While we use regular charcoal in aluminum pans to get the "musty" smell out of the basement, it really is the "poor man's" odor eliminator.
Mythbusters did a test of baking soda and found it was next to worthless.
The "real" odor eliminator is granulated activated charcoal (GAC). It is so effective at absorbing vapors and smells it is actually used in medicine, landscaping, water, and air purification. It is also not all that expensive.
Aquarium Chemical Filtration: Foster and Smith Premium Granulated Carbon
A small nylon (old knee high sock) filled with GAC will last till the next millennium and works like gang busters in the freezer or Fridge.
The reason we use charcoal in the basement is it gets moldy down there as the charcoal absorbs moisture as well as odor and we throw it out monthly. We have never tried large amounts of GAC in the basement and we may need to try that next time and see if it lasts sufficiently longer to justify the increased cost vs BBQ charcoal.
Lou and Laura with Bella - German Short Hair Pointer
2008 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crewcab SB Allison Duramax
2010 Flagstaff 8526RLWS - Superglide 3300
HAM CALLSIGN - KC3FFW