Cleaning Smelly Carpet?

Category Carpet
From smoke to kids to pets, lots of thing can make your carpet smelly. This is a page about cleaning smelly carpet.


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I thought so far I have taken care of the smell that is omnipresent in Indian homes by keeping doors, windows, fans open/on during and after cooking. But recently I moved to a million dollar home that was beautiful. But from day 1, I found the carpet to be smelly. My earlier home had carpets too but was not smelly. I had decided to do a carpet cleaning before moving in, but my realtor said - why waste money as it has already been cleaned once by the seller ( I doubt that very much now). I kept my travel bag in a closet downstairs (where the carpet smells). When I travelled from CA to FL (in a long flight) for work - on opening my luggage at the hotel I found that all my new and expensive clothes got the typical smell. I travelled next week with another set of clothes and they all got the smell again. I treid to take care of them by keeping the closet door open in the hotel room, and turning on the fan and cooler. I still can smell them and all