How to Deodorize a Carpet?
7 Different Ways!

Does your carpet smell awful? Have no idea what’s causing it and you don’t know what to do? An ultimate guide to keeping your carpet smelling fresh and deodorizing it!

How to Deodorize a Carpet? 7 Different Ways! Thumbnail

Table of contents

Introduction

If you have carpeting in your house and are worried because you don’t know how to eliminate the funky smell emanating from it, you’ve come to the right place. Have you tried using really expensive incense to no avail and have contemplated replacing your carpeting because of how awful it smells? Don’t fret. In this post, we discuss deodorizing, ways to prevent your carpet from smelling bad and ultimately, various methods to use to deodorize a carpet.

The best way to deodorize a carpet is to sprinkle some baking soda on the surface and let it sit for a while before vacuuming deeply. You can also combine the baking soda mixture with some therapeutic essential oils to get rid of really strong odors. We will be going into further detail about this and will also explore other methods to deodorize a carpet in this post. Read on to find out more!

Carpet in living room

What is deodorizing

Deodorizing refers to the process of removing or concealing unpleasant smells. In this post, we’ll be focusing on helping you remove these odors as much as possible and not just conceal them.

Concealing bad smells will just result in a combination of worse smells that will emerge later as your carpet grows older and gets used more. Deodorizing your carpet once in a while is important to maintain the smell of your carpet, especially if you have pets and/or kids at home.

How to prevent your carpet from smelling bad? Carpet maintenance tips:

Here are some ways you can avoid this situation in the future. Preventing your carpets from smelling really bad by consciously avoiding the following dont's and practising the do's can result in a long life for your carpets.

1. Let your carpets breathe

Make sure there is good air circulation in your carpeted rooms. One way to ensure this is to maximise ventilation by leaving windows open and fans on whenever possible. Keeping a carpeted room well-ventilated will remove bad odor particles before they get trapped and collected in carpet fibres!

This will also keep the humidity in the room low that, in turn, prevents mold and mildew. Creating good ventilation is key to having your carpets smell good all year!

PRO TIP

Ventilation

If you have windows on opposite walls, leave one of them open fully and the other slightly as this creates cross-winds that provide more effective ventilation!

Carpet beside an open window for ventilation

2. Dehumidify

As mentioned above, it’s important to keep humidity low in rooms with carpets. This is because a high level of humidity creates moisture which can result in mold and mildew.

Too much moisture caused by high indoor humidity can cause condensation on surfaces and sometimes even draw pests and bugs! Dust mites thrive in areas of high humidity. Place a dehumidifier and/or floor fans to reduce the moisture on your carpets and keep them smelling fresh.

3. Leave your shoes at the door

Avoid bringing in dirt and grime from outside by taking your shoes off before entering a carpeted room. Your shoes bring in a huge variety of germs and bacteria that can multiply in your carpets - contributing to an unhygienic and unpleasant-smelling environment. Wearing shoes indoors can also wear out your carpet faster because of its harder tread.

4. Have a vacuuming routine

Vacuuming your carpeting frequently, preferably, once in five days, will keep your carpet cleaner and newer for longer! High-traffic areas should be vacuumed over slowly and for longer to pick up dirt that is deeply embedded in the carpet over time.

Sprinkling baking soda on the carpet and letting it stay for 30 minutes to an hour will keep it smelling fresh for longer!

Vacuuming a carpet

Vacuum cleaning twice a week is especially important if you live with pets and/or children. You should also regularly replace your vacuum bags and filters as the collection of dust and dirt in the canister over time can be the cause for bad-smelling carpets.

Doing this will prevent the odor particles from circulating in the air and turning into unpleasant stenches. Along with regular vacuuming, professional carpet cleaning should be done at least twice a year if you have pets.

If you'd like to know how much you should exactly vacuum your carpet, I'd encourage you to visit the following guide. We created an online calculator to help you know how often you should clean your carpets:

How often you should clean your carpets for perfect results?

Some professionals exaggerate (A LOT!) when talking about how often you should clean your carpet. Take a look at the real frequencies certifying entities recommend!

5. Speedy and speckless spill cleaning

Timing is critical when it comes to treating spills. Whether its spaghetti, wine or pet urine, these spills can have a long-lasting impact on your carpet if not taken care of immediately.

Pick up solids first, if any, and get your paper towels out and start blotting and extracting as much liquid as soon as possible. The faster you do this, the less odor there is to linger. You can also prevent staining by removing spills on time!

PRO TIP

Stain removal kit

Keep an emergency spill/stain removal kit in hand consisting of these: carpet stain or spot remover for stubborn stains, hydrogen peroxide for bloodstains, club soda for wine and beer spills, dishwasher liquid or shaving cream for most spills and stains.

6. No smoking

Avoid smoking in a carpeted room, especially with the windows closed. Smoking in a room doesn’t let the smoke dissipate properly, thus, letting your carpets and other furnishings absorb it.

Odor is accumulated in your carpet fibres for a long time and the smell of old cigarette smoke remains. This odor is unpleasant for a lot of people and will leave your carpets smelling bad.

7. Essential oils

Diffusing concentrated essential oils into the air is a natural and healthy way of maintaining a fresh-smelling environment. You can also use a spray bottle to spray essential oils if you don’t have a diffuser.

Therapeutic oils like lavender and tea tree are suggested as they have antibacterial properties and are proven to improve people’s moods. You can also keep a bowl of dried orange, lime and lemon peels and use it as potpourri.

