Charcoal Air Purifier: Does it Work?

This post is everything about a charcoal air purifier. Do they work? What is a charcoal bag? Can it really purify the air? We have all the answers.  This quick read is for the charcoal air purifier skeptic, stinky car owner, anyone with kids, or someone who just wants to help out the environment with something less toxic to get rid of odors. 

The challenge with perusing a charcoal air purifier is knowing if they work and if they are safe to use.   

By the time you are done here, you will be happy that there is hope for all the stinking things in your life, and have cleaner air to breathe for you and your loved ones. 

As an Amazon Affiliate, I may get compensation for qualifying purchases.

Does Charcoal Purify the Air?

Yes. Charcoal or activated carbon can help to purify the air. According to an article published by the National Library of Medicine, activated carbon is highly porous, making it a good option to absorb violent organic compounds (VOCs), gases, bacteria, and liquids.

Air that is passed through carbon aids in the removal of airborne particles, and purifies the air. 

Do Air Purifying Charcoal Bags Work?

Yes. According to the Centers for Respiratory Health, air-purifying charcoal bags work and can absorb the following from the air.

What Charcoal Bags Absorb

What Charcoal Bags Absorb Odors Bacteria Pollutants (VOCs) Allergens Moisture from the air. learn more about Charcoal Air Purifiers at

  • Odors
  • Bacteria
  • Pollutants (VOCs)
  • Allergens
  • Moisture from the air

Are Charcoal Deodorizers Good?

Yes. Charcoal deodorizers are good at deodorizing without bringing toxic chemicals into your home. But, how efficiently the odor is removed will vary based on the type of deodorizer.

Charcoal Bags

amazon image of charcoal air purifier bags hanging from a closet

Charcoal bags contain activated carbon to remove odors from the air. This approach is all-natural, doesn’t require electricity, and is good for small areas. If you are looking to deodorize more than a closet or a car, you may need a less passive approach, like an air purifier with a charcoal filter.

Air Purifiers


Air purifiers or HEPA filters, remove 99.97% of particles floating in the air by pulling air through a HEPA filter. Some air purifier units have a charcoal pre-filter attached to catch odors and pollutants from the air.

This approach of circulating air through filters and pushing clean air around the room is a better bet for small, medium, or even large rooms.

Ensure that you get the properly rated air purifier for the size of the room you are trying to purify.

Our family uses the WINIX 5500-2, which has a carbon pre-filter. You can check out the complete review here: 

WINIX PlasmaWave 5500-2 True HEPA Air Purifier Review

Does Charcoal Absorb Odor?

infographic of a piece of charcoal that states: activated charcoal absorbs unwanted odors, naturally.

Yes. Charcoal actually absorbs odors, it doesn’t mask them. According to the Rainbow International Restoration Co.  All forms of activated charcoal including grilling briquettes have great odor absorbent properties.

It is not recommended to use the charcoal from the grill, as they may contain other chemicals (i.e. lighter fluid) and you do not want to bring that into your home.

You can buy bulk charcoal to use, or purchase a sachet that is ready to go.

How Do I Naturally Purify the Air in my House?

There are a few different techniques you can try when naturally purifying the air in your house.  recommends trying the following.

Remove the Source of Contaminated Air

By getting rid of the cause of poor air quality, you are ahead of the game for clean air. For example, if you have a dust mite allergy, you can remove the source by dusting, and limiting the number of surfaces that collect dust (trinkets, rugs, curtains).

Also, ensure you are changing your heating and cooling unit’s filters often to catch any large particles floating around.

If you have carpet, vacuum often and make sure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter. If not, you can snag one at your local Target, or on Amazon for a decent price.

Use a Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifier Bag


image of amazon bamboo charcoal sachets for odors

These a little sachets filled with activated carbon, made from bamboo (a renewable resource). Charcoal absorbs most organic contaminants like allergens and odors. If the area you are trying to purify is small then these little bags might be the best choice for you.

Open a Window

Open a window to improve indoor air quality naturally in your home

Letting in some fresh air through an open window can drastically change the air quality indoors, and it’s a completely natural approach. Check that the air quality in your area is healthy or “safe” before opening the window, you wouldn’t want to make the air worse!

Check the Local Air Quality

air quality index infographic. Color coded from green to red. 0-50 good (green), 51-100 moderate (yellow), 101-150 unhealthy for sensitive groups (orange), 151-200 unhealthy (red), 201 -300 very unhealthy (purple), 301 - 500 hazardous (red).

