Eliminating home odors can be tough. Even in a clean home, the activities of day-to-day life can leave your house smelling funky instead of fresh. Cooking smells, sweaty shoes, messy kids, and pets can create a mean concoction of smells. But, the best odor eliminator can help tackle these unpleasant odors.
Odor eliminators don’t just mask bad smells. A good product should get rid of odors at the source and leave a fresher-smelling home. Read on for some important considerations and our top picks for the best odor-eliminating products available.
- BEST OVERALL: Febreze Air Freshener Heavy Duty Spray
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Marsheepy 12 Pack Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bags
- BEST CANDLE: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Scented Candle Lemon Verbena
- BEST GEL: Fresh Wave Odor Removing Gel
- BEST PLUG-IN: Febreze Plug in Air Freshener and Odor Eliminator
- BEST AIR PURIFIER: LEVOIT H13 True HEPA Filter Air Purifier LV-H132
- BEST FOR PET ODOR: Rocco & Roxie Supply Stain and Odor Eliminator
- BEST FOR CARPETS: Arm & Hammer Carpet Odor Eliminator, Extra Strength
- BEST FOR SMOKE: Tobacco Outlet Products Smoke Odor Exterminator
- BEST FOR BATHROOMS: Poo-Pourri Before-You-go Toilet Spray
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Odor Eliminator
There are a wide variety of odor eliminating products available. Odor eliminators come in a range of formats, scents, and formulations. Some aim to target specific smells, like smoke or pet odors. The best odor eliminators are easy to use and budget friendly. They get rid of bad smells without being too overwhelming.
Odor eliminators come in several formats. Some of the most popular types of odor eliminators include:
- Air fresheners: Air fresheners are commonly used in households and emit a fragrance to cover bad smells. Some air fresheners also include odor-eliminating ingredients. They can come in the form of plug-ins, sprays, gels, potpourris, automated misters, beads, and more.
- Deodorizers: Deodorizers work to neutralize bad smells. They are available in scented or unscented formulations. You can find deodorizer powders, sprays, bags, gels, and more.
- Candles: Scented candles are a cozy way to tackle bad smells. You can find candles made from paraffin wax, soy, beeswax, and coconut wax, in a huge range of different scents.
- Gels: Gel odor eliminators are a practical way to add continuous fragrance to your home. Unlike methods like sprays and candles, gels are fuss free and only need occasional replacing. They will leave your home smelling fresh all day.
- Essential oils: Essential oils act as effective odor removers and are naturally derived from plants. They are often used in oil diffusers, diffuser reeds, sprays, and potpourris. Common household scents include lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and citrus.
- Air purifiers: Air purifiers use filters to clean the air in your home. They can remove pollutants, odors, allergens, and toxins from the air, leaving behind a cleaner and fresher-smelling room.
Some odor-eliminating products, like air purifiers, have a dual purpose. Others are popular just for their fresh scent. Here are some of the advantages of common odor eliminators:
- Air fresheners: Air fresheners are easy to find. They are appreciated because they are often budget friendly, simple to use, and come in a variety of scents.
- Deodorizers: Deodorizing products are a great pick for neutralizing smells. Some products are unscented, making them suitable for those with fragrance sensitivities.
- Candles: Candles are aesthetically pleasing and are a great odor-busting item to have around the home.
- Gels: Odor-eliminating gels are great for if you want a no-fuss, longer-term odor eliminator. They’re a fairly hands-free option—you can leave them out for weeks or even months without needing to change them.
- Essential oils: Essential oils don’t only smell nice, they are also used for aromatherapy. Diffusing essential oils can bring a sense of calm to your space.
- Air purifiers: Since air purifiers pull pollutants and allergens from the air, they are a popular option for those with allergies. HEPA filters are particularly effective at filtering particles. They can capture odors, smoke particles, pet dander, and mold for truly fresher air. Air purifiers can benefit anyone who wants cleaner air in their home.
Room size is one factor to consider when choosing the best odor eliminator for your home. You may need multiple products for larger rooms. For small spaces, you may prefer a lightly scented product so the fragrance is not overwhelming.
Room size is particularly important when choosing an air purifier. One way to measure the effectiveness of an air purifier is with the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). The CADR rating refers to how quickly a purifier can clean the air within a particular-sized room. If a room is too large, a purifier will not effectively filter the air.
Odor eliminators can include natural or chemical ingredients. Chemical ingredients are commonly found in a range of products. They impart a fresh scent and can help with longevity and effectiveness.
