The best odor eliminators for your home

The best odor eliminators for your home

April 19, 2021
  • Stinky sneakers, pets, kitchen concoctions, forgotten gym bags: Our homes are inundated with unpleasant odors. What can you do to breathe more easily?
  • Hamilton Beach TrueAir Room Odor Eliminator traps dust and uses three carbon filters to eliminate odors, sending fresh air back into your home.

With odors from cooking, pets, our bodies, and the environment in general, our homes can be really smelly places. There are scented air fresheners that temporarily mask odors, but what we really need to do is eliminate them completely.

Since most of us don’t want to get rid of our loved ones (well, not permanently) or pets, we’ve put together a list of some of the best odor eliminators on the market. I started my testing by having a very good (and very honest) friend come into my home and give it a sniff. We all become used to the odors around us and can no longer detect them, but an outsider will catch that whiff of the litter box, last night’s stuffed cabbage, or stale-smelling carpet.

Our sense of smell is powerful and causes many reactions. Some odors are pleasant and evoke good memories and emotions; others cause distress. Malodors come from a variety of sources including bacteria (spoiled food and body odor), fungus (mold and mildew), and volatile organic compounds or VOCs (paint fumes).  The secret is to find a way to eliminate the bad smells and keep a balance of pleasant scents that are not overwhelming.

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The definition of clean is “free from dirt, pollution, or pollutants.” But maintaining a sterile home is impossible. Regular cleaning with disinfecting cleaners is the first step in maintaining an odor-free home. And, fortunately, there are products available that do a great job in eliminating odors. In my testing, I chose to focus on the toughest odors to control and the products that are the most effective, easiest to use, and offer the best value for your money. These are the tried-and-true products I’ve tested and recommend.

Here are the best odor removers you can buy:

  • Best home odor remover overall: Hamilton Beach TrueAir 04532GM Room Odor Eliminator
  • Best odor remover for pet odors: Mister Max Original Scent Anti Icky Poo Odor Remover
  • Best odor remover for small spaces: Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
  • Best odor-removing air freshener: Renuzit Snuggle SuperFresh Gel Air Freshener

Updated on 10/15/19 by Les Shu: Updated prices, links, and formatting.

The best home odor remover overall

Reasonably priced, small, and quiet, the Hamilton Beach TrueAir 04532GM Room Odor Eliminator will neutralize odors in a room automatically for three months.

I’m not a big fan of simply masking malodors with another scent. No one wants to smell lilac-scented fried fish. I want to eliminate the odors, and the easiest way to do that, I found, is with the Hamilton Beach TrueAir 04532GM Room Odor Eliminator. This little 8-inch cube is a powerful odor eliminator.

Just plug it in and using less energy than a 15-watt light bulb, the TrueAir fan pulls in air and puts it through three carbon filters to trap dust and malodors sending fresh air back into the room. I’ve been using the device for several months and my home is less dusty and smells fresh. There are two settings and I keep it on low, which makes very little noise. You can increase the speed if your home is really smelly.

The product claims to cover a 10-by-10-square-foot room for three months. After that point, the filters should be replaced. Changing the filters is very simple and if you don’t use it all the time, the filters are effective for more than three months. For strong scents, there are special filters designed for tobacco smoke or pet odors. It also comes with a fragrance cartridge, Green Meadow, that you can use or skip.

With more than 2,700 reviews on Amazon, 71 percent of buyers gave the product either 4 or 5 stars. One had a similar experience like mine: “We live in an old house next to a creek. I keep it very clean, but it constantly smells musty… My daughter has a kitten and therefore a litter box in her room. This air purifier eliminates the smell entirely. We have two large dogs who stay in the master bedroom when we are gone during the day. This really keeps the room smelling fresh.”

Pros: Continuous odor elimination, can be used with or without fragrance filter, low wattage, quiet, covers 100 square feet

Cons: Replacement filters not readily available in all mass-market stores

The best odor remover for pet odors

If you want to keep the pet but not the smells, Mister Max Original Scent Anti Icky Poo Odor Remover is your best bet.

Pets have accidents but even if you thoroughly clean after them, the odor often lingers in the carpet, upholstery, tile grout, and hardwood floors. And once the animal catches a whiff of that spot, it will return to the scene of the crime. Mister Max Original Scent Anti Icky Poo Odor Remover to the rescue.

