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Skip the harsh chemical-based commercial cleaners and find natural odor eliminator choices to freshen up your home.

For a long time, I thought that the only way to deal with bad smells involved harmful chemicals. Not only harmful to our health but also to the environment. 

But I decided to set out on a project with my kids to see if we could find a way to make our own natural odor eliminator. 

As it turns out, removing odor is a lot easier to do using a few household items and some essential oils. And the results are far better than with plug-in air fresheners that you find in stores. 

In this post, I want to share our ideas and even a few off-the-shelf eco-friendly products that can improve air quality. 

We’ll also cover what kind of stuff absorbs bad smells best. 

5 DIY Natural Odor Eliminators

Creating a natural odor eliminator with non-toxic chemicals is a lot easier than you might think. Most people will have all the necessary ingredients at home to get started. 

1. All-Purpose Natural Odor Eliminator

spray bottle for odor eliminator

This odor neutralizer is one that we use to just spray as an air freshener. You can use it in restrooms or the kitchen after dinner to tone down strong smells. 

All you need to do is mix water, baking soda, and lemon oil in a saucepan and gently stir while heating it until the baking soda has fully dissolved. Don’t bring it to a boil; just wait until it’s warm enough for the ingredients to mix fully. 

Then, let it all cool down and transfer it carefully into a sprayer, and you’re ready to go. 

If you don’t have lemon essential oil, then you can also use lemon juice from half to a full lemon. 


  • Spray bottle
  • 1/3 cup of baking soda
  • 2 cups of water
  • Saucepan
  • Lemon essential oils

2. Basement Odor Eliminator

Basement Odor Eliminator

Your basement can become home to some unpleasant odors that build up over time. Often, it’s down to a certain level of dampness, especially if you keep temperatures lower in this kind of storage area. 

The best thing you can do here is regularly getting to the source of the odor without just causing a chemical smell to temporarily overpower it. 

Fill a sprayer with three cups of warm water and one cup of vinegar. Then use a scrubbing brush to clean the floors and any surfaces that could become damp and smelly. 

The good thing about vinegar is that the smell disappears pretty quickly. But if you don’t like it, then a few drops of essential lavender or eucalyptus oil will make the space smelling clean and fresh. 


  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Dry cloth
  • Sprayer

3. Bathroom Odor Removal

bathroom natural odor eliminator

Many people simply resort to placing air fresheners in bathrooms, but that doesn’t deal with the underlying problem. Often it can be smelly and blocked drains that can be the underlying problem. 

And simply adding a fresh scent to the air will only mask bad odors. 

Instead, mix equal parts white vinegar and baking soda into a sprayer. And if you don’t like the smell of vinegar, then you can just add some lemon or lavender oil.

Spray and pour this into your toilet bowl and all drains and leave it for about 20 minutes. Then rinse it out with hot water. 

You can use the same solution to clean surfaces and even deal with limescale. 


  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of essential oils
  • Sprayer

4. Furniture Odor Remover

furniture Odor Eliminator

As much as you try to ventilate your home, some of the bad odors will end up getting stuck in fabrics. And one odor absorber that can become quite unpleasant is the fabric on chairs, sofas, and cushions. 

It's also an area where simple air fresheners won’t do much good at all. 

What I recommend here is buying some distilled water and slightly heating it up. Then dissolve a teaspoon of baking powder and add a few drops of essential lemon oil. 

I’ve added up to 10 drops, but you can add as many as you prefer. 

Spray the solution onto furniture fabric, but avoid using it so much that everything is wet. You’ll be surprised how little of this solution you need, and doing this every few weeks is more than enough. 


  • 2 cups of distilled water
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 10 drops of your favorite essential oils
  • Sprayer

5. Shoe Odor Neutralizer

shoe odor eliminator

The final natural odor eliminator I want to recommend is one for smelly shoes and sneakers. If you have kids that play sports, you understand how sneakers and football cleats can quickly build up some rather nasty smells. 

Even if you store them in your garage, it’s just not a pleasant smell to be around. 

And yet, it’s quite simple to deal with. 

Buy a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide with a sprayer top. Spray about 3-4 bursts of the liquid into the inside of a shoe so that the surface becomes damp. Then gently rub it in with a damp sponge. 

You don’t want to saturate the inside as it can take a while to dry out. 

What this does is deal with all those nasty sweaty smells and kill off bacteria that could be making things worse. 


  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Sponge

7 Best Eco-Friendly Odor Eliminators You Can Buy

During my research for DIY solutions, I also found some eco-friendly natural odor eliminators. 

Here are the ones I have tried out over the past year. 

1. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag

This is possibly the most natural odor eliminator you can find that only contains non-toxic substances. The first thing I should mention is that these small bags can be used pretty much everywhere. 

I have one in my closet and one in the car. And because they are small, you won’t even notice them. By the way, you get four of them in each pack, so there’s plenty of flexibility to place them around your home. 