You can look up the air quality in your area at any time through

AirNow air quality index guage. Showing current air quality in your area.

They even have a forecast so you can plan on a “green” day to get clean air into your home.

air quality forecast infographic. Displaying a week forecast for air quality, like a weather forecast.

Get Air Purifying Plants

Plants do clean the air, but it takes a really long time (or a massive amount of plants). Even though plants take their time cleaning the air, and it’s not much of an impact overall, plants are a joy to be around.

Here are HGTVs top plants for improving indoor air quality.

List of Air Purifying Plants

  • English Ivy
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Gerbera Daisy
  • Dragon Tree
  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
  • Pot Mum
  • Peace Lily
  • Spider Plant
  • Mass Cane/Corn Plant
  • Rubber Tree
  • Lemon Button Fern
  • Pothos
  • Philodendron
  • Parlor Palm
  • Aloe vera
  • Broad Lady Palm
  • Fittonia ‘Frankie’
  • Ficus
  • Flamingo Lily

Use Essential Oils

There are essential oils that have the ability to kill germs and fungus, which you could use to diffuse into the air to aid in air purification.

Some oils do need to be diluted, so please do your research.

Essential oils can be made into a cleaner as well. Using a natural cleaner versus harsh chemicals can keep the air in your home from being polluted with violent organic compounds (VOCs).

Clean With Force Of Nature Cleaner

image of force of nature cleaner and disinfectant bundle pack. This cleaner can remove odors, similar to Charcoal Air Purifier bags

To reduce air pollution from cleaning agents, use an EPA-approved, natural disinfectant instead. I recommend Force of Nature cleaner because it is all-natural, made at home, non-toxic, and safe around your pets and children.

We have been using Force of Nature Cleaner for over 2 years, and we haven’t used any other daily cleaners since.

If you want to learn more about Force of Nature Cleaner and keep your air clean, check it out here:

 20 Reasons Force of Nature Cleaner is Legit 

How do you use activated charcoal as an air purifier?

You can use activated charcoal as an air purifier, by placing it in the room, area, or item you are trying to absorb odors from.

Step 1 – Obtain Activated Charcoal

bulk container of unscented charcoal for natural odor absorption


You might be able to get activated charcoal locally at a home improvement store, or even a pet shop. When in doubt, the internet has your back. Here is high-quality charcoal made from granular activated coconut.

This charcoal air purifying kit also comes with 5 refillable sachets on Amazon!

Step 2 – Place Charcoal in the area to be purified

If you have loose activated charcoal, you can place it in a sachet, an old (clean) sock, or even as a decoration piece around items in your home. Since charcoal is a beautiful black color, you can create centerpieces, decorate around plants, etc. you will just want to ensure there is some airflow to the charcoal so it can work its magic.

For stinky items like trash bags, litter boxes, and diaper pails, you can apply the charcoal directly.

Items and areas like gym bags, shoes, closets, cars, refrigerators, and drawers, you will want to contain the charcoal in a bag of some sort so you do not end up with a mess.

Types of Charcoal Air Purifiers

There are many classifications of activated carbon, but only two types of charcoal air purifiers. The two types of carbon air purifiers are forced air and passive air purifiers.

Forced air Charcoal Purifiers

Forced air purifiers use a fan to pull air through an activated carbon filter. Typically these air purifiers are attached to another filtration system, like a HEPA filter. The combination of the carbon and HEPA filter will remove the particles and smells from the air effectively.

Forced air purifiers are great for larger areas, or when you need to circulate odors or VOCs constantly.

Passive Charcoal Air Purifiers

A passive charcoal air purifier is, passive. This means that the purifier isn’t hunting the odor, but if it stops by, it will trap it!

Passive air purifiers are usually sold as loose carbon or in sachets that you can hang around the house or car.

Charcoal Air Freshener

A charcoal air purifier is essentially an air freshener without chemicals. Air fresheners typically work by masking up a scent with a better-smelling scent. These cover-ups are extremely scented and unhealthy. When you use charcoal as an “air freshener” you are actually absorbing the odor from whatever is causing the stink.

Final Thoughts

Charcoal air purifiers whether as a whole-home air purification unit or a sachet that hangs in your closet, might be what you are looking for with getting some fresh air.

For those of you that are interested in charcoal air purifier bags, you should check out all charcoal bags here on Amazon. 

What are you looking to use your charcoal air purifier for? I think our diaper pail is my #1. Send me a message at