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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zeolite: Nature’s Deodorizer

Raw Zeolite from My Bookcase - Sunni's Photo's

Once again, nature shows us she can do it better, and in reusable fashion. Have you ever wondered if there was a natural solution to pet and household odors, toxic gases, and musty basements? Unlike conventional deodorizers that merely mask odors and certainly don’t address toxic gases, this product literally removes them from the air. This natural alternative is the mineral zeolite, the only mineral known to man to have a negative ionic charge.

What Is It?

Zeolite occurs naturally when volcanic mineral is crystallized. In fact, there are at least 50 different types existing in nature (in rock form), though the type which is recognized as superior is known as the clinoptiolite group. What makes zeolite unusual is that it is the only known negatively charged mineral in an original state, which means it naturally absorbs pollutants from the air. This is because the vast majority of molecules known to exist have some degree of polarity. In other words, they have both a positive and negative side. The positive side of the polarized molecules is attracted to the negative charge of the zeolite crystals. When the positive side of the polarized molecules makes contact with the negative charged surface of the zeolite, the molecules attach themselves to the crystal. If the molecules are smaller than four angstroms, they can enter inside the crystal, taking advantage of the enormous surface area. Technically, this process is “adsorption,” not absorption with a “b.” The process of adsorption refers to the locking onto, or retention of ions or molecules of a gas or liquid, the surface of a different substance.

Zeolite Crystal Structure - Clipart

However, the most remarkable property of zeolite is that, in rock form, it is reusable indefinitely! It is available to the public in one and two pound breather bags that can adsorb odors and gases for up to three months, depending on the situation. After that time, take the bags outdoors to renew them. The action of direct sunlight on the bags causes the gases and odors held in check within the rocks to release, leaving the bags of zeolite fresh and clean ready to use repeatedly. Neat trick, eh?

Zeolite Crystal Structure - Clipart

It has been more than 50 years since chemists discovered that zeolite minerals had unique properties, a discovery that prompted Union Carbide to develop expensive synthetic substitutes, which they later realized were inferior to the natural version. Primarily today, synthetic zeolite finds a use in fluidized catalytic processes to convert crude oil into refined hydrocarbon products such as gasoline, kerosene, etc. According to a report in “New Scientist” magazine, natural zeolite minerals “...consist of a tetrahedral network of oxygen and silicon atoms where aluminum replaces some of the silicon to form an alumino-silicate.” The result is an extended honeycomb of channels and cavities where the aluminum atoms have fewer electrons than silicon available for bonding with the oxygen atoms, thereby causing an unbalanced electrical charge. This gives zeolite its negative charge. Because these channels provide up to several hundred square meters of surface area on which chemical reactions can take place, zeolite can adsorb huge amounts of materials, ions, or gas molecules (up to 30% of their dry weight).

Many Uses

Zeolite can adsorb toxins such as bacterial odors, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide etc., as well as toxins like mercury, lead, and radioactive gases. This is why using zeolite made sense to clean up the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. It is also a good drying agent, actually working better than traditional desiccates, such as silica and alumina gels. In Europe, natural zeolitic rock finds its way into building stone as an ingredient in cement or as lightweight insulation, while in Japan; zeolite becomes filler by paper makers.

Over the last few years, zeolite has shown its benefits to chemically sensitive people. Many publications in this country and around the world have written highly of this wonderful mineral. Also, this is an important find to many pet lovers who, instead of using nasty chemicals, have a safe natural alternative to deal with pet odors.

Zeolite in Powder Form - Clipart

Manufacturers also offer zeolite in a non-reusable powder form. The powder can become a deodorizing dry pet bath, or in its finer form, a deodorizer for shoes. Even adding two or three tablespoons to the cat’s litter box weekly will virtually eliminate the offending odor. I hope that many people will one day discard their hurtful chemical products and utilize this special mineral called zeolite.
I’m sure before the general pubic discovered zeolite; the Indians used it, probably discovering its uses by accident. They lived off the land, taking advantage of things in nature, unlike most of us do today.

For any of you who are wondering why I know so much about this, it’s because I used to own a mail order environmental business years ago. Zeolite is more conventional today. Many hardware stores carry it.


  1. Maybe I should get some zeolite to put in my apartment building hallway- so many smells!

    Congrats on finishing the challenge!

    1. Hi Clean Slate,

      I'm sure it would help with yout apt hallway, if someone didn't walk off with it.

      Thanks, one month of blogging takes it toll. Congrats to you too and everyone of us that finished. There are many blogs I never got to, but I still may take a look, if I have time.


  2. Do hardware stores carry the zeolite rock or just the powder?

    Hey, Sunni, we did it! We completed A to Z. Congratulations.

    1. Jagoda,

      I think you can find both. The powder is easier to find - even pet stores carry it. You may have to look around for the rocks. It's generally chopped up in open mesh bags. It's pretty amazing stuff.

      Yes, we did the challenge. I can hardly believe the month is over.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.


  3. This is an incredibly interesting post! Very cool stuff. Congrats on finishing the challenge!

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

    1. Kristen,

      I didn't know what I would do about a couple of the letters (Z was one of them). Then this hit me since I know so much about it. I got a bit technical, but this is an amazing mineral.

      Yes, congrats to all of us that finished the challenge, not an easy thing to do and keep it somewhat interesting. There are so many more of the blogs I want to check out and I will as I have time, even though the challenge is now over.

      I haven't always been the best about reading blogs daily either. I appreciate everyone's support here on mine and I intend to read a lot more in the coming days and support the people who have supported me.

      Thanks for reading.



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