How do I remove musty odor and dampness from carpet?
By Brenda from Washington, DC
First thing to try is sprinkling baking soda over the carpet, let it set a few minutes and vacuum. If that doesn't work you need something stronger. Like a powder they recommend for animal odors in carpet. Same idea; sprinkle it on, let it sit, vacuum. Good luck. (11/27/2009)
You could try a product called Permawash from Zinsser. It is a fungicide and mold and mildew killer. It says to cut it 5 to 1 with water, but for carpet you should cut it 7 to 1. You spray it on with a garden sprayer and let it dry.
It will not remove moisture though, it will just kill any mold and mildew which should get rid of some of the odor. I would find the source of the water problem and have that fixed first before you do any other repairs. (11/28/2009)
I have been absolutely impressed with Twenty Mule Team Borax sprinkled over the carpet, rubbed in, let set over night, and vacuum up. It's amazing and really works cheaply. If you have pets or children, keep them off it until vacuumed up, and don't let them breathe it or any other chemicals, soaps, fragrances, candles, or cigarettes, etc.
I have only pets and have seen no ill effects ever. I also have a Hoover Windtunnel vacuum and use quality vacuum bags to prevent recycling the dust and particles it picks up. I consider that a medical expense to prevent illness. It's 6 yrs. old and is great. Most vacuums only give particles a new zip code and don't work well, so consider that fact. The Borax needs to be vacuumed well, but is not as likely to be removed well if your vacuum is low quality, spews dust odors back into your room, or doesn't pick up well.
It's not too far fetched to literally mop a carpet with a tough new sponge mop, using a medium strong soap/water solution, but it doesn't clean as well as you might like. That is, unless you use something like a weak Lestoil solution (1 cap per gallon water), or Spic 'n Span with a fresh lemon squeezed into the water. I had terrible luck with baking soda, because it dries hard when wet first. (12/01/2009)
The sprinkling of baking soda and then vacuuming is excellent, but you should also invest in a dehumidifier. If you rent, ask your landlord if they will supply one. Let them know you're willing to pay the little extra for the electric to run it to keep your lungs free of mold spores and keep them from having to replace carpet and padding. Win, win. (12/01/2009)
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