Popular natural ingredients include natural extracts, enzymes, essential oils, and activated charcoal. Each ingredient has a different purpose. For example, activated charcoal can absorb odors from the air. Natural enzymes break down odor-causing messes (like from pet accidents). Natural oils and extracts can impart a pleasant scent without the use of chemicals.
You may prefer different ingredients depending on the odors you want to target.
Consumers are spoiled for choice when it comes to odor-eliminator scents. There are a huge variety of scents available to suit every nose. Since you’ll likely be smelling these products often, it’s worth the time and cost to find a scent that you love.
Many odor eliminators have a fresh and clean smell. But you can find products with almost any type of scent, from sweet florals and light citrusy blends to warm and woodsy fragrances. If you find yourself sensitive to some smells, there are plenty of non-fragranced options. Unscented options eliminate odors without leaving a new smell in their wake.
Every home has bad smells. You want a product that lasts as long as you need it to. Products like gels and plug-ins can last for weeks or months and offer a consistent fragrance. Air purifiers can last for many years, but most will need a filter change on a semi-regular basis.
Those who enjoy lighter scents might prefer a product that dissipates quickly. Candles or lightly-scented sprays are a good choice if you want a temporary fragrance. Many odor eliminators have deodorizing ingredients that help get rid of bad smells even once the fragrance is gone.
Most odor eliminators are easy to use, but some are more hands-on than others. Plug-ins and gels are convenient options. They work in the background and require little maintenance, however, you will need to refill or switch them out eventually. Products like sprays and candles take a little more effort, since they’ll only eliminate odors as you use them.
Air purifiers are another convenient option. You can leave them to run all day and night (a good choice if you suffer from allergies) or switch them on as needed. Air purifiers need occasional maintenance to remove built-up dust, and you will occasionally need to change the air filters.
Some products are combination cleaners and odor eliminators. For example, most carpet deodorizers and pet odor products need a bit of elbow grease to get spots smelling clean.
Our Top Picks
The best odor eliminators should be effective and simple to use. They should eliminate rather than mask odors. Depending on your preference, they can leave behind a pleasant scent or no scent at all. The best option for you is a product that you may find yourself happy to reach for frequently. Here are our top picks:
This Febreze Heavy Duty Spray comes as an economical triple pack. The spray has a “crisp clean” scent with notes of verbena and cucumber, which leaves a light fragrance after each use.
This spray doesn’t just mask scents: it uses Febreze’s “OdorClear Technology” to clean away and eliminate odors. It’s made for use in any room, such as entryways, bathrooms, closets, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
Compared to regular Febreze, this heavy-duty spray has double the odor-eliminating power and lasts for 30 days. It’s a great choice to tackle extra-smelly rooms. This spray uses a 100 percent natural propellant, which is safe to use around cats and dogs. Febreze recommends against using this spray around birds.
- Type: Air freshener
- Key Ingredients: OdorClear technology
- Longevity: Up to 30 days
- 100 percent natural ingredients
- Safe for homes with cats and dogs
- Made for most rooms in the house
- Verbena and cucumber scent
- Not suitable for homes with birds
Get the Febreze Heavy Duty spray at Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
Activated charcoal is the superstar ingredient in these all-natural odor eliminators—100 percent activated bamboo charcoal absorbs and removes odors from the air. Each charcoal bag is made from breathable linen and has a metal hanging ring. Charcoal is a natural and non-toxic ingredient. These bags can be used anywhere to combat all odors. They can even neutralize stubborn smells like smoke, pet urine, cat litter boxes, and more.
These charcoal deodorizers come in a 12-pack, which includes two 200-gram bags and 10 75-gram bags. These odor absorbers can be reused for up to two years. For maximum effectiveness, you can reactivate the charcoal once a month by placing the bags in the sun for a few hours.
- Type: Deodorizer
- Key Ingredients: Activated bamboo charcoal
- Longevity: 2 years
- Natural and non-toxic
- Comes with 12 bags
- Metal hanging ring
- Can be reactivated if necessary
Get the Marsheepy Air purifying bags at Amazon, Walmart, and Sears.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Soy Lemon Verbena candles have a bright, odor-busting scent. Lemon Verbena is a refreshing and citrusy fragrance that cuts right through odors. The candle is made with natural essential oils. Each candle comes in a simple glass jar that can eventually be recycled or reused.
These candles are made from soy, cottonseed, and vegetable wax. Each candle has a burn time of up to 35 hours and the wick is non-metal and lead-free. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products are cruelty-free and are never tested on animals. In case you can’t get enough of the fresh scent, this product comes as a 2-pack. You receive two 7.2-ounce candles.
