The stench of marijuana is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it objectively has a positive association. On the other, that smell is a dead giveaway that you have weed in your possession.

Depending on where you are, or who you’re (going to be) with, that can be a problem. Hate to break the bad news, but the usual Febreze/dryer sheet/frantic body spraying routine won’t do much.

Fear not. Here are some quick ways to shoo away the telltale, pungent odor of weed.

Nip it in the Bud

There are a few things you can do to minimize the smell of marijuana from the beginning. When you store it, use glass instead of plastic, and use containers that have tight seals. Use a vape pen, which doesn’t actually burn the marijuana, instead of smoking joints. Or just stick to edibles. If you insist on smellier forms of consumption, stick with strains that are known for being low-odor.

Mask It

Masking the smell of weed can be pretty difficult. The terpenes responsible for weed’s distinctive smell are, well, pretty distinctive. Burning incense or candles, or spraying some Febreze, may not be perfect, but they can at least dilute the smell temporarily.

If you’re not using a vape pen and are blowing out smoke, blow it into a sploof (attach a couple dryer sheets over the end of a cardboard tube with a rubber band, and stuff it with toilet paper) to mask the smell. Using activated charcoal can be even more effective.

Activated charcoal up close
Activated charcoal up close

Ventilation Is Your Friend

This is probably the most effective way to air out a closed space: open your windows. Try not to smoke indoors in the first place. Smoking outside, or in a well-ventilated area, will help distribute the smoke so the odor-causing compounds don’t linger. But if it’s too cold or you’re too lazy, or what have you, opening the window after a smoke sesh can help too, especially if you’ve been smoking in a hot, humid, closed area. Crack a window open while you smoke, and chances are good you won’t have to worry about the smell persisting on your clothes or in your hair.

Make an Investment

Home grown operations, especially in places where it’s illegal, use carbon filter exhaust systems to reduce odors while ventilating their space. These carbon scrubbers are expensive, though. But if you feel like spending several hundred dollars to deodorize a room, this is your best bet.

Photos via Mydriatic via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0), Getty Images / Christopher Furlong

Kelsey Kennedy is a science journalist from Oregon, now based in New York City. She's written about science, technology, and the environment for Quartz, Undark, and Scienceline.