A top-quality odor-eliminating product gets rid of unpleasant smells caused by smoke, sweat, food, and pets—and some even leave a fresh scent behind. "The purpose of using an odor eliminator should not only be to remove unpleasant odors but also to improve air quality!, says Marilee Nelson, Co-Founder of Branch Basics. "Therefore ingredients matter! The most important toxic red flag would be the word fragrance on the label, which indicates that the product contains a proprietary recipe composed of hundreds of chemicals that will cover up odors."
To help you find the right product for your needs, we sent our tester 15 of the top odor eliminators to test in her own home. She then evaluated them for their ease of use, effectiveness, scent, and overall value. Our top pick, the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag, has a large coverage area, is long-lasting, and can even be recycled as a plant fertilizer for your garden.
Backed by our testing, here are the best odor eliminators.
Best Overall: Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
Needs monthly sunlight
Who else recommends it? Insider also picked the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag.
What do buyers say? 83% percent of 2,000+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
Out of all the odor eliminators we tried, the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag was our favorite. It's versatile, effective, and covers a decent amount of area (up to 90 square feet). Plus, it promises to keep odors at bay for up to two years. Our tester liked that there's a spot on the front to write the date you opened it.
"Moso bags contain bamboo activated carbon which acts as an odorless odor eater," says Nelson. "The activated carbon neutralizes unpleasant smells and freshens the air in bathrooms, cars, closets and smaller spaces." We love that you can place this bag nearly anywhere. We're talking closets, cars, kitchens, drawers, bathrooms, nurseries, pet areas, mudrooms, laundry rooms—you name it. There's even a metal grommet on the top corner, making it super easy to attach to clothes hangers and other hooks. Our tester noted that it looks aesthetically pleasing, especially compared to other products, so you won't mind leaving it out.
Although this product is user-friendly, note that it does require one hour per month of direct sunlight to "rejuvenate" the charcoal. However, we think the versatility, longevity, and effectiveness are worth this extra step.
Price at time of publish: $48
Best for Bathrooms: Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray
Several scent options
Directions aren't intuitive
The best option for bathrooms is Poo-Pourri, which preemptively coats the toilet water with a barrier to prevent smells from escaping the bowl. Thanks to its clever concept and highly effective, all-natural formula, this cute toilet spray has gained many fans over the past several years. Plus, the bottle is attractive enough to display on an open shelf or the back of your toilet. Not only that, it smells great (our tester used the lavender-vanilla option) and is very reasonably priced.
It's not hard to use, but you're supposed to spritz it into the toilet bowl before going, and not everyone will know (or remember) to do this. Yes, the directions are right there on the bottle, yet you can't expect every person who uses your bathroom to read them. All that said, this stuff works.
Price at time of publish: $10
Best for Fabric Upholstery: Febreze Fabric Extra-Strength Odor-Eliminating Refresher
Need to freshen up your upholstered sofa or chairs? Reach for Febreze Fabric Refresher. This generously sized spray bottle is user-friendly, works remarkably well, and is among the most affordable options on this list. In addition to upholstery, you can use this versatile product to freshen up hampers, closets, drawers, carpets, rugs, and curtains.
Febreze has a patent on its odor-eliminating technology. Instead of simply masking unpleasant smells, it neutralizes acidic and alkaline particles (the stinky ones) through a chemical reaction. Our tester did note that the scent is pleasant but intense. A few sprays can overwhelm a room with fragrance, which is something to consider before you add it to your cart.
Price at time of publish: $6
Best for Refrigerators: Ellis Harper Fridge Ninja All Natural Bamboo Deodorizer
Needs periodic sunlight
Refrigerators can harbor many unpleasant odors. To solve this problem, we recommend the Fridge Ninja Deodorizer, which keeps your fridge from smelling like an unwashed lunchbox. (It's also essential to get rid of old food before it spoils.) The Fridge Ninja was very effective at removing odors during testing, and its compact design hardly takes up any shelf space in the fridge.
