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Using Charcoal to Remove Odors

Category Odors
Charcoal is used to remove odors in many situations. This is a guide about using charcoal to remove odors.


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September 29, 2010

Instead of buying baking soda to absorb odors in your refrigerator and freezer, try charcoal! I put a couple of pieces in each. After about five weeks, I replace with new ones, using the old ones for grilling.

I just ADORE getting two completely frugal uses out of one thing, don't you?

By Brianna Southworth from Dutch Harbor, AK

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August 30, 20180 found this helpful
Top Comment

Don't try reusing the charcoal. If you have ANY odor your food will absorb the odor from the charcoal. But charcoal works great in a freezer. Small bag slice it open leave for a week. Take it out. There it away. Place a slice of bread in it. After it freezes, take it out after ot thaws, check for smell. May have to repeat but only twice if freezer was correctly cleaned and left 2 days opened off to dry. Don't forget cracks, timer, drain pan. If this doesn't work. You'll need to replace the Styrofoam behind the panels.

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By 1 found this helpful
January 14, 2017

Aside from using charcoal for grilling fishes, meat or corn, charcoal also can be used as foul odor absorber. If there is a foul odor inside your living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen or even inside your fridge, you can use charcoal to absorb the odor.


Place it in a medium bowl or box or can, anything you're comfortable with to place your charcoal. Leave it in the area where there is a foul odor. The charcoal will absorb it, and the place will odor free!

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January 15, 20172 found this helpful
Top Comment

This is true. Crumpled newspaper also neutralizes odors in coolers and refrigerators.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
May 18, 2017

How much charcoal do you add to the bag of items you want to get the smoke smell out of?


May 19, 20171 found this helpful
Best Answer

1 inch of powdered charcoal or several charcoal briquets

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 29, 20100 found this helpful

My tip concerns removing odors from objects, furniture, etc. If you can put it in a plastic bag or cover it with sheet plastic to seal, then just buy however many bags of charcoal briquettes and cover the object with them. Seal it closed and let set for a few days or even a couple of weeks. You may have to do this more than once but I doubt it.


If the surface is finished you can lay the charcoal on paper towels and it will still work. I once had a new freezer full of meat, vegetables and other items that accidentally had the power turned off to it and everything inside rotted. The stench was terrible. After all cleaning methods failed, we lined the shelves inside with charcoal briquettes, closed it up for two weeks and all the odor was gone. The freezer was like new again.

By Kacee from Clinton, IN

Editor's Note: Be sure to use only regular charcoal, not the self lighting kind that is treated with lighter fluid.


Charcoal to Fight Odors

Boy, I wish we'd thought of this several years ago when our $200 chest freezer accidentally got unplugged and the meat rotted! (06/14/2009)

By Lelia Jo Cordell

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June 12, 20090 found this helpful

To keep your home free of odors and musty smells place an empty can or bag of regular grilling charcoal in the closets, rooms and basements straight out of the bag. The charcoal will last forever if one bakes it then you can reuse it. But with it so cheap, I discard it and start with fresh each year. I never thought I'd like it in the oven after absorbing odors for a year. Fresh uncooked coffee also works but charcoal is best. The coffee gives a nice smell but it doesn't last as long as charcoal.


By MaryBelle

Editor's Note: Make sure you use the regular charcoal, not the self-starting kind which contains lighter fluid. Also, put the charcoal in a can or plastic container, leaving the top open.


Charcoal to Fight Odors

Charcoal works here. The cheapest charcoal thingies are placed in a recycled coffee can with its top and bottom pierced with an awl in a pattern then set sideways, so both ends are open to the air, in any smelly area, even closets. Charcoal also helps absorb moisture in closets so your clothes don't smell mildewy.

Here, to quickly remove strong cooking odors, cinnamon is sprinkled onto whatever is smelly. This works especially well in the oven, microwave or other, to eradicate leftover scents.

Another great trick is to fill a small pot withwater then fill it with fruit rinds, powdered spices for baking or Peppermint (any Extract). Set the temp on very low.


Remind yourself to refill the pot as the water evaporates (06/07/2006)

By gator

Charcoal to Fight Odors

I have used the charcoal and if putting in basement area, you can put in old pair of panty hose and hang up. It will remove odors with time. If the smell is continuous from somethingm then it will not work. You can place a piece in an old sock and place in shoes also.

By Marilyn

Charcoal to Fight Odors

I had odors from mice in the oven. After I cleaned the oven thoroughly, I turned it on to about 400 degrees and got it hot. Then, after turning it off I placed a pan full of charcoal in the oven. After 2 times of doing this, the mouse odor was gone. (12/11/2006)

By John Watson

Charcoal to Fight Odors

An attractive way to use charcoal as an odor reducer around the house is to put it inside of small baskets. This looks nicer, while also allowing more air to flow around the charcoal, thus increasing its effectiveness.



By japangirl

Charcoal to Fight Odors

Using charcoal is scientifically proven to fight odors. One note one must be aware of is that this only works with activated charcoal. (09/09/2008)

Charcoal to Fight Odors

The best product which is an activated charcoal (carbon) odor absorber is called Fridge IT odor absorbers. Been using it for years for fridge and many other smelly places around the house like under my sinks and trash. (10/21/2008)

By KenG

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