They work on a natural charcoal filtering basis and use a sustainable outer bamboo material. 

You should also note that it doesn’t have a scent. If you want to place it where your pet may sleep, then that’s probably a good idea to not irritate their senses. 

But some people prefer odor eliminators that have a nice scent as well. 


  • Versatile use for closets, cars, bathrooms, and garages
  • Doesn’t emit strong smells
  • Uses charcoal to naturally filter the air
  • Made with sustainable materials


  • Some people might prefer a light and subtle scent

2. Fresh Wave Odor Eliminator Spray & Air Freshener

Fresh Wave is next on our list of recommended natural odor eliminators. What I like the most about Fresh Wave Odor Eliminator is that it works almost instantly. If you have a lot of lingering smells after cooking dinner, all you need to do is spray it 3-4 times, and the strong odors are gone. 

This is ideal if you’re hosting a dinner party and don’t want the constant smell. 

Fresh Wave Odor Eliminator also works great in basements, closets, garages, and even on trash cans. Now, it’s not a disinfectant or air purifier, but eliminating a lot of smells will improve your home’s air quality. 

As far as air fresheners go, Fresh Wave also seems to have an easy-to-use pump system that doesn’t hurt your hands if you want to spray it throughout your home once a week. 


  • Uses only natural ingredients
  • Works great for strong cooking odors or in musty basements
  • Ideal for fabrics on furniture without causing staining
  • Ergonomic spray handle


  • Some more scent options would be nice to have

3. Ellis Harper Fridge Ninja All Natural Bamboo Deodorizer

One place where your room air fresheners won’t do much at all is in your refrigerator. And this is also one place where you want to make sure that you only use non-toxic chemicals or natural ingredients. 

And that’s exactly what Ellis Harper has created with Fridge Ninja. 

By using activated charcoal and a chemical-free natural fragrance, you can make sure that bad smells don’t accumulate in your refrigerator. The company also says that this should help to keep food fresh for longer. 

What I like about these is that I can put them in cool boxes and portable fridges for hiking and camping trips. And I’ve even snuck one into my sons’ gym bags. 

The only thing I would point out is that they don’t seem to last the full year as promised. Not sure if that’s due to the size of the refrigerator, but you should be able to get nine months out of it. 


  • Removes bad odors within hours, leaving a fresh scent
  • Sustainable and carbon-neutral product
  • Also ideal for camping trips to keep cool boxes smelling fresh
  • Uses only natural ingredients and no chemicals


  • Doesn't seem to last quite a year, as promised

4. Mrs. Meyer's Soy Aromatherapy Candle

Another great way to deal with odors around your home is with candles as natural odor eliminators. Not only can they work great to deal with smells, but they can add a pleasant visual effect as well. 

These particular ones are eco-friendly, with no harmful chemicals, and based on soy wax. They release a warm and subtle scent that doesn’t become overpowering, as you can get with so many other scented candles. 

I typically light one of these for about an hour in the evening, and I have found that they last for about a month doing that. 

It’s a great way to deal with some lingering smells after a long day and just to set a more calming and mindful environment for your evening wind down. 

The only thing I’ve found is that sometimes the wick burns down quite short, and you might struggle to light it again. 


  • Soy-based candles with essential lavender oils
  • Provide over 30 hours of burning time
  • Effective as odor eliminators within half an hour
  • The fragrance isn't overpowering


  • Sometimes the wick burns too short to light it again

5. Vitscan Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bag 

The great thing about these charcoal air fresheners is that they come in two different sizes allowing you to use them anywhere from your car to a laundry room. The all-natural odor eliminators are based on charcoal and completely sustainable materials. 

The outer material is a highly sustainable bamboo weave, which will also fully compost. Basically, there’s practically no environmental impact from these. 

The pack of 12 also means that you can place these in many different spaces around your home. And my experience so far confirms that they will last for about two years. 

There’s also a convenient loophole so that you can hang them from a piece of string as needed. 

The only downside I have found is that they don’t seem to be hugely effective in sneakers. I still find sprays work better for these. 


  • Ideal for use in cars, closets, and other small spaces
  • Comes in a pack of 12 with both small and large bags
  • Uses activated charcoal and sustainable materials
  • Each bag can last up to two years


  • They don’t seem to be quite as effective in sneakers

6. ANGRY ORANGE Pet Odor Eliminator for Strong Odor

Here’s one of the most effective spray air fresheners I have found that works particularly well in areas where your pets spend most of their time. Those smells can build up over time, and even a few fragrant houseplants won’t help you deal with them. 

Angry Orange requires only a little spritz on rugs and pet beds to effectively deal with the odors. I tend to do this when the dogs are outside to let the initial burst wear off a bit. 

There aren’t any harmful chemicals in this spray, so you won’t have to worry about it making your pets sick or causing allergic reactions. 

