How to get Odors and Smells
Out of your Carpet:
A Do-It-Yourself Guide
Whether you're experiencing the smell of mold or mildew — or especially odors caused by your beloved pets — your home may not feel healthy and clean when your family and guests notice a stink.
In this article, we hope to help homeowners who want to take action themselves to remove offensive smells in their carpets.
If the DIY methods below don't solve your carpet's odor problem, we hope you'll consider hiring us. We are One of a Kind Pros, and we are carpet cleaning and pet odor specialists in the Houston area, including Katy Texas and Sugar Land. We professionally help homeowners like you to keep your carpet smelling fresh and clean.
Baking Soda: Three Steps to Deodorizing Carpet
Baking soda may be the most common method to handle odors in carpeting, because it's inexpensive and commonly found in most households. It works by absorbing the sources of the odor out of the carpet or rug fibers and even out of the air. You know this if you've ever put a box of baking soda in your fridge to remove odors.
Before you start, you could also try adding some dried herbs to the baking soda, such as rosemary or dried lavender, to boost the baking soda's odor-fighting effectiveness.
You'll need to pulverize the herbs first with a food processor or a mortar and pestle.
Or try mixing in a few drops of citrus essential oils to add a fresh clean scent and help drive away the stink.
Here are the steps...
1. Sprinkle some Baking Soda on your Carpet
Using either gloved hands, some kind of colander, or some other method that can disperse the baking soda evenly, sprinkle it over the affected area of your carpet or rug.
Coat the carpet thoroughly and evenly — but avoid creating lumps or piles.
2. Spread it, and let it sit
Spread the baking soda evenly over the carpet using your hands (with gloves) or perhaps a broom.
For minor odors, leave the baking soda on the carpet for an hour or two.
For stronger odors, you may want to leave it overnight.
Of course, the longer you leave the baking soda on the carpet, the more of the odors it can absorb.
3. Then Vacuum up the Baking Soda
After you've let the baking soda sit for the amount of time you want, it's time to vacuum up the baking soda. You should vacuum over the area slowly, several times, and from multiple directions to ensure that all the powder gets removed. When you're finished, we recommend that you empty the vacuum chamber or change the vacuum bag right afterward.
Additional Ideas to Remove Carpet Odors
With any substance you use on your carpet, we always recommend doing a spot test in a small, hidden area of the room, to make sure it does not cause discoloration or other damage. Spot testing is always a smart move.
Note: We offer all advice on this page as a courtesy for our clients, but cannot guarantee results or be responsible for any carpet damage caused by using any do-it-yourself methods. If in doubt, please give us a call for professional help and advice.
If the baking soda solution isn't as effective as you had hoped, here are some more tips to get odors out of your carpet.
Add some Borax to the Baking Soda
If you think the simple baking soda solution isn't strong enough to eliminate the odor, try adding some Borax. Borax is a cleaning agent that is especially effective at defeating mold and mildew smells, because it kills mold spores.
Mix baking soda with borax at a 2:1 ratio, and sprinkle this over the carpet. Let it sit for about an hour, and then vacuum it up. As before, be sure to empty the vacuum bag or canister.
As always, remember to spot test before using borax.
Use a Carpet Cleaning Machine
You can use a carpet cleaning machine, like a Bissell, to shampoo or freshen up your carpet. As with any method, it's a smart idea to spot test if you are using a certain machine or solution for the first time.
If you don't have a carpet cleaning machine, or if you don't have the time to take on this project by yourself, we can certainly help! One of a Kind Pros will deep clean your carpet professionally, with powerful professional equipment and professional cleaning solutions.
Use an Enzyme Product
For light pet odors, you can try using an enzyme product. You can find various enzyme pet products at your local pet or home supply store, or through an online retailer. Simply choose your product and follow the instructions on the packaging. Enzyme products are developed to specifically handle many light pet odors. If your cat or dog has soiled your carpet, and there's a lingering smell, give one of these enzyme cleaners a try. They work by accelerating the rate at which bacteria breaks down the source of the odor.
