How to Stop Carpet Smelling Damp? (9 Different Ways!)

Does your carpet smell awfully damp and musty even though it is not wet? This smell comes from a possibly unsafe source that you need to target and take action against to stop the consequences from affecting you and your family! Understand the severity of mold growth on your carpets and take steps to prevent it from happening tomorrow.

The easiest way to stop your carpet from smelling damp is to sprinkle the effective baking soda on your moldy carpets and let it sit for some time before vacuuming it all up! You can also use many other DIY solutions that I will be talking about in detail in the following paragraphs to help you stop your carpets from smelling damp! Read on to find out more.

Contemporary Grey Concrete Living Room

Why does your carpet smell damp?

Like with any other problem, fixing a musty carpet starts with understanding why it smells that way. The cause for damp-smelling carpets is mold. High levels of moisture caused by increased relative humidity on a hot day results in the growth of mold and mildew. Relative humidity is relative to temperature and this is why there is a higher chance of mold growth in hot weather compared to cool weather.

gray carpet in the living room

More than often, carpets are the culprits of musty indoor smells because of the large surface area they cover. Mold is usually very difficult to spot, especially on fuzzy carpets. This is why they may sometimes go unnoticed for a long period of time. However, it is important to tackle a mold problem as soon as you spot it. Get rid of mold and prevent it from growing on your carpets in the future by following the tips mentioned below!

What is mold? How can it affect you?

Mold is a variety of fungus that thrives on moisture and multiplies through spores in the atmosphere. Small amounts of mold that we are exposed to every day are harmless to us. However, when they settle on damp areas of the house, like the carpet, they can multiply quickly and become a problem for the inhabitants of the house.Read this to find out more about the different types of mold and how they can affect you:

The spores released by mold could make sensitive individuals, especially those with asthma and allergies, sick if they inhale a lot of it. Exposure to mold can result in allergic reactions including sneezing, skin rashes, asthma attacks or even shortness of breath. Take care of yourself and your family by practising the suggested mold-removal and prevention tips.



No matter how bad your mold problem is, do not resort to burning your moldy carpet. This will release the spores in the air and make you sick as you will inhale some of it, at least.



Run a HEPA vacuum over your carpets after treating heavily mold-ridden areas on it. This will help in removing any leftover mold spores. Close the windows while doing this to stop the spores from travelling.

girl with allergies

How to stop your carpet from smelling damp?

There are various ways to get rid of mold and eliminate this musty smell from your carpets! Use the list given below to decide which solution to use for your mold problems!

1. Baking soda + Vacuum

Baking soda is one of the best DIY odor-removal solutions. Sprinkle a handful of the fine powder on your carpet and let it sit for some time before vacuuming to absorb moisture and unpleasant odors. Alternatively, you can use a mixture of baking soda and your favourite essential oils or herbs to replace the musty smell with a more pleasant, fresh aroma!Read thisto find out more on how you can deodorize your carpet with baking soda:



For pet owners, use fragrances that are pet-friendly. Tea-tree oil may be toxic to animals and cats dislike citrus scents.

2. A Vinegar-based Solution

Another very simple DIY fix for musty carpet smells is to spray a vinegar-based solution lightly onto your carpets. This solution consists of half a cup of white vinegar for two cups of water. You may even add a few teaspoons of baking soda to the solution to make it more effective. Vinegar’s acidic quality gives it antiseptic and antibacterial properties which help kill mold and mildew while also replacing the musty carpet odor with a fresh and invigorating scent.

A Vinegar-based Solution

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

If the moldy smell is very strong and still persists, you can use a 1:5 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water to remove mold spores and get rid of the musty smell on your carpets. Another way of using hydrogen peroxide is to create a DIY carpet shampoo. Make a mixture of 4 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with one tablespoon of mild dye-free soap and add this to 1.5-litre water. You can use this in a home carpet cleaning machine.



Hydrogen peroxide has the power to lighten dark carpets. The risk is low, however, make sure you keep the hydrogen peroxide percentage 3% or below.

4. Lather it on

When all else fails, rely on industrial-grade carpet cleaning shampoo as they have a guarantee of getting rid of unpleasant odors from your carpet. Carpet shampoos have deodorizing properties and other strong chemicals that can kill mold and mildew. Pick up a good surfactant that targets mold and follow the instructions on the label carefully for optimum results. Make sure you remove all residue well as leaving shampoo and water on can further lead to odors.



Work the product into the carpet with a sponge and let it sit on for a few minutes. Start the shampoo treatment after vacuuming your carpet.

5. Anti-mold treatment

There are many anti-mold and anti-fungal products in the market that you can use to get rid of mold and its odor. These specifically target and attack mold, designed to help you prevent any mold growth in the future. An alternative solution is to spray a mixture of colour-safe bleach and water on the surface of your mold-ridden, musty-smelling carpet.

Anti-mold treatment



Make sure the anti-mold product is carpet-safe as many of them are made specifically for bathrooms. If you use the alternative DIY method, test the bleach solution on a hidden part of your carpet first.

