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5 Methods to Get Smells Out of a Carpet

happyedug8r /

Carpets at home are usually just part of the everyday background, and we rarely pay them attention. But we do notice them when something’s wrong, like when they start to smell funky. They do absorb quite a bit of residue and dirt over time. If you live in a region of Australia where the ground is composed of loose sand and fine particles, you can be sure your carpet will get some. So, if that is the case and there is a foul odour coming from it, you need to learn how to get a smell out of the carpet.

Table of contents:

How to deodorise the carpet

You can use different ingredients in different ways as carpet odour removers. The methods can range from eco-friendly to not-so-eco-friendly. So, what are the ingredients and how to use them to deodorise your carpet?

Baking soda

Use to neutralise: Light smells

If you notice a subtle smell coming from your carpet, you should go with Sodium bicarbonate. This is the easiest way to deodorise a carpet, so start from here.

Sprinkle generous amounts of the compound over the entirety of your carpet. Leave the powder for several hours or overnight, depending on how strong the smell is.

The next day, sweep the baking soda with a broom. Then vacuum to remove all the fine particles from the carpet fibres.

Empty the bag in the trash bin and check your carpet. If you still detect some bad odour, repeat the process until the smell is gone.


Use to neutralise: Mildew smell

Vinegar works well for carpet deodorising when you notice a musty smell. Mind you, you need to try it on a small area first. It’s an acid, after all, and there is a possibility it can damage your carpet.

After you’ve made sure it’s completely safe, pour some distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray the smelly part of the carpet. This is somewhat tricky as you need to spray enough liquid but not so much that you end up soaking the carpet.

Give the vinegar 15 minutes to do its job, then blot with a lint-free cloth. Afterwards, spray cold water over the area and absorb as much of it as possible with a dry cloth. Now you can leave your carpet to air dry.

You can make a solution of white vinegar, baking soda and warm water and spray that on the carpet in case the smell is rather strong to begin with.

Enzyme cleaner

Use to neutralise: Vomit, blood stains, urine and organic waste smell

Pets are lovable little creatures, but they can leave the most stubborn smells on your upholstery and carpeting. That’s where enzyme cleaners come in handy. These products use non-pathogenic bacteria, which act as a catalyst for the breaking down of organic waste.

Before applying the product, you must remove whatever it is that fell and stained the carpet. If it’s liquid, blot as much of it as you can. Afterwards, dilute the stain with warm water. This will make it easier for the enzyme cleaner to break down the waste particles.

Spray the stain with the product and wait however long it says on the instructions. Generally, the more you wait, the better. After the required time has passed, place a damp cloth over the stain, so it will soak up the impurities along with the product. Pat the stain with the rag, do not scrub it!

You will find different enzyme cleaners on today’s market, each designed for a specific stain. So, if you have a pee stain, look for a product designed for that purpose and vice versa.


Use to neutralise: Urine, bacteria, mould smell

The popular Russian drink, vodka, kills bacteria very well, so it makes for a natural stain remover and deodoriser. It is stronger than baking soda and vinegar and more eco-friendly than enzyme cleaners, so if that’s what you need, buy the cheapest brand of vodka you can find and deodorise your carpet.

Perform an initial clean of the stain if it’s fresh. Afterwards, pour some vodka in a spray bottle and spray the stinky area. Leave it like that for 15 minutes, after which blot the sprayed area with a clean rag. The area needs to become dry. And that’s basically it. Repeat if necessary.

Borax, baking soda and essential oil

Use to neutralise: Mildew and mould smell

If you notice your carpet smelling mouldy but don’t want to spray vinegar, try to add borax to your baking soda. Borax kills mould instantly, and makes for a powerful solution when combined with the smell-absorbing properties of sodium bicarbonate.

Mix half a cup of borax with one cup of baking soda in a small container. Add some 20 drops of essential lemon oil to give the solution extra deodorising power.

Sprinkle the mixture over the entirety of the carpet and wait for an hour or two, depending on how strong the smell is. Afterwards, vacuum the carpet. Done.

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How to maintain the clean carpet smell

Now that you’ve worked hard to remove the smell from your carpet, you don’t want to throw that away and have to repeat the whole thing over again. Instead, what you should do, is follow the tips on how to maintain your carpet from smelling.

  • Vacuum regularly. By vacuuming weekly, you stop crumbs, dirt and debris from building between the carpet fibres. If you have small children or pets, you should vacuum several times a week, if not daily. That may be a bit too much so some people, so you can either buy a robot vacuum or book professional cleaning services.
  • Limit activities in the house. Carpets absorb all kinds of smells they come in contact with, so vacuuming alone is not enough. Instead, prohibit smoking inside. Also, when cooking, run exhaust fans and close the doors to nearby rooms. If you grill, do it outside on your terrace or back garden if you have one.
  • Remove shoes. All kinds of bacteria and dirt get stuck on your shoe soles throughout the day and end up on your carpet in the evening. That’s why it’s best to establish a no-shoe policy at your home and have an area close to your entrance where family members and guests can leave their shoes.
  • Increase ventilation. Keep your windows open when the weather is nice. This will help smells dissipate before your carpet can absorb them. In cold weather, ventilate your rooms briefly but intensively by opening the windows wide for about 5 minutes each time.
  • Get a dehumidifier. If you have high humidity levels at your home, you can be sure your carpet will get a musty smell eventually. That’s why it’s worth investing in a dehumidifier both for your carpet and your health.
  • Treat stains when they happen. The more a stain settles, the harder it becomes to remove. Even if it doesn’t smell now, it likely will start in the future.
  • Deep clean. A monthly deep clean will keep your carpets smelling fresh, or rather not smelling at all. If you don’t want to do that, you can opt for professional carpet cleaning once a year.

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  • You can use baking soda for lighter smells.
  • Vinegar in a spray bottle neutralises smells, but you need to be careful not to oversaturate the carpet when spraying the vinegar.
  • Vodka kills bacteria and works to remove tougher smells such as vomit, urine or faeces.
  • Enzyme cleaner is another alternative to vodka if you don’t mind it not being eco-friendly.
  • The best way to keep your carpet smelling fresh is by regular cleaning.

Do you have your own tips on how to deodorise the carpet? Share them by leaving a comment!

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