Like our Best Overall pick, this product contains charcoal and needs to "recharge" in direct sunlight every so often, which could be difficult if you live somewhere like the rainy Pacific Northwest, where our tester resides. However, it can last for up to a year as long as you follow this step.
Price at time of publish: $30
Best for Laundry: Zero Odor Laundry Odor Eliminator
If your clothes, bedding, or towels are a bit musty, Zero Odor is your best bet. This liquid laundry companion is reasonably priced, delivers impressive results, and, as our tester noted, has a very light, fresh scent that's gone by the time your fabrics come out of the dryer. According to the manufacturer, it gets rid of smells caused by everything from sweat, smoke, and soiled diapers to vomit, urine, and general pet odors.
Our tester found this product very easy to use—just add it to the washer along with your regular detergent—but did note that the squeeze bottle doesn't offer any way to measure the recommended 2 ounces per load.
Price at time of publish: $15
Best for Closets: Arm & Hammer Moisture Absorber & Odor Eliminator
The best option for closets is the Moisture Absorber from Arm & Hammer. Our tester found this product to be user-friendly, affordable, and effective. She also noted that it is straightforward and does what it claims. It's a bit bulky but suitable for a large walk-in closet.
This indoor odor eliminator calls on the brand's signature baking soda to absorb unpleasant smells and mildew-causing moisture. Instead of powder, it's in the form of tiny beads, which spill out from the top if you tilt it even just slightly. For this reason, it should be placed high up on a shelf, out of reach from children or pets, and somewhere you won't accidentally knock it over. This product lasts for up to 60 days or until the beads harden. At that point, you can flush them down the toilet.
Price at time of publish: $26
Best for Shoes: Dr. Scholl's Odor-X Ultra Odor-Fighting Foot Powder
Stinky shoes? It happens to the best of us. Dr. Scholl's will get the job done when you need to freshen up your footwear. This deodorizing powder works notably well and is wallet-friendly. Our tester especially appreciated the very light, fresh fragrance.
While this product is fast-acting, the application process is pretty messy. You can expect to get powder on your floor, your hands, and the outsides of your shoes, but it'll wipe off with a clean cloth. Since the bottle was covered in powder when our tester pulled it out of the box, it's safe to say this isn't a travel-friendly product.
Price at time of publish: $24
Best All-Purpose: Fresh Wave Odor Removing Gel
Substantial coverage area
Strong smell initially
Looking for an all-purpose deodorizer to use around the home? Go with Fresh Wave. This odor-eliminating gel is user-friendly and straightforward—simply unscrew the lid, peel off the seal, put the top back on, place it near the smell, and let it do its job.
Our tester vows that this product is affordable, versatile, does what it claims, and covers a large area. We like that it contains mostly natural ingredients, but the specific components are a bit of a mystery. You have to go to the brand's website to see exactly what's in it, and the main ingredient isn't listed per the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. She also notes that the scent is a little strong at first but gradually fades.
Price at time of publish: $25
Best Room Spray: Aesop Aromatique Room Spray
Three scents available
Almost too strong
If you are looking for a spray option, we recommend the Aesop Aromatique Room Spray. The formula does an excellent job of freshening up indoor spaces, and the atomizer bottle is sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing enough to display on a shelf or counter.
Our tester found the scent delightful but very strong—almost too strong—so it's easy to overdo it. It is a bit pricey, but you can use it anywhere in your home, and a little goes a long way, so it'll last a long time.
Price at time of publish: $60
The best option we tested is the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag, which earned 5s for scent, effectiveness, and overall value. Filled with bamboo charcoal, this attractive cloth satchel can be used nearly anywhere in your home and eliminates odors in rooms as big as 250 square feet. That said, Poo-Pourri is the best option for bathrooms, and Febreze Fabric Refresher is ideal for furniture, curtains, carpets, and hampers.
