Some years ago a couple approached me with a problem: they had bought a house that was over 100 years old. The house was in great condition but there were a number of issues with it. It had been sold several years before and converted into a bed and breakfast, but it didn’t do well because the home was believed to be haunted.
After the bed and breakfast went out of business, the house had been closed up for over four years, and the full unfinished basement had a terrible smell. They had tried everything to try to get rid of this smell, but it would simply not go away.
I suggested the cure of charcoal and paper bags. Since the basement was over 1,000 sq. ft. in area, they used 7 bags. After only one week of applying it, the smell had gone!
To get rid of unwanted smells get the cheapest, simplest charcoal you can find and one or more grocery paper bags, depending on the size of the place you want to clear.
Put the charcoal in the bag, two layers high, and leave the bag open (do not seal it). Place the bag or bags in the area with the offending smell. If it is a closet or a piece of furniture, place the bag(s) inside it. Some smells will dissipate within just a few days. I have never had to use this cure for more than two weeks.
Some variations of this cure include placing the charcoal in tied up panty hose. Do this if a paper bag would not fit in the area that needs clearing.
For example, during a move, my cats got out of their carriers, hid under the passenger front seat, and peed. We had the car detailed and we cleaned it as well as we could, then we placed panty hose with charcoal underneath the seat. We were careful to place paper towels underneath the panty hose to make sure that the charcoal dust did not stain the bottom of the car. After two weeks, you would never know what my cats had been up to in there!