7 Carpet Deodorizer Hacks to Get the Smell Out of Your Carpet

With ingredients you probably already have.

Raise your hand if you ever had childhood dreams of deodorizing your carpet. No?

Well, of course you didn’t, just like you never dreamt about vigorously cleaning your toilet bowl or climbing a dangerously high ladder to get the leaves out of the gutters. But alas, adulthood.

While deodorizing your carpet isn’t the most glamorous task you’ll take on all week, it might be the one that pays off the most. Just think of inviting friends over (spontaneously!) without fearing social alienation and rejection!

So, whether it’s dog pee assaulting your nose every time you open the bedroom door or a strange sweat smell in front of the television (um, who lived here before you?), we’re here for it. We’ve got hacks for seven of your stinkiest carpet scents using ingredients you might already have stashed away in the house.

Hack #1: Smoke

Smoke is one of those smells that can be an immediate turn off so if you’ve somehow inherited (or created) a bowling alley in your carpet, fear not. Just pour baking soda into a colander (for an extra boost you can also add 1 cup of Borax) and sprinkle it over the affected areas. Baking soda is a natural absorbent so it’ll eat up those odors, plus it’ll seep all the way to the base of the carpet. Walk around on top (no bare feet) so that there’s an even coating everywhere and let it sit for thirty minutes. Vacuum it up for a fresh start.

Hack #2: Mildew

First things first, if you’ve got water in your carpet, make sure to soak it up first with an air humidifier or several fans pointing downward. Once the area is dry, mix 2 cups of warm water with 1 cup of clear vinegar and lightly spray the carpet. The powerful acidity in the vinegar will dislodge the odor-causing compounds and exterminate them for good (or until the next time you leave the window open during a torrential downpour). Remember, if you get the carpet too wet while treating it, you’ll simply create another type of mildew problem. (And wouldn’t that just be the most ironic of all fates?) When the carpet dries, the vinegar scent will disappear, leaving you with nothing but freshness.

Hack #3: Bacteria and mold

For stubborn odors like bacteria and mold, may we recommend a shot of vodka? (Not for you, for the carpet!) The alcohol will actually break up the odor-causing compounds. The best method we’ve found is to pour a little vodka into a spray bottle and lightly spritz any areas with the truly formidable smells. Let the alcohol sit for 15 minutes and blot with a rag until dry. Use a sprinkle of baking soda if there are any remaining scents, let sit for half an hour and vacuum.

Hack #4: Basement funk

You know what we’re talking about. It’s that off-putting scent that wafts around in your lower level, causing you to dread the moment you have to go grab the toolbox. Thankfully, there’s the onion fix. That’s right, try peeling an onion, cut it in half, and set it on a plate in the basement overnight. When you check on it in the morning, the onion will have absorbed the extra moisture in the air, taking the gross smell with it. Repeat this process for days until the smell is completely gone. Just don’t get any ideas about eating the leftovers.

Hack #5: Pet urine (Part 1)

We’re not here to pass judgment about the smell in your carpet, we know those puppy ninja pees behind the chair all too well. To remove pet urine odor in a hurry, first, soak it up as best you can with a dry towel. Then, combine 2 cups of warm water with 2 cups of white vinegar in a bowl and slowly add 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Once you’ve stirred it all up, pour it into a spray bottle (if you’ve got one) and apply the mixture to the stained area. Let it sit for five minutes and blot dry with a soft cloth.

Hack #6: Pet urine (Part 2)

Don’t have baking soda handy? If you can act quickly, club soda is a great solution because its aerated carbonation lifts stains up and out of carpet fibers. Simply pour it over the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Remember to open a window in the room so the carpet can dry faster. Blot it up and repeat until the odor goes away. If you’re really in trouble, check out more ways to get rid of dog pee smell and get rid of cat pee smell.

Hack #7: Sweat

We’ve learned the hard way, carpets can also take on the smell of their sweaty human owners and pets—especially in favorite lounge areas like in front of the television and at the foot of that great bay window. A spray of Febreze Fabric will do the trick, cleaning away odors and replacing them with far more appealing scents, like lilac and violet.

Once you’ve deodorized, follow these general rules of thumb for keeping carpets smelling fresh so you don’t find yourself in a stinky situation once again:

  • Vacuum regularly. Yeah, it’s not as fun as binge-watching dating shows, but it’s a chore that will pay off in the long run. Give your carpets a once-over at least once a week to fend off odors and give you those oh-so-satisfying lines in the carpet.
  • Open your windows whenever possible. Do this and you’ll be treated to the inspiration behind all those scented candles you’ve got piled on the table. Yes, it’s the smell of real-life grass, flowers, and trees coming inside your house to greet you! After all, every carpet needs to breathe every once in a while.
  • Take off your shoes inside. You might think of this as your mother’s mother’s solution, but embracing the no-shoe-inside lifestyle could be your new calling. It's hard to imagine as a society we are generally okay with the same shoes walking us through parking lots, down the grocery stores aisles, in and out of restaurants, AND through the halls of our own house. Defining no-shoe zones helps eliminate dirt and germs from being repeatedly smashed into your carpet like a WWE wrestler.
  • Use a dehumidifier. Humidity does more than curl your hair up into a little frizz ball. When trapped in your carpet, it can smell damp and unappealing. Dehumidifiers are a great way to keep the moisture out of the air and keep your carpets smelling 100% all the time.

So, now that you know how to treat some of your carpet’s worst enemies, get crackin’. From baking soda to club soda and all the ingredients in between, your carpet odor offenders are a thing of the past.

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