Essential oils

WARNING

Tea tree oil may be toxic to your pets

It is recommended to not use tea tree oil if you have pets as it may be toxic to them. Citric scents are toxic to cats, refrain from using those and strong scents like peppermint and cinnamon that are displeasing to dogs.

Different ways to deodorize a carpet

Now that we have talked about ways to prevent a carpet from smelling bad, it’s time to discuss the various methods that you can use to remove bad smells from your carpet.

Method 1: Do a salt bae

Baking soda can be used in many ways to keep your carpets smelling clean. It is very effective in deodorizing carpets as it helps absorb excess moisture and trap bad smells. Sprinkle some baking soda on your carpets before vacuuming. This will loosen particles of dirt and odor while leaving a pleasant smell.

Vacuuming thoroughly after letting the mix sit for a few minutes or even overnight depending on how bad the smell is will help in getting rid of the toughest odors.

Alternatively, you can mix one cup (220 gms) of baking soda with 1. Half a cup of Borax for increased effectiveness; 2. 10-15 drops of essential oils like lemon or lavender or one tsp of ground spices like cinnamon for a pleasant smell or; 3. One tsp of crushed dried herbs like rosemary or anything you have in the pantry for a lovely aroma.

WARNING

Stains

Don’t use spices on light-coloured carpets as they’ll stain!

Dipping cloth in baking soda and water mixture

Method 2: Light vinegar showers

Vinegar can be used as a natural carpet deodorizer as it dries odorless while absorbing unpleasant smells. White vinegar is the best for this purpose and it can be sprayed evenly or blotted onto the carpet.

Repeat the process after it dries if necessary. Let it sit for a half-hour and then blot it off with a clean cloth. Because of vinegar’s acidity, your carpet will smell fresher.

Light spraying of a mixture of 470 ml warm water and 240 ml vinegar can help with cleaning a mildewed carpet and removing the musty smell from it. Do not soak the carpet in the mixture as that will only lead to increased mold.

Allow the carpet to rest and air dry. The strong vinegary smell will fade as the carpet dries. You can also add two tablespoons of baking soda if needed.

Method 3: On the rocks, please

Apart from making a mean Martini, vodka can be used to get rid of strong, unpleasant smells from your carpets. It can play the role of a disinfectant and also neutralize bad pet odors and moldy smells.

Spritz some vodka on a smelly spot and let it sit for 15 minutes. Blot the remaining moisture with paper towels and some baking soda if necessary before vacuuming.

Vinegar and spray bottle

Method 4: An apple a day keeps the carpet cleaner away!

In basements, carpets have an even more musty smell because of the increased moisture in the atmosphere. A natural way of reducing the pungent smell of your basement carpets is to cut up an apple or an onion in half and place it on a plate in the basement.

This will help absorb any lingering odors in the air. Keep replacing it every night until the musty smell reduces considerably.

Method 5: Target pet odors

An enzyme neutralizer works by breaking down the acid in pet urine and using good bacteria to neutralize the bad bacteria in it. It is commonly used to remove stains and smells caused by organic matter like blood, feces and urine.

Purchase an enzyme cleaner from any home improvement or pet store and follow the steps mentioned on the label to eliminate strong odors! Clean pet odors and stains well by following the guide here:

How to remove pet odors and stains? Best. Guide. Ever!

If you want to remove your pet's odor and stains, this guide will show you how you should do it in a way that's both effective and pet friendly!

Method 6: Fizz it out

A bottle of club soda and some paper or bath towels can sometimes be all you need to get rid of strong pet urine odors and vomit smells. It can even be used to eliminate tough stains. After blotting up excess urine or other wastes from the carpet, pour some soda on the maximum impact area and let it fizz.

Blot after the bubbles subside and repeat the step if necessary. Let your carpet air dry for a while, leave windows open and minimise walking on the area until then. Blot it out carefully, do not scrub with a lot of pressure as this will let the carpet absorb more of the spill.

Pouring water on carpet

Method 7: Good ol’ carpet cleaning machine and shampoo

If you have tried every DIY method mentioned here and more, and you still can’t get rid of the unpleasant stench coming from your carpet, you may need to deep clean it with a carpet cleaning machine. Cleaning with the help of a machine ensures a deep clean that will help your carpet stay cleaner and smell good for longer.

Conclusion

A clean carpet in living room

With all the carpet maintenance tips we talked about, you should have a good idea on how to take care of your carpets better. In case you have really bad-smelling carpets, you know what to do!

And if you need your carpets professionally cleaned, visit our post on How to Find the Best Carpet Cleaners in your area!

Tony Gonzalez Picture

By Tony Gonzalez

Carpet Cleaning and Installation

I'm Tony and I consider myself a carpet cleaning expert! I've tried the 5 most common professional cleaning methods myself, and I've reviewed thousands of carpet cleaning & installation companies. I'm currently exploring the DIY Cleaning and Installation world. It's not that hard and it's a lot of fun!

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Tony Gonzalez Picture

Tony Gonzalez

Carpet Cleaning and Installation

I'm Tony and I consider myself a carpet cleaning expert! I've tried the 5 most common professional cleaning methods myself, and I've reviewed thousands of carpet cleaning & installation companies. I'm currently exploring the DIY Cleaning and Installation world. It's not that hard and it's a lot of fun!

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