What I would mention is that it’s not the cheapest product. And you could use some of the above DIY methods to make something very similar for a fraction of the price. 

But if you need something urgent to spray some freshness into your home, then this will definitely do the job. 


  • It has a nice and fresh citrus smell that isn’t overpowering
  • Works great in pet areas where odors can linger
  • You can spray it onto pet beds and rugs without doing damage
  • Doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that upset humans or pets


  • It’s not the cheapest option available

7. Hamilton Beach TrueAir Room Air Freshener Odor Eliminator

The final one of our recommended natural odor eliminators is this electronic device from Hamilton Beach. The company specializes in air fresheners and purifiers, and this one has charcoal filters to deal with smells and dust. 

It’s not a full HEPA filter, but it works very well to deal with lingering odors. 

There’s also a very convenient indicator to tell you when you need to change the air filters, so you keep a consistent level of freshness. 

The device has two-speed settings, so you can adjust it to the size of the room. I’ve found it works well enough for rooms up to 12x12 feet. 

The main downside is that this device does use electricity. But it’s about the same as a 15-watt light bulb, and if you set timers to turn it on and off, it shouldn’t have a major impact. 


  • Electronic device is highly effective at filtering air
  • Comes with a fresh and subtle mountain scent
  • The filter replacement indicator is ideal for consistent odor-free air
  • Two-speed controls allow you to adjust it to the size of the room


  • It does require some electricity use to fully operate

How To Remove A Bad Smell From A Room Naturally

Before you reach for a chemical house deodorizer, consider these simple ideas to quickly and effectively reduce smells. 

General Areas

First of all, before you try to solve smelly air with natural ingredients, simply open multiple windows and even doors. That’s assuming it’s not freezing cold or stormy outside, but even just half an hour of air blowing through your home can freshen and clean the air. 

One of the simplest natural room deodorizer options is to cut a lemon into a few slices and then place them on a saucer in different parts of a room. The fresh lemon scent will quickly build up. 

And another great option is to rub a small amount of vanilla on a light bulb. You really don’t need much for this to be effective. 


Let’s start with the refrigerator. Place a small open box of baking soda, and you’ll deal with most smells on a consistent basis. 

If you’ve had a cooking mishap and there’s a burnt smell in the air, then I suggest adding a cup of white vinegar and a cup of water to a saucepan. Turn on the hob and let it gently simmer away for 30 minutes. The smell of vinegar will be gone quickly as well as the burnt smell. 

And for a garbage disposal that has gone a bit smelly, first, pour a cup of white vinegar in and turn it on. Then get some lemon and/or orange rinds and turn it on again. 

You’ll get rid of the old odors and introduce a fresh scent. 

baking soda natural odor eliminator


A Natural closet odor eliminator would be some baking soda in a small cloth bag. I’ve tried just placing the powder on a saucer, but it doesn’t seem to be that effective. 

You can also peel a lemon and add the rinds to the small bag as well. Just don’t overdo it because you could end up with all the fabrics smelling like lemon. 


This is generally where I like to neutralize odors quickly with some form of spray. But to add a bit of general freshness, you can simply place a slice of lemon in a saucer. 

I find that lemon just seems to cut through smells more effectively, and it doesn’t get too overpowering. 

lemon natural odor eliminator


Carpets tend to absorb odors quickly, and it’s not really practical to have them cleaned every few months. While regular vacuuming will ensure that dust and other smelly things don’t accumulate, you can become a bit more proactive. 

What I do is sprinkle baking soda on carpets and even gently rub it in with a soft brush. Then vacuum up the powder along with the smells. 

vaccum cleaning

Pet Odors

Pets can leave behind musty odors. And one of the main things you need to do is to regularly wash your pets with gentle soaps. 

But for that lingering smell, I suggest the lemon and baking soda trick. Sprinkle the powder around the room and leave a few slices of lemon on a plate. 

And for more persistent odors, try one of the above homemade remedies. They work every time for me. 

pet smell odor removing

Mold And Mildew

And finally, a common underlying problem with odor control can often be mold and mildew. 

The most important thing here is to kill and remove any mold. If there’s possibly a significant spread, then you may need to hire a mold removal expert. 

What you’ll find is that pretty much any odor eliminator will only mask the smell for a while. Dealing with the underlying problem should be your top priority. 

mold and mildew natural odor eliminator


I strongly suggest that you try making your own DIY odor eliminator using natural ingredients. It will take just a few minutes, save a ton of money, and you’ll find that they are as effective as anything you can buy. 

And if you need some urgent air fresheners, then choose one of the above sustainable options. 

There are too many products with harmful chemicals that you want to avoid, and many products also use very unsustainable ingredients. 

And if you have some additional ideas to share, then why not leave a comment below for others to read as well? 

Chris is one of GreenCitizen’s writers who has been a long-time advocate of individual responsibility when it comes to the environment. He shares GreenCitizen's passion for making the world a better place every day of the year.

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