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Household accidents are a part of our daily lives, especially if you have kids and pets, and carpets often bear the brunt of spills and stains. Carpets are magnets for absorbing smells like pet urine, spoiled food, cigarette smoke, mildew, and more.

Carpet fibers have a very absorbent material, so any musty smell and lingering odors will likely stick unless you otherwise intervene.

 To keep your home smelling fresh, here are six practical DIY methods to clean and deodorize your carpets. From area rugs to large surface carpets, These techniques will help you tackle common odor issues, leaving your living space smelling clean and inviting.

Cleaning of carpet with hoover at home

1. Baking Soda

Baking Soda is a powerful ingredient that is a cleaning powerhouse. It is a natural deodorizer that is highly effective at removing stains and scents in the household. Your carpet would do well with a bit of baking soda.

 Here’s how to clean with baking soda:

  • Clear the carpet and sprinkle it with a little baking soda. You can place it directly over a stain or cover the entire area.
  • Let the baking soda stay on the carpet for 15 to 20 minutes. For a more pungent smell, you might need to leave it overnight for maximum effectiveness.
  • Vacuum the baking soda when done.

2. Vinegar

people, housework and housekeeping concept - close up of woman in rubber gloves with cloth and detergent spray cleaning carpet at home

Vinegar is an acidic tool that helps remove odd smells. While it’s also a known cooking ingredient, vinegar can help break down mineral deposits and grime in your rug. This is ideal for tackling earthy or musty smells.

Vinegar can also help with musty odors and stubborn stains from liquid spills like energy drinks or coffee. Blot before using a vinegar solution. A couple of paper towels will ensure the rug is dry and ready for cleaning. 

  • Mix vinegar with water in a spray bottle: Vinegar can be a little strong on its own, so it’s ideal to mix it with warm water. Use a one-to-one ratio. If preferred, you can dilute this further by adding an extra cup of water.
  • Once you have your vinegar and water concoction, put it in a spray bottle and lightly spritz your carpet’s surface area. Let the solution sit for around five minutes.
  • Blot the damp area with a dry towel to help dry your carpet. Focus on pressing motions instead of rubbing the fibers to avoid damage.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

Similar to Vinegar, you can use hydrogen peroxide to remove bad smells from your carpet. This one is simple to use. Simply place it directly over any pet stains or affected area and spot clean with peroxide. 

Related post: Keep The Pet, Not The Odor: 20 Ways To Reduce Pet Smells In Your House

4. Essential Oils

Most carpet deodorizers will work on neutralizing unpleasant smells, but you can go the extra mile and add essential oils. Essential oils contain antimicrobial and antibacterial compounds, which can hinder viral infections. Plus, they smell great.

Here’s how you can clean with essential oils:

  • Create a homemade carpet deodorizer with 1 cup of baking soda and 15 drops of essential oils. I love the smell of lemon, eucalyptus, or lavender essential oil when it comes to cleaning.
  • Baking soda and essential oil will be wet when combined. It’s best to use a salt shaker for application. Sprinkle the mixture onto the carpet and leave it overnight.
  • Vacuum the residue in the morning.

5. Carpet Shampoo

Carpet and rug shampoo can also be an effective way to deodorize your carpet. Just remember that certain industrial cleaners can leave traces of chemicals and odors on your carpet. Check the ingredient list and reviews to see whether you’re purchasing a good solution.

  • Your carpet shampoo should come with specific instructions, such as the ratio of solution to water and its recommended application.
  • Load your shampoo into a carpet cleaner or machine. Make sure that it’s secure without any leaks.
  • Work the cleaner around the carpet evenly, allowing small overlaps as you move from each imaginary column to the next. Empty the remaining solution and replace it with water. 
  • With the carpet cleaner now full of water, rinse the whole surface to remove the grime. Let dry for at least half a day before putting your furniture back onto it.

6. Steam Cleaning

steam cleaning carpet

Steam cleaners are also an effective way to deodorize your carpets. Your steam cleaner will work wonders.

  • Fill your steam cleaner with hot water and detergent: For steam cleaners without the heating mechanism, load the machine up with hot water and detergent. Ensure it isn’t lukewarm or boiling to be most effective.
  • Use your steam cleaner according to its directions. Do this slowly and remain over each surface area for a few seconds. When you’re all done, let the space dry.

7. Vodka

Vodka will probably be the most fun multipurpose ingredient that you can use to deodorize your carpet. Toast yourself after cleaning as a small form of celebration.

Vodka works as a smell-removing agent because of its tame alcohol content. Using straight-up alcohol may eliminate unwanted scents, but it’ll be too harsh on your carpet. The U.S. standard for vodka has a 40% concentration, which is effective without damage.

  • Dilute the vodka: Vodka is already alcohol mixed with water, so you can skip diluting it if you wish. However, if your vodka is above 50%, mixing in a little water might be best.
  • Spray vodka onto your carpet: Just like vinegar, it’s best to put your vodka into a spray bottle. Use a few spritzes on the surface, adding extra to the spots that need it most. 
  • Dry your carpet after letting the vodka solution work for around 15 minutes. Press and blot the surface with a dry towel.

How to Maintain an Odor Free Carpet

​The best way to maintain an odor free carpet is by doing the following:

  • Regular Vacuuming: Make vacuuming a regular part of your cleaning routine. This helps remove dirt, debris, and surface odors from your carpet.
  • Immediate Spill Cleanup: Address spills promptly as they occur to prevent them from seeping deep into the carpet fibers and causing lingering odors.
  • Fresh Air Ventilation: Open windows periodically to let in fresh air, which can help circulate and refresh your indoor environment, reducing stale odors trapped in the carpet.
  • Professional Cleaning: Consider hiring professional carpet cleaning services occasionally, especially if you have an older carpet. Professional cleaning offers a thorough deep clean that can eliminate embedded dirt and odors, revitalizing your carpet’s appearance and freshness. 

Other cleaning ideas you might like:

An odor-free carpet can be quite liberating, considering it’s a big part of your home. Take the time to give it a thorough cleaning and take care of it between sessions.

Cora Gold
Website | + posts

Cora Gold is a home and organization blogger and the Editor in Chief of women’s
lifestyle magazine, Revivalist.

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