Do air purifiers help with smell?

Air purifiers have become quite common among households across the country because of the poor indoor air quality. Air purifiers are known to filter out pollutants found in the air to provide clean and fresh air for you and your family.

While enjoying toxic-free air is a huge benefit, it is also worth considering whether air purifiers can help with a foul odor. While investing in a new air purifier, it is good to have an air purifier that cleans the air and helps with your household smells. It can keep our indoor air fresh and odor-free.

There are several different air purifiers in the market, and not all of them can eliminate foul odor. There are some factors to be considered when determining if an air purifier can reduce bad odors in your household. If you are curious about how effectively an air purifier can help with smells in your home, read on to find out more.

Which types of odors do air purifiers help with?

Air purifiers remove pollutants and particles in the air to improve indoor air quality. In most cases, unpleasant smells are caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some air purifiers can filter these smells out to reduce foul odor. These VOCs are usually smaller than other pollutants found in the air. This makes it a lot more complicated for your air purifier to eliminate a bad smell.

Smells are caused by chemical reactions and are detected by your nose. While the fresh scent of flowers is a welcoming fragrance, we are often subjected to unwanted or unpleasant smells. Good air purifiers can help reduce the unwanted smells in your house by filtering out the tiny particles that cause the smell. Common unwanted odors found in households are listed below.

Cigarette smoke to remove unpleasant odors

cigarette smell

Cigarette smoke is the most pervasive and one of the more difficult smells to eliminate. Even if a single member of your family is a smoker, the smell can cling to furniture and clothes. The odor of tobacco smoke can cause your house to smell stale and impact the health of non-smokers in your household. 

Pet dander

pet hair

Pets are usually a source of pet odors. Whether it’s dried saliva or excrement, pet hair and dander, or shedding skin, pets can cause a lot of unpleasant odors in your house. 


smell of food

Cooking usually produces lovely aromas and scents that are tempting and cause your mouth to water. Occasionally, however, particularly meaty dishes like fried fish can leave a lingering smell that stays in your household even after the meal has been enjoyed. 

Garbage removal to clean indoor air

garbage smell

Garbage is perhaps the most pungent and unpleasant smell you can find in a household. Even if you have a fixed cleaning schedule and take out your trash frequently, leftover garbage can smell terrible and ruin the atmosphere in your house. Air purifiers will help with this problem and allow you to discreetly keep the garbage in your household without alerting your household members to its presence. 

Air purifiers can also help with toxic and harmful smells such as smoke or musty odors from mold. We may not have an alternative to getting rid of the source of a smell because it can often be difficult, especially if the smell is an essential part of a functioning household. While an air purifier cannot eliminate the source of foul odors in your house, it can help reduce the odor in your home. 

How do air purifiers eliminate odors?

Air purifiers typically work by trapping harmful particles in the air with a filter. Sometimes the particles that cause unpleasant smells are smaller than the particles of other contaminants.

Air purifiers that remove odor usually have an additional activated carbon filter to compensate for this. Activated carbon filters have an enormous surface area with millions of open pores. As air passes through the filter, particles get stuck in the filter. The air that flows out of the filter is free from the VOCs that cause unpleasant smells. 

Filter technology is constantly improving. Not every air purifier can successfully eliminate odors. The ability of your air purifying unit to reduce odor depends on whether the filter can trap smaller-sized particles that cause a smell. The most common filter in odor removing purifiers is an activated carbon filter. It is how air purifiers can reduce, if not eliminate, odors.

Which air purifier is best for odor?

The best air purifier that can eliminate common odors is one that has an activated carbon filter. A True HEPA air filter is not very good at removing odors on its own. Any purifier containing an additional activated carbon filter will trap smaller-sized VOCs that cause bad smells.

One example of a good air purifier in this category is GermGuardian’s 5 in 1 Air Purifier, which has an activated charcoal filter.

Another technology that provides a long-term solution for bad odor is air purifiers that use photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO). The benefit from this is that VOCs are completely destroyed and not simply trapped in a filter. Any air purifier that uses the technologies mentioned above is the best for removing odor from your household.

6 Tips on How to keep your house smelling good all the time?

Tip 1:

The first tip to keeping your house smelling good all the time is to keep it clean. There is no replacement for good hygiene. Clean up all the surfaces of your home, paying particular attention to kitchens and bathrooms.

Tip 2:

Clean up after your pets, if you have any. Pets with or without fur can cause a foul odor. They must be well-groomed, and pet dander must be cleared, so they don’t linger in the air.

