Ways to Absorb Bad Odors

Many all-natural items will absorb bad odors.
Many all-natural items will absorb bad odors. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Daily life will fill your home with unpleasant odors. These odors will attach themselves to various surfaces, such as walls, clothing, furniture, carpets and upholstery. The nose-wrinkling smells can last for weeks and will typically not budge with normal cleaning. Fortunately, several common and inexpensive household items will absorb bad odors.

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White vinegar absorbs odors from both hard and washable surfaces. Add 1 cup of white vinegar to a washing machine to remove smells from laundry. Mist walls, carpets and upholstery with white vinegar and let air-dry. As the vinegar dries, it will absorb the smells from the surface. You can also use vinegar to remove odors from the air. Fill dishes with white vinegar and place in the offending odors and let sit overnight. Eliminate odors from cookware, dishes and drinkware by adding 1 cup of white vinegar to a sink filled with warm soapy and wash the items with the mixture.

Baking Soda

Inexpensive and found in many pantries, baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate and will absorb odors without harsh chemicals. To remove carpet or upholstery odors, sprinkle the area with baking soda and let sit for several hours before removing the baking soda off the surface with a vacuum. Remove odors from the fridge or freezer by placing a new, open box of baking soda inside. The baking soda will absorb the odors and prevent them from affecting the taste of other foods kept in the fridge. Replace the box every 30 days.


A common ingredient in aquarium and water filters, charcoal absorbs odors in the air. Place bowls filled with charcoal briquettes -- the kind used in grills -- around the house and let sit overnight. Alternatively, placing the charcoal briquettes in the freezer will remove unpleasant odors. Punch several holes in a container lid and fill the container with charcoal. Place the charcoal-filled container in enclosed spaces -- such as drawers -- to absorb odors.


Absorb odors from drawers, suitcases, purses and other small, enclosed spaces by filling it with crumbled balls of newspaper. Leave the newspapers in the item for 2 to 3 days. If the odor remains, fill with fresh crumbled balls of newspaper.


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