Cleaning Musty Smelling Carpets

Carpet that has gotten wet or flooded can have a musty smell even after it dries. This is a guide about cleaning musty smelling carpets.

Musty Smelling Carpet
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My carpet is 1 year old. It has not gotten wet, however, it suddenly smells musty. It is very prominent under furniture that lays flat against the carpet. It is throughout the house. Most of the articles I have read indicate the musty smell comes from getting your carpets wet. Could it be the actual carpet?

By Wendy

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Is the floor under the carpeting cement? I have noticed that if I leave a box of something sitting on my carpeting that covers cement floors, when I move the box the carpeting feels damp. However, I do have some furniture that sits flat on the floor and I have never noticed any odor. I never experienced that damp feeling with carpeting that covered wood floors.

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I bought two beautiful rugs made in India. They are cut wool pile and were a great bargain. Now that they are in my house, they smell very musty and visitors have commented. I have used the fabric deodorizer sprays and hung them out to air but the smell lingers on. What can I do?

Cass from Vandalia, OH

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I purchased a rug from Aga John Oriental Rugs that has a spell of old musty wool that permeates thru out the room its in, the longer it stays in the room the worse the odor gets. Aga John will not do anything about it and unless I get legal counsel I have no recourse. Would like to know if anyone out there has had the same problem and how they resolved it.

Thank you.

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Is there any way to get a musty mold smell out of carpet? The roof leaked at my job. We just moved into a new building (5000 sq. ft.). It is all carpet. The roof leaked in the back corner and a 2ft. by 3ft. area got wet. We dried up the carpet, but the odor is still in the store. What (if anything) can we do to get rid of he smell? Our building has been empty for years. We are a thrift store. Thank you.

By Helen from Oroville, CA

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Twenty Mule Team Borax works well to remove odors purchased from the Hispanic Grocery. Sprinkle evenly and med. coverage, let dry if damp, then vaccuum off, but wear a disposable face mask taping the edges to prevent breathing the dust, and do this with good ventilation. I've left it on my carpets for two weeks before vacuuming it off and it's working great to this day.

God bless and help you. : )

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I clean my carpets with a Hoover steam cleaner and my carpets come clean, but they smell musty. What can I do to make them smell fresh? Thanks.

By P.W. from League City, TX

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My home was half underground, on a concrete base, with no insulation, and it had musty smelling rooms, mold in the bathroom and in winter the air felt damp. Solutions that worked for me were - fresh air throughout the day helps remove smells, shaking out pillowcases or musty blankets or washing them more often. Airing a room by just opening windows in the morning for say 3 or 4 hours, as is comfortable. If you can open internal doors and let the air flow smells decrease more easily. It's even faster if you open external doors (if you can do so safely and not be cold! ) A good breeze lifts off the odors for a couple of days, but you might need to do this every few days.

BUT when it's winter and cold you can't do that so much. My home had increased musty odor, nicotine smell came up out of the carpet (we dont smoke), moisture in the air, mold on ceilings, and wet windows in my home. It wasn't pleasant, I always felt gloomy it's not good for breathing in. If you can't insulate your walls/ ceiling/ floors or get double glazing, or have extractor fans, then second best option is a dehumidifier.

I thoroughly recommend investing in a dehumidifier or borrowing one to try out. Despite the initial cost it was an instant lifesaver, our home was much more comfortable. If you don't know, it's function is to remove moisture from the air, collecting that water slowly into its storage container and pushes back out drier air into your home. Dry air is warmer air, so less heating is required, the atmosphere feels comfortable, not humid, there's less chance of bugs thriving, and knocks mold on the head, reduces water on windows and smells. You can close the windows!

If you do this, invest a bit more into a higher end model, it's worth it to have more functions or options if you want to save on power costs long term. The easier to monitor and empty and clean the better. (You need to wipe dust off filters monthly. ) Take time to find one with the right settings for your needs. Some have Eco modes, directional fan, humidity thermostat, laundry drying, air purifying, etc. Set it for your needs and it does the rest.

Once I decided the moisture had to go and use the dehumidifier a friend gave us (Mitsubishi one with lots of setting options), I accepted there would be a power cost to run it 24-7 somedays, but with choosing the best settings for my home, those few dollars a month was worth it. A small price to pay for an improved home. Emptying the water tank is also a small price to pay if you can't do major home alterations. I vote for comfort!

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The other day while replacing the element in the water heater, my darling husband flooded our bathroom, closet, and part of our bedroom. This means wet carpeting. While the carpet is nearly dry, there's a nasty stench in the rooms now. Any idea how to get rid of that? Thanks for the help.

By shosha from Berrien Springs, MI

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Hire a professional to extract the water out of not only the carpet but the sub flooring. They guarantee their work so the expense should be nil to none. Also check with your home owners insurance they should pay the extractors for you. It won't hurt you to check into it, but good luck and let us know how it turns out for ya!

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I recently had carpets professionally cleaned and now my house smells musty. Any ideas what happened or how to get rid of the smell?

TK from AZ

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Two things popped into my head. One, the water in the cleaner might have reactivated some old mold from a water leak or something like that that had dried, and now it smells again. Two, your carpet might not have gotten dry enough this time, allowing the carpet to start to mold/mildew. I'd call the cleaner back and see what he/she can do since it is probably the latter case.

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Home and Garden Cleaning CarpetMarch 2, 2013
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