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Activated charcoal is an excellent air purifier. If you have mold in your home and are looking to mask the smell, the bamboo variety of activated charcoal can be very effective. 

This is because activated charcoal has very small pores that trap odor and pollutants in the air while still allowing water and air to flow through.  It essentially acts as a filter, trapping odor molecules.

While air fresheners mask smells by using a stronger smell, activated charcoal actually pulls the smell from the air.

Can Bamboo Charcoal Kill Mold?

Bamboo charcoal is a short term fix…and only for the smell of mold – not the source. 

There is a difference between masking and eliminating. In order to permanently get rid of mold and its smell, the mold must be eliminated. 

However, until the mold can be taken care of, bamboo charcoal can help filter out the scent that mold leaves behind and keep your home fresh. One of its many benefits and why I always keep some on hand (for its versatility). 

How to Use Charcoal to Eliminate Moldy Odors

To use activated charcoal, place the material in plastic containers (which just keep the charcoal from getting your house dirty) with holes in the lids and place the containers wherever mold is an issue. 

Replace every two weeks or as the odor gets stronger.  You can purchase activated charcoal at pet stores or home improvement stores, or of course, online.

You can buy the raw materials or premade air purifier bags. 

These are some of my favorite, trusted brands:

Or you can even make your own bamboo charcoal.

Why You Should Eliminate the Mold Instead of Masking the Odor

While charcoal works well as a short-term fix for mold problems, in the long term, you will need to eliminate the mold entirely. Mold is very bad for both people and your house. 

It damages whatever material it grows on, ruining your walls, shower, carpet, etc. Mold is also linked to health issues, especially breathing problems. 

Masking the odor is helpful while you fix the problem, but mold should be taken care of ASAP, especially if you have children in your home or a pre-existing condition. 

Because of how serious a threat mold poses, I always recommend professional remediation. There are several natural options for eliminating mold, but unless you know how to handle it properly (ie not lodge it into the air), I wouldn’t risk it. 

Still, inquiring minds want to know, so here are some options:


Simply dilute vinegar with a little bit of water and spray onto the moldy surface. Let sit for a few hours before scrubbing it off.

Hydrogen peroxide

Saturate the moldy area with hydrogen peroxide and let sit for a few minutes, then scrub. This works well on softer surfaces like carpet.


Like vinegar, pour any kind of vodka into a spray bottle and spray over a moldy area, let sit, and then scrub off. These can sometimes be effective for small, isolated mold problems.

But if mold occupies more than 10 square feet, calling a professional company for removal is best.

Tips for Eliminating Mold Spores in the Air

Mold spores are airborne, meaning that they can be inhaled simply by breathing. To keep mold spores out of your home and prevent mold growth, an HEPA air purifier will filter mold particles out of the air. 

HEPA filters force air through fine mesh grates, which trap the mold spores.

Using a dehumidifier to control the humidity in your home is also a good option. Mold can’t grow without proper moisture, so keeping indoor humidity below 50% is a good idea.

If you suspect mold in your home, consider having a professional company take a look. While you wait to get rid of mold completely, bamboo charcoal can help keep the smell at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes mold to grow?

Mold can grow on any surface where there is moisture. Mold reproduces through spores, which are airborne.

Can mold make you sick?

As discussed previously, mold is known for causing allergies and breathing problems. Especially for people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, mold can make you sick when the spores are inhaled. 

How do you know if you have a mold problem?

Mold can usually be smelled and seen.

Does charcoal get rid of musty smell?

Yes. Place breathable containers (or lids with holes) or bags of activated bamboo charcoal anywhere you smell a musty odor. You’ll need to reactivate it after a while. Learn more about how long charcoal can absorb odors.

What is the difference between charcoal and bamboo charcoal?

Charcoal can be made of many different plant materials, so bamboo charcoal is just specifically made from bamboo. Activated bamboo charcoal is much more porous than other types of charcoal, which increases its absorption capacity.

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