- Type: Candles
- Key Ingredients: Soy, cottonseed, and vegetable wax
- Longevity: 35 hours (per candle)
- Lemon Verbena scent
- Made with natural ingredients
- Metal- and lead-free
- May not have a reliable wick
Get the Mrs. Meyers Scented Candles at Amazon, Walmart, and Sears.
Fresh Wave’s odor-removing gel gets rid of bad smells with the help of natural ingredients. This product is Safer Choice certified, which means it meets the U.S. safer product standards for less harmful products. The gel is nontoxic and safe for people, pets, and the environment. It does not include harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, alcohol, or phthalates.
These gel packs are lightly scented. They include plant-based ingredients like clove, lime, cedarwood, pine, and anise. Each container tackles tough odors 24/7 for up to 90 days. Fresh Wave recommends placing the gel where the odor is strongest for maximum effectiveness.
It works on common household odors, including pet smells, bathroom odors, and cigarette smoke. Over time, the gel will evaporate and disappear. You can buy refill gel packs to continue eliminating odors.
- Type: Gel
- Key Ingredients: Clove, lime, cedarwood, pine, and anise
- Longevity: 90 days (per pack)
- Safer Choice certified
- 100 percent non-toxic ingredients
- 2 packs per order
- Some users report unpleasant smell
Get the Fresh Wave Odor gel at Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Walmart.
The Febreze Plug In Air Freshener includes two scents in one small product. It automatically cycles between the two fresh fragrances. If you have a free outlet, you have space for this unassuming plug-in freshener.
This product uses Febreze’s OdorClear Technology to clean scents away. It deodorizes for up to 45 days when used on the low setting. When the cartridges are empty, you can buy refill packs, which come in a variety of fresh and fun scents. This product does not include phthalates, formaldehyde, or flammable propellant ingredients.
- Type: Air freshener
- Key Ingredients: Fragrance oils
- Longevity: 45 days
- 2 scents
- OdorClear Technology
- Phthalate-, formaldehyde-, and flammable propellant-free
- Should not be placed in reach of children or pets
- May smell too strong for small spaces
Get the Febreze Plug-in Air Freshener on Amazon and at Walmart.
This compact but powerful air purifier uses a true HEPA filter to clean the air in your home. It has a 3-stage filtration system, which removes 99.97 percent of airborne pollutants as small as 0.3 microns. The filters have an activated carbon layer to capture odors like cigarette smoke and lingering food smells.
This unit is perfect for small to medium-size rooms, including the bedroom. It has three quiet operating settings and is 100 percent ozone free. The night light feature allows you to choose between two night light settings, or turn the monitor light off for sleeping. Levoit recommends this air purifier for rooms smaller than 516 square feet. In rooms of this size, this air purifier can clean the air once every hour.
- Type: Air purifier
- Key Ingredients: Activated carbon
- Longevity: Unlimited
- 3-stage filtration system; removed 99.97 percent of pollutants
- HEPA filter
- Suitable for medium-sized rooms
- 100 percent ozone free
- Night light feature
Get the LEVOIT Air Purifier at Amazon, Target, and The Home Depot.
The easy-to-use spray formula eliminates pet odors, stains, and residue. It’s made for use on all kinds of organic pet messes. The natural enzymatic bacteria in this spray activate when they come in contact with organic waste. They feed on ammonia crystals and organic matter until the leftover pet mess is completely gone, eliminating the odor at its source.
This spray is powerful but gentle. It’s chlorine-free and safe to use around pets and children. It’s safe to use on most any surface prone to pet messes, including carpets, floors, furniture, litter boxes, kennels, and carriers. In fact, it’s certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute to be gentle enough for use on all colorfast carpets.
- Type: Air freshener
- Key Ingredients: Enzymatic bacteria
- Longevity: Unlisted
- Suitable for pet stains, residue, and odors
- Safe for carpets, floors, furniture, litter boxes, kennels, and carriers
- Carpet and Rug Institute certified
- Safe for homes with pets and children
- May require scrubbing for deep cleaning
- Some users report a very pungent scent
- Pricey compared to other air fresheners
Get the Rocco & Roxie Odor Eliminator at Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
Carpets can absorb a whole lot of spills and smells. This carpet odor eliminator uses baking soda and the power of OxiClean Dirt Fighters to leave your carpet smelling fresh again. All you need is this powder formula and a vacuum.
Baking soda helps to neutralize odors deep within your carpet. The Oxiclean “Dirt Fighters” formula helps to loosen dirt, hair, and more. The addition of the Dirt Fighters allow your vacuum to lift up to 25 percent more dirt from your carpet than vacuuming alone. This process maximizes odor elimination and leaves your carpets cleaner. The powder leaves behind a fresh jasmine and citrus scent.