For heavier pet odors, please give us a call at One of a Kind Pros. We are specialists in handling pet odors with professional techniques and solutions.
Use a White Vinegar Solution
You might try a diluted white vinegar solution to remove odors that smell musty — like mold and mildew. Dilute 1 part clear white vinegar with 1 part warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the specific spot or your entire carpet.
You may feel the need to soak the carpet on the first application, but doing so may contribute to the musty smell instead of eliminating it. Instead, only dampen the carpet with the diluted vinegar solution, and wait for it to dry completely before adding any more.
Of course the smell of vinegar isn't much better than the old odor, but the vinegar smell will fade. If the old odor is still noticeable once the carpet has dried, go ahead and repeat the process once more.
Use some Febreze Fabric Spray
You may have seen a Febreze commercial on TV where a mother walks into a child's room, and looks disgusted by the smell. She then grabs a bottle of Febreze, and explains to the camera how the product eliminates odors — instead of just masking them.
There is some truth to the claim. A quick spray of Febreze can freshen up a stinky carpet and neutralize odors as it dries.
Febreze even has a scent geared explicitly toward pet odor.
The main problem is that Febreze is generally a temporary fix when it comes to carpets. It does neutralize smells, but it won't remove what is causing the smell. At the end of the day, Febreze is no substitute for a deep professional steam cleaning.
Tips for Keeping Carpets Smelling Fresh
Here are some additional tips on how to keep your carpet smelling fresh.
Keep the Air in your House Moving
Your carpeting is like an air filter that absorbs airborne odors. Your carpet may keep odors around, even after the cause of the odor is gone.
For example, cigarette smoke is one of the worst offenders and causes of stinky carpet. If you've ever walked into a home where a smoker is living and smoking inside, you may have noticed the lingering smell.
You can help prevent odors in the air caused by cooking and other everyday activities from settling into your carpet by keeping the air in your house moving.
A quality, efficient HVAC System : You can keep air moving by running the whole house fan. You may also add standing fans or box fans to specific areas to prevent the air from becoming stagnant.
An air purifier with a carbon filter : You may also want to look into purchasing a quality air purifier. The carbon in some of these filters acts like a sponge and adsorbs many odors from the air. For an air purifier to be effective for odor removal, it should have a carbon filter and a good fan.
One more tip: When it's pleasant outside, place a fan in a window facing out, and open another door or window to create a cross draft. This simple solution will suck the smelly air outside while pulling fresh, outdoor air into your home.
Immediately Handle any Spills on your Carpet
It's important to immediately handle any type of spills on your carpet — even plain water — right when it happens.
It's very important to vacuum your carpet at least once per week — and more often if you have pets and kids — to remove surface dirt, dust, food particles, and other debris that can build up and cause a carpet to smell bad.
Maintain a regular overall cleaning routine.
I know it's obvious, but you can improve the smell of your carpets by improving the overall smell of your home with regular cleaning routines. A clean home will prevent unpleasant odors from taking root in your carpet.
Using a kitchen trash can that has a lid can prevent odors from spreading throughout your home and into your carpets. We think it's a simple and good investment to purchase a quality kitchen trash can with a tight-fitting lid if you don't have one, and try not to leave food trash in there for too long where smells can fester.
Another kitchen source of household smells is your sink drain and garbage disposal. If your kitchen sink smells unpleasant, it's time to take care of it. You might try putting some citrus peels down the disposal. The citrus zest adds a clean, pleasant smell.
Call One of a Kind Pros for Regular Deep Professional Carpet Cleaning and Deodorizing.
For stubborn odors, let us take care of it for you.
For professional carpet cleaning in Katy, Texas and surrounding communities, call the Pros —
One of a Kind Pros™ — We're here to help!
Thank you for reading our article. We hope it was helpful.
If you have any questions about this article, or suggestions for another article — anything related to cleaning carpet, upholstery, tile and grout, and maintaining a healthy home — please feel free to give us a call!