
Are Odor Eliminators Safe Around People and Pets?
As mentioned, odor eliminators are generally safe, relying mainly on natural ingredients that cause few health concerns. Liquid sprays, diffusers, plug-ins, and gels are the most hazardous, as they are more likely to contain harsh chemicals, and children may accidentally handle or ingest them.
Among room air fresheners, an activated charcoal pouch or an air purifier is the safest option. They don’t release any fragrance into the room, so there’s no worry of accidental exposure, and charcoal is generally safe to handle. An odor-eliminating pouch is usually tamper-proof, but you may want something else if you’re worried about your dog or cat turning it into a chew toy.
Get Help with Your Home’s Odor Issues!
When you want the best odor eliminator for the house, the All Prime charcoal bag set is everything you need to tackle multiple odors at an excellent value. For more targeted odor control, our reviews have got you covered for any smell in the home.
Of course, odors are often a symptom of cleaning opportunities. If even the best odor eliminators aren’t keeping the smell away for long, schedule a custom home cleaning with Anita’s to root out the source of the problem. Book a cleaning today to save time, money, and effort on your house’s ongoing odor issues!