Deodorizing your carpet should always start with finding the source of the odor as opposed to trying to mask the smell with carpet powder and air fresheners. Many times a carpet will smell because it requires thorough carpet cleaning, other times animals or something rotting in the carpet will cause the odor.
The majority of carpet deodorizers you find in retail stores are not designed to remove the source of the odor but rather overpower the bad smell with some good smell. Once the deodorizer weakens you end up with an odor again. The only way this odor can be removed is to treat its source. Below we look at how this can be achieved.
Treating the source
Check your carpet for food, pet urine, mold, vomit or mildew. The stain needs to be treated in order to remove all the traces of the odor which is causing a problem. Specifically, all organic matter which decays i.e. food needs to be removed before the carpet can be properly and thoroughly deodorized. If you see a stain or some food on the carpet identified as the source of the odor you need to either vacuum this or you’ll have to remove it by hand.
Mildew and Mold
Both mildew and mold have very different odors which can certainly get your attention. If your carpet was recently wet or subjected to humidity and didn’t dry properly even after shampooing the source of the odor could be mold and mildew. In cases like these commercial carpet cleaners will use a large vapor steam cleaner to remove the odor and mildew. However, a smaller domestic sized vapor steam cleaner uses dry steam and high heat can also be used to kill the mildew and mold. That said vapor steam will dry in around 15 minutes which does not allow mildew to form again.
When urine crystallizes over a period of time it can be near impossible to remove it. The best way to treat pet urine is to remove it within a few minutes using blotting paper or tissue paper and water. However, if you didn’t do this on time and the urine has crystallized on the fibers of your carpet a neutralizing cleaner which has enzymes that destroy the crystals will need to be used. This will then be followed by sprinkling some deodorizing powder on the area.
Using vinegar to neutralize odors
Common stains and sources of odor can be treated with one part of white vinegar mixed into five parts of cold water. Bowls of vinegar can also be placed around the room in places where they are not easily knocked down. Leaving these overnight will eliminate most if not all the odor.
Deep carpet cleaning is required at least once a year in order to remove grime and dirt. Carpets in high traffic areas will need to be deep cleaned twice a year. That said a hot water extractor machine that forces a mixture of very hot water and a cleaning solution into your carpet at around 280 degrees will help to loosen up and then clean contaminants. However, you should only deep clean around that time of year when you can leave your doors and windows open for ventilation. Otherwise you’ll end up with a bigger problem if your carpets remain damp for a long period of time.
Get a certified professional
If you are not able to rid your carpet of odors yourself you should hire a certified professional. This professional will use approved products and techniques to deep clean your carpet and remove odors.
Contact the manufacturer of your carpet
Sometimes carpets will smell for no good known reason. If this is the case with your carpet make sure to contact the manufacturer and tell them about it. In most cases the manufacturer has a method it recommends for cleaning its carpets which will not void your warranty and also do away with the odor.
Carpets and especially ones made from natural fiber can soak in the odor of burning tobacco from cigarettes, cigars and pipes. If this is the case with your carpet it’s time to make that area odor free and hence smoke residue free.
License: Image author owned
License: Image author owned
Mark Kiss is a certified carpet cleaning expert. He also has a degree in chemistry and loves to take long walks on the beach when he’s not devising new carpet cleaning solutions