6. Chlorine Dioxide to the rescue!

Since many anti-mold products are based on chlorine dioxide, it might be a good idea to treat moldy carpets with products that have the chemical. Pick up a chlorine dioxide-based product from any home improvement store and follow the instructions given on its label.



This chemical can alter the colour of your carpet, test it on a small area first. Chlorine dioxide can irritate your lungs with its strong fumes, make sure you have ample ventilation.

7. Good ol’ steam cleaning

Steam cleaners are effective and help in the deep cleaning of carpets. These machines also help in removing mold and mildew and reducing the smell caused by them. You can either rent a good steam cleaner or buy one to clean your carpets with. Since steam cleaners use water to deep clean, it is very important that you dry out the carpets as soon as cleaning is done to prevent further growth of mold. Leave the windows open and turn on your fans.

8. Cut it out

If the mold damage has gone to an irreparable extent, it might be better to remove that area of the carpeting completely and replace it with a leftover piece. Use a sharp utility knife to cut out a shape around the mold, leaving some extra space at the boundary.

adjust the carpet under the skirting board

Cut the same shape out from 1. Remaining carpet from the time of installation; 2. A piece of carpet from an unseen area like behind a cupboard; or 3. An entirely new piece that you can buy at a carpet store. Use single-sided carpet tape to set the new piece in place.Read this for more tips on how to fix a torn carpet

9. Professional carpet cleaning

The last option for this ordeal is to go to a professional carpet cleaning service where their specialists can handle your mold problems with ease! Professionals at these companies know how to treat your carpets and will handle them with the utmost care and attention.

Their years of experience in the industry will help them decide the exact treatment your carpet needs for its specific problems. They will use their state-of-the-art machines and the most effective products to provide you with a deep, long-lasting clean.

How to prevent your carpet from smelling musty?

Apart from treating mold-ridden areas and removing the damp smell from your carpets, you also need to follow the below-mentioned rules to maintain your carpet’s condition and to make sure this never happens again!

1. Ventilate well

A very important part of carpet upkeep is to create optimum ventilation in the house. If you have many carpeted rooms in your house, it is key that you have good air circulation. You can make this happen by leaving your windows open whenever possible and also by turning on fans to create some movement. Removing moisture with good ventilation is one of the easiest ways to prevent mold growth on your carpets.

open window in the room

2. De-humid-ify

Another simple way to keep the indoor humidity at check is to invest in a good dehumidifier. This machine keeps moisture and dampness at bay while preventing mold from thriving on your carpets. This way, the air you breathe is healthy and your carpets smell wonderful at all times.

This is especially important for people living in humid areas and those with carpets in basement rooms. Make sure you keep your indoor humidity below 60%. Measure indoor humidity with the help of a hygrometer that you can buy at any hardware store near you!

3. Vacuum

Vacuuming carpets routinely is essential as this will remove small odor-causing dirt particles from the carpet and prevent them from getting deeply embedded into the fibres. Mold growth is kept in check when you regularly vacuum your carpets. Vacuuming every 3-5 days is good to make sure your carpets smell clean. For those with pets and/or kids, do it every 2-3 days.



Replace your vacuum bags and filters periodically to prevent dirt accumulation.

4. Leave the lights on

Mold grows and thrives in damp, dark areas. Keeping the lights on in a place like a carpeted basement room may help in preventing the growth of mold, keeping your carpets mold-free and smelling pleasant.



There are special UV lights that can identify and kill mold spores, while the average fluorescent bulbs can only prevent mold growth.

living room with leather furniture

5. Keep it dry

Wet carpets are the root cause of mold growing on them, keep your carpets dry at all times. Fix leaks to prevent moisture and also to save water. Train your dogs well and make them understand that carpets are no place to urinate. Water your plants well but not too much to avoid the surrounding carpet area from getting soaked in water. Be very careful while eating or drinking on the carpet.



Keep your exhaust fans on or leave a window open when you’re cooking or doing the dishes in the kitchen and when you’re showering in the bathroom.

What if your carpet smells bad after cleaning?

If your carpet smells worse after cleaning it, make sure you create optimum ventilation and let all moisture dry as soon as possible. Mold forms on wet surfaces and the longer you leave your carpets wet, the more likely it is to let mold grow on it. Prevent your carpets from smelling musty by reducing humidity and improving the air circulation in the room.

Refrain from using too much detergent as the over-use of chemicals can lead to an unpleasant after-smell. Residue from soap and other cleaning solutions remains on carpets for a long time which damages your carpet fibres and makes it smell awful. Make sure you rinse all products out carefully after cleaning.

vacuum thoroughly


With the practises I’ve suggested above to help you remove mold and prevent it from growing on your carpets, I hope you can eliminate the damp smell of your carpets! The musty smell of your carpets is just more than a smell and it comes from mold that could give you serious health problems.

This is why it is vital that you understand the source of this damp smell and take action to eliminate it completely and restrict it in the future. It is a step towards healthy living and clean breathing that you and your family deserve! Enjoy your fresh-smelling carpet!

girl in a red dress with a dog on the carpet
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Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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