How We Tested the Odor Eliminators
To find the best odor eliminators, our editors researched today's best odor eliminators and selected 14 for our tester to try in a real-life setting to see if they live up to their claims. Our tester carefully assessed each option's size, appearance, formulations, ingredients, instructions, and price. After trying out the products at home, she gave them a score from 1 to 5 (5 being the best; 1 being the worst) across four categories: ease of use, effectiveness, scent, and overall value. Only the deodorizers with the highest scores were included in this roundup.
What to Look for in an Odor Eliminator
Odor eliminators come in all sorts of shapes and sizes depending on the type of odor, how you want to use the product, and the area you're trying to cover. Some of the most popular options are sprays, which are easy to use and, depending on which one you get, can either mask odors or eliminate them entirely. Our best for fabric upholstery pick, the Febreze Fabric Refresher, can be sprayed on any fabric surface—everything from pillows to blankets can be freshened up with this spray. Our tester did warn that it's surprisingly potent, so a little spritz goes a long way.
Other popular options include gels and bags that are left out in the area where odors accumulate, such as bathrooms, cars, and laundry rooms. If you're willing to spend extra, an air purifier is another option; these machines can purify the air, remove pollutants such as dust and pollen, and eliminate smells.
Ingredients vary by product, but you can find a good mix of both chemical and natural odor eliminators. Natural products use ingredients such as activated charcoal, essential oils, and enzymes to absorb and/or mask odors, and they are typically recommended for those with pets and small children. Our best overall pick, the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag, uses activated charcoal to trap odors before they overpower an area.
Be sure to check the label before buying certain air fresheners to ensure they're safe to use around pets and children. "A rule of thumb for quick and easy vetting of product ingredients is to use EWG Skin Deep," says Marilee Nelson, Co-Founder of Branch Basics. "EWG rates ingredients from one (least toxic) to ten (most toxic). Products used in the home should have all ingredients rated a one or two. Refuse to buy and keep products in the house with ingredients rated a three or more." And if you want to avoid checking ingredients entirely, go for an air purifier.
Certain products like sprays and laundry odor eliminators are only meant for short-term use, while bags and gels can be left for weeks or even months before needing to be replaced. Air purifiers are another long-lasting option, though you'll need to change the filter every six months or so to ensure it's working at its best.
What is the difference between room fragrances and odor eliminators?
"Room fragrances are designed to mask or freshen the existing odor while odor eliminators do exactly that, get rid of odor," says Nelson. "Many fragranced products contain chemicals that release VOCs which can have negative effects on your home's air quality and your overall health. Some great natural solutions to this are fragrant houseplants, simmer pots, or charcoal air fresheners."
You can also look for odor eliminators that contain natural ingredients, such as activated charcoal, that can absorb odors from the air. Some odor eliminators also contain enzymes that eradicate a smell at the source rather than simply covering it up.
How do odor eliminators work?
This will depend on what kind of odor eliminator you use. If you opt for one with natural ingredients, such as activated charcoal, it naturally absorbs the odor and bacteria around it. Other products, such as Febreze, contain cyclodextrins that trap odors before they reach your nose. Essential oil is another popular ingredient used in odor eliminators and works similarly to cyclodextrins.
Do odor eliminators kill bacteria?
Although some odor eliminators contain ingredients that kill bacteria, others merely trap odors. If you want to be sure your odor eliminator or surface cleaner kills bacteria, look for cleaners with antimicrobial ingredients. In this case, you should check the label of the product before using it to ensure that it can be used on your desired surfaces.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a freelance copywriter specializing in home design, wellness, and lifestyle. Our editors researched today's top-rated odor eliminators for this story and sent her home with over a dozen to try out in a real-life setting. She carefully assessed and tested each item over the course of a few weeks before narrowing it down to the final picks. Prior to this project, she had personally used products from Aesop, Febreze, Arm & Hammer, Zero Odor, and Dr. Scholl's. Theresa has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019, where she covers cleaning products, home scents, and organizational solutions.
Emma Phelps, an updates writer for The Spruce also contributed to this article by contacting Marilee Nelson, Co-Founder of Branch Basics, to discuss what to look for when purchasing odor eliminators that are safe for a home with children and pets.
What is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend, and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.