Review: Purggo bamboo charcoal air purifier for the car

Purggo Bamboo Charcoal Car Air Purifier
© Purggo

Instead of using one of those scented car air fresheners chock full of phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), consider an all natural version, which uses bamboo charcoal to eliminate odors.

If you're a tidy single person with no pets, your car may stay as fresh and clean smelling as the day you bought it, but if you're like many of us, with kids and dogs, your car might smell rather funky.

In order to deal with those odors, the standard practice is to buy one of the cheap scented air fresheners and hang it from the mirror, but unfortunately, those won't get rid of the smells. They will, however, cover up some of the odors by masking them in potentially harmful fragrances (which have been linked to increased asthma risks), which include undesirable ingredients such as phthalates (hormone disruptors linked to an increased risk of birth defects and reproductive system abnormalities).

That's not exactly the type of environment you can feel good about for your health and your family's health, and if you consider that the odors will still there, but now on top of that, you've added a potentially toxic brew to the air inside the car, those disposable air fresheners don't make so much sense anymore.

There's another option, however, and this eco-friendly air purifier uses a safe and all-natural component sourced from a renewable natural resource, which removes odor particles from the air instead of just masking them.

The Purggo air freshener, which encloses bamboo charcoal in a hemp fabric outer layer, is completely fragrance- and allergen-free, and is said to be completely safe for asthma and allergy sufferers. One of the creators of Purggo, Mark Zhang, approached me about trying out one of the prototype units for some feedback, and after using it in my vehicle for the last couple of months, I'm a believer.

My truck not only hauls kids (who seem to think the proper place for fruit peels or food scraps is on the floor of the vehicle), but a dog (who loves to roll in all sorts of fragrant things), as well as being used to haul yard and garden supplies and trash, so there's no shortage of funky odors in it. But within a day or two of putting the Purggo in the truck, the odors were eliminated, and it continues to keep the inside odor-free and as fresh as a 20+ year old vehicle can be.

The magic of the Purggo comes from its bamboo charcoal, which is said to be 4 times more porous than regular charcoal, and which effectively adsorbs (yes, adsorbs, not absorbs) the odor particles and traps them, eliminating odors and cleaning the air in your car.

"Bamboo charcoal is a form of “activated carbon,” which is widely used by manufacturing facilities, and the academic community also acknowledges it as a prime material for odor elimination."

The Purggo is designed to hang from the back of a seat in the car, where it can be out of the way and yet still well exposed to the air, and because it's somewhat large (compared to those disposable air fresheners), it can also last for up to a year before needing to be replaced. The only maintenance necessary for the Purggo is to remove it from the car once a month and expose it to direct sunlight for about an hour, which removes any moisture from the charcoal and renews its odor-removing qualities.

Once the Purggo has reached the end of its useful life, it can be cut open to remove the charcoal, which can then have a second life as a garden or plant pot fertilizer. In addition to sticking with using renewable resources, both bamboo and hemp, Purggo has also committed to planting one bamboo for every single unit they sell during their launch campaign.

The creators of this eco air purifier are using crowdfunding to scale up the production of the Purggo, including raising the money to buy their raw materials in bulk (which helps to lower the unit cost). Backers of the Purggo Kickstarter campaign at the $29 level will receive one full-sized unit, plus two smaller units (for your gym bag, locker, sock drawer, etc.). Find out more about Purggo at the website.

[Disclosure: I did receive one of the earlier Purggo units for review and feedback purposes, but all opinions here are mine alone.]

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