how to deodorize carpet

Nearly half of all residential floors in America are carpeted. This is no surprise given the role carpets play in creating the comfort and aesthetic we want in our homes.

When carpets start to smell, however, they quickly lose their appeal. Fortunately, bad smells are easy to banish. Keep reading now to learn how to deodorize carpet quickly and easily.

Why Carpets Smell

The first trick to ridding your home of carpet odor is understanding where the unpleasant smells come from in the first place. Most foul odors that find their way into carpets come from a few key culprits.

Wearing Shoes in the House

Even shoes that look clean can track dirt, bacteria, bugs, and other nasty things into your home. Carpet fibers trap these substances which can migrate down into the base of your carpet, making them difficult to remove. There they fester and can eventually start to smell.

Kids and Pets

Carpets provide a comfortable and tempting place for kids and pets to eat, play, lounge, and nap. Unfortunately, this can readily lead to accidents. From spilled drinks and snacks to pets having accidents, carpets get exposed to a lot of potentially smelly things.

Like dirt and bacteria, these substances can grind into your carpet if they aren’t cleaned up quickly and effectively. That can lead directly to ugly smells.


The fibers in your carpet naturally act like mini air filters. They catch and absorb whatever is floating around, from dirt to moisture to allergens and bacteria. If your home is consistently humid, the fibers of your carpet become the perfect breeding ground for these trapped particulars to grow, creating unwanted odors.

How to Deodorize Carpet

It’s impossible to keep your carpet perfectly clean all the time. Sooner or later, bad smells happen to every home. So how do you get rid of terrible carpet smells when they happen to you?

Here are our top seven tips for quickly and effectively deodorizing your carpets.

1. Vacuum Often and Thoroughly

Simple vacuuming is your first line of defense against unpleasant carpet odors. Vacuuming removes most of the dirt and other substances from your carpets, preventing them from sticking around and smelling. Not just any vacuuming will do, though.

Speedily running your vacuum through the house rarely gives your vacuum the chance that it needs to pull particulates out of your carpet’s clinging fibers. For vacuuming to work well, you need to:

  • Vacuum slowly
  • Vacuum often (up to three times a week in high traffic areas)
  • Replace vacuum filters and bags regularly

Taking good care of your vacuum matters, as well. Vacuums that go unemptied or that are operated with clogged, dirty filters can actually contribute to carpet odor instead of eliminating it.

2. Use Baking Soda

Any internet search on how to deodorize carpets is certain to turn up tips related to baking soda. But using baking soda, alone or in combination with borax or essential oils, isn’t just another internet hack. It really works!

Baking soda is a notorious odor-absorber. When you sprinkle it on your carpet, it soaks up and binds to the odor-causing substances buried deep in your carpet fibers. When you vacuum up the baking soda, all those smelly particulates get lifted out with it, leaving your carpet smelling fresh.

To get the best results, sprinkle baking soda liberally over your carpet and leave it there for a few hours or overnight. Then slowly and thoroughly vacuum it up.

Borax and Essential Oils

For an added kick, use a mixture of baking soda and borax or add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda before sprinkling. Borax is a particularly good addition if you’re concerned about mold or mildew, as its acidic properties are great for killing them off if they’re lurking in your carpet fibers.

Essential oils can also have disinfectant properties and leave your carpet with a subtly pleasant smell when you’re done vacuuming. Just remember to choose your oils carefully, as some can be toxic or irritating to pets.

3. Deep Clean Every 6 to 12 Months

When it comes to carpet odor removal, nothing beats a good, deep clean. Hire a professional cleaning company every six to twelve months to come in and give your carpet the deep clean it needs.

Not only will this keep bad smells away, but it will also:

  • Protect your home and family from viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants
  • Increase the longevity of your carpet
  • Make keeping your carpet clean easier the rest of the year

4. Spot Clean Promptly

Spills and messes happen. Cleaning them up quickly and correctly can prevent them from creating lingering problems like unwelcome smells. The longer stains sit, the harder they are to remove.

Keep a good commercial stain remover on hand. You may also want to keep club soda and hydrogen peroxide around as they can help you get out tricky stains like wine and blood.

Always clean up messes by blotting rather than scrubbing. Scrubbing works particulates deeper into carpet fibers, making it harder to clean up. Blotting allows you to lift away stains and debris more easily.

5. Use an Enzyme Cleaner

One of the most sought-after products when it comes to carpet cleaning is a carpet deodorizer for pet urine. Pet accidents can happen, and the resulting smell is impossible to ignore. It’s also hard to get out.

Enzyme removers are specially designed to break down the bacteria and other organic substances in pet urine, feces, and vomit. They can eliminate odors that other cleaners won’t touch. Enzyme cleaners are readily available at grocery and pet supply stores and should be used according to the instructions on their packaging.

6. Apply Vinegar

Given its own strong smell, vinegar can seem like an odd choice for a carpet deodorizer. Vinegar is a natural killer of mildew and bacteria, however, which makes it a great choice. It’s also all-natural and safe for use around children and pets.

To use, simply dilute one cup of white vinegar in two cups of water. Stir or shake to combine, and then spray lightly onto your carpet. It may smell strong at first, but the scent will fade as it dries.

7. Use Vodka

Vodka is a superb stain and odor remover. Use it in place of peroxide or soda water to spot-treat spills or pet accidents on your carpet.

To use, simply spritz or blot the spot with vodka and let it sit. Then blot dry.

Using expensive vodka isn’t necessary. Even the cheap stuff will do nicely!

Banish Carpet Odor From Your Home Today

Now that you know how to deodorize carpet like a pro, give your carpets the love and attention they need. Schedule a professional carpet cleaning for your home today.