- Type: Deodorizer
- Key Ingredients: Baking soda
- Longevity: As needed
- Neutralizes mold, mildew and smoke smells
- OxiClean Dirt Fighters; loosens dirt, hair, and other particles
- Lifts 25 percent more dirt than just vacuuming
- Jasmine and citrus scent
- Affordable price point
- Scent may be overpowering
- May not be safe for homes with pets
Get the Arm & Hammer Odor Eliminator at Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
Smoke odors can be extra tough to eliminate. If tackling smoke odors, it’s best to reach for a specially formulated product. The Tobacco Outlet Smoke Odor Exterminator eliminates smoke and pet odors using special enzyme formulation. The odor neutralizing enzymes don’t just mask odors, they also break smoke smells down.
This product comes in a 7-ounce spray bottle and has a “clothesline fresh” clean fragrance. It’s safe to spray on surfaces like furniture and in your car. Or you can spray it into the air to eliminate lingering smoke smells.
- Type: Deodorizer
- Key Ingredients: Enzymes
- Longevity: As-needed
- Specially formulated for smoke and pet smells
- Fresh laundry scent
- Suitable for clothing, furniture, car interiors, and airborne smells
- Smaller capacity compared to similar options
- Not recognized by the FDA
Get the Tobacco Outlet Odor Exterminator on Amazon and at Walmart.
With Poo-Pourri’s Toilet Spray, eliminate bathroom odors at their source. Spritz this spray-before-you-go toilet spray in the bowl before use, and it will help flush offensive odors away.
This spray comes in the original citrus scent, which is a blend of lemon, bergamot, and lemongrass essential oils. It does not use any harsh chemicals, aerosols, parabens, phthalates, or formaldehyde to battle bad smells. This spray is cruelty-free and made with all-natural fragrances.
Each 2-ounce bottle provides up to 100 uses. And when you finish the bottle, Poo-Pourri has a variety of different scents to choose from. Poo-Pourri sprays needn’t just stay in the bathroom—they can help keep your whole home fresh, from the nursery to the trash bin.
- Type: Deodorizer
- Key Ingredients: Essential oils
- Longevity: 100 uses
- Specially formulated for bathroom odors
- Citrus scent
- Free of harsh chemicals, aerosols, parabens, phthalates, and formaldehyde
- Suitable for multiple rooms and uses
- Small quantity compared to similar options
Get the Poo-Pourri Toilet Spray at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.
For odor control in any space of your home, we recommend the Febreze Air Freshener. This option has OdorClear technology and is made with 100 percent natural propellants to cover unpleasant odors in any space of your home. Alternatively, for complete odor elimination at the source, the 12-pack of Marsheepy Bamboo Air Purifying bags use activated bamboo charcoal to naturally remove odors in closets, shoes, and other small spaces for over 2 years.
How We Chose the Best Odor Eliminators
We researched the most sought-after odor eliminators in their respective categories and discovered that the best options are determined by their type, ingredients, longevity, scents, and other special features included by the top brands. To satisfy a wide range of preferences, we included air fresheners, deodorizers, candles, gels, essential oils, and air purifiers that are made with either 100 percent natural ingredients or chemicals that are safe for homes with pets and children.
These products are capable of eliminating unpleasant smells in most household areas for as little as 35 hours or for an unlimited amount of time. The top picks produce verbena, cucumber, lemon, clove, jasmine, fresh laundry, or no scents. Whether you are tackling pet, kitchen, or bathroom odors, select options on this list are certified by Safer Choice and the Carpet and Rug Institute.
Most odor eliminators are easy to use. Just be sure to follow the directions to get maximum odor protection. Some products will banish odors while you use them, while other products can be set up to combat odors 24/7. Here are some frequently asked questions about odor-eliminating products.
Q: What kind of smells can an odor eliminator remove from home spaces?
Odor eliminators can get rid of most lingering smells. For specific smells like cigarette smoke, pet waste, and organic messes in the kitchen, you may prefer a targeted, odor-eliminating treatment.
Q: Are odor eliminators safe around children and pets?
You can find nontoxic and natural odor eliminators that are safe to use around children and pets. For those with pet birds, it’s important to find a bird-safe odor eliminator.
Q: How long do odor eliminators last?
Odor eliminators are designed to get rid of smells and not just mask them. While fragrance may dissipate, deodorizers should get rid of odors and leave a room smelling fresher after each use.