I have a precious rescue pup that tends to urinate when startled or when she feels threatened. While her accidents have become fewer, there are still those moments. When it happens, I simply grab Mister Max and give the area a good spray. Thanks to the live bacteria and enzymes in the formula that destroy the odor molecules, there is no residual stench remaining that attracts the pup or her friends to the same spot.

Safe to use on all types of floors (it even penetrates concrete), carpets, and fabrics, the nontoxic Mister Max offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The product comes in both a light scent and an unscented formula, in several sizes. Here’s a tip for new parents: It also takes care of odors from diapers and up-chuck.

Pros: Eliminates the toughest pet odors, environmentally safe to use around humans and pets, 100% money-back guarantee

Cons: Does not remove visible stains, not readily available in most mass-market stores.

The best odor remover for carpets

Simply sprinkle Arm & Hammer Extra Strength Carpet Odor Eliminator and vacuum it away for a fresh-smelling home. 

Soft surfaces like carpets, area rugs, and upholstery are magnets for odor molecules. The fibers grab hold of the molecules and simply won’t let them go. This is particularly true for natural fibers like wool that are barbed, and synthetic fibers made from petroleum products that like to hold onto greasy molecules. Needless to say, with so many soft surfaces around, that’s why our home may smell funky.

Arm & Hammer Extra Strength Carpet Odor Eliminator combines baking soda and oxygen-based bleach to remove odor and leave your carpet and upholstery looking cleaner and brighter. Baking soda is a known odor fighter, and Arm & Hammer has been selling sodium bicarbonate (its scientific name) for more than 150 years, so it knows a thing or two. 

To get the most benefit from this product, I sprinkle a very light dusting and then use a slightly-damp sponge mop to work it into the carpet fibers (use a damp sponge when cleaning upholstery) and then step away for an hour or so. When I come back and give the area a good vacuuming, it is amazing to see how much soil is trapped in the powder.

Pros: Eliminates odor from carpet and upholstery, brightens colors, helps remove pet hair, inexpensive

Cons: Scent can be overpowering if too much is used

The best odor remover for small spaces

When your closet, car, or even the inside of your sneakers is less than fresh, toss in an environmentally friendly Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag to absorb the odors.

Small spaces packed with lots of clothes, shoes, or linens can begin to smell stale. The same thing happens in a car where food, body, and environmental odors become trapped. The last thing you need is another strong scent layered on top. Opt for an odor-absorbing air freshener instead, like the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag. The small fabric bag contains 200 grams of bamboo charcoal; simply place the Moso bag in the desired space and the charcoal will absorb the odors.

Moso bags come in several sizes to fit any space and will last up to two years. They can be “recharged” by placing them in the sun for one hour per month. This helps remove the moisture that has accumulated in the charcoal. Since this is a natural product, after two years the charcoal can be composted for the garden.

I love that the bags come in several colors and I use them to freshen clothes and linens in every closet, in the laundry room near the dog’s crate, and in my car to keep it fresh.

Pros: Nontoxic, natural product containing no petroleum-based chemicals, available in a variety of colors and sizes, reusable for two years

Cons: Does not remove odors immediately, takes several hours for effects to kick in

The best odor-removing air freshener

Renuzit Snuggle SuperFresh Gel Air Freshener provides continuous odor elimination in a long-lasting gel formula.

There are dozens of air fresheners in the market, and they’re available in various forms — from sprays and oil diffusers to plug-ins and gels. The problem with almost all of them is that they only add fragrance to the air and don’t eliminate odor. I don’t want “tropical sweat socks.” Instead, I use Renuzit Snuggle SuperFresh Gel Air Freshener that contains odor eliminating technology.

Housed in a contemporary-looking container, the air freshener can be opened as much or as little as you’d like to release the Snuggle fragrance. There is no need for batteries or an outlet, so there is no risk of fire from overheating.

The science is similar to that in fabric refresher sprays, where offensive odor molecules are trapped by ring-shaped cyclodextrin molecules (imperceptible to the human nose). The 98% biodegradable gel in the formula traps malodor molecules and eliminates odors.

While Renuzit and Snuggle have been around for decades, this is a relatively new product, so you may not find it everywhere. I don’t love strong perfumed scents, but I thought I would give it a try. I’ve been using this gel for more than a month and the bathroom still smells fresh and clean even when it has had plenty of traffic. 

Pros: Biodegradable gel, stylish container, no batteries needed, scent level is adjustable.

Cons: Not readily available everywhere

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

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