The Ingenious $2 Trick That Eliminates Stinky Kitchen Smells

published Jul 13, 2022
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A modern rustic kitchen with an island and stainless steel trash can
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Like many people living in small spaces, I keep my trash bin under the sink, which means unpleasant scents are left festering inside the cabinet. I also occasionally forget to throw out leftovers, causing my fridge to smell even worse than my trash bin. Even after clearing out these common areas, I’m left with lingering smells throughout my kitchen that only a tough and time-consuming deep cleaning can fix. 

Luckily, I now have a solution. When it comes to activated charcoal, I’m a believer. As a natural deodorizer, charcoal absorbs smells and purifies the air. So I figured it was high time I put it to the test in my own kitchen.

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
The affordable pack, which is $24 for 12 bags, conveniently includes two different sizes.

That’s when I came across these charcoal bags from Vitscan that claim to eliminate odors with non-toxic, bamboo-activated charcoal. At just $2 per bag (such a bargain!), I figured these could be a simple and affordable remedy for finally eliminating those stinky smells.

I have to admit that when I first opened the pack of charcoal bags, I was worried. My husband described the smell as “mesquite-like.” To get started, the bags first need to be activated by the sun for a couple of hours. During this process, the UV rays get into the charcoal, allowing the pores to expand.

I placed the bags (which conveniently come in two different sizes) in my smelliest kitchen zones: at the bottom of my trash bin, on the inside of the door of the cabinet under my sink, in my fridge and freezer, and any other place in my home, including my dog’s toy box and my linen storage container. I decided to leave each bag for a week, hoping I wouldn’t be left with items smelling like a barbecue. 

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
To test these charcoal purifiers out, I stuck one in the freezer.

On days two and three, I was really convinced I actually bought mesquite air fresheners because the scent wasn’t dissipating (although might I add that this smoky aroma was much better than smelling the trash every time I opened the cabinet under the sink).

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
And the fridge!

On day four, I began to notice less potent smells in my fridge and freezer, and I couldn’t smell anything in my dog’s toy box or my linen storage container, which usually holds a stale detergent smell. But I was still holding out for the charcoal bags to work their magic in the stinkiest area of my kitchen: under the sink.

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez
Oh, and of course, at the bottom of my kitchen trash.

On the morning of day seven, I was finally able to smell … absolutely nothing! The odors usually coming from the trash bin and trapped in the cabinet were mostly neutralized with just a hint of that mesquite aroma that I knew would vanish in just a few more days.

These bamboo charcoal bags are a simple solution to taming kitchen odors as long as you don’t mind waiting a while and picking up a whiff of that smoky mesquite scent. In fact, waiting out the few days might just be totally worth it. Plus, there’s a bonus: These bags last up to two years — just reactivate them by placing them in the sun for two hours every month to work like new.

How do you deal with stinky kitchen odors? Tell us in the comments below.