Tip 3:

Wet surfaces typically cause mold growth, which can cause a bad odor. It is essential to keep kitchen sinks clear of dirty dishes. Therefore, don’t leave your dirty dishes in the sink. Also, throw garbage out regularly. Do not let garbage pile up over time. Even dry garbage can produce foul odors if ignored for too long.

Tip 4:

Introduce plants into your home. There are quite a few plants that can suck the bad smell out and leave freshness behind.

Tip 5:

Keep your home well-ventilated. It is helpful to air out the rooms periodically to let the outside air in.

Tip 6:

Do not smoke. And, if anyone in the family is a smoker, make sure they don’t smoke inside the house.

These practices will not only help remove the odor naturally, but they will also help prolong the life of your air purifier. Air purifiers need their filters replaced periodically. Maintaining a clean house can increase the life of your filters, so they don’t need replacement as often. 

Installing an air purifier is the best way to keep your household smelling good. When installing your air purifier, make sure it has an activated carbon filter.

Not all air purifiers eliminate odor. You want to ensure that the air purifier you get has that capability. Currently, the most common type of air purifier that can eliminate odor in your household is one that has an activated carbon filter. 

You can compare your air purifier’s clean air delivery rate to make sure it is powerful and efficient enough for the size of your room. If your unit is insufficient to tackle the size of your room, you will still have lingering smells. An air purifier’s CADR rating best indicates how well it will perform in your specific environment.

Over time, your air purifier becomes less effective at removing odor in your household. Make sure to check on your filters and replace them when needed. If you are using your air purifier regularly, you may need to replace your filters every three months.

On the other hand, if you are not using the system as often, you can replace its filter every six months. Without cleaning your air purifier frequently, it won’t be able to trap odors consistently. 

Air purifiers need to be on and running all the time. Make sure you position your air purifier in a place where it will not be disturbed. Harmful pollutants and bad smells are pervasive problems that recur.

It would help if you left your air purifier plugged in and turned on at all times to ensure that fresh air is consistently circulated throughout your household.

Air purifiers tend to work best in one room. If you have multiple rooms that require odor removal, it is best to get multiple air purifiers.

Alternatively, you can purchase an air purifier with a higher CADR rating that can handle the size of your household. Your air purifier’s efficient placement and capacity will help keep your house odor-free.

These are the six common tips on how to use an air purifier to keep your house smelling good all the time.

FAQ Section

1. Do HEPA filters remove odors?

HEPA filters usually help with dust, dirt, pollen, and other harmful contaminants. On their own, they are not very effective at removing odors. Air purifiers that come with an additional activated carbon filter effectively eliminate bad smells.

2. Do air purifiers get rid of skunk smell?

Air purifiers work by removing particles from the air. If the skunk has sprayed its scent in the air, then air purifiers can help reduce it. You will have to ensure that the source of the smell is gone first and open up all the windows in your house.

Opening the windows will lower particle density and make it easier for your air purifier to do its job. It may take a while to eliminate a strong smell, such as skunk smells, but air purifiers can help reduce the smell from lingering too long.

3. What Happens When You Inhale Black Mold Spores?

Inhaling black mold spores can lead to respiratory problems. Chronic coughing and sneezing, irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and fatigue are all symptoms of black mold exposure.

Sensitive people can develop allergies, rashes, and severe breathing difficulties. Symptoms can present themselves two to nine hours after exposure and persist for up to three days. The best air purifiers can help with black mold poisoning and keep your indoor air fresh and clean.

4. Do air purifiers get rid of food smells?

Yes, air purifiers help get rid of food smells. Bad smells are caused by VOCs that are created in the process of cooking. Air purifiers with an activated carbon filter can trap these VOCs to eliminate food smells in your household.


Most air purifiers used in households provide good quality indoor air. They work by getting rid of harmful particles in the air by trapping them in their filters. In addition to eliminating toxic contaminants, air purifiers remove odors. Not every air purifier may be equipped for odor removal. Particles that cause bad odors are usually much smaller in size than other contaminants. It is essential to pick an air purifier that can work across the spectrum of particle sizes to trap every unwanted particle in the air.

If you are considering an air purifier that can trap contaminants and remove odors, the information in this article should help. Indoor air purifiers can be an excellent solution to improving health and consistently keep your home smelling good. 


About The Author

Olivia — a self-confessed air quality addict — is a home climate enthusiast, fresh air advocate, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about mold extermination. Her work was mentioned in countless notable humidity publications. Previously she was an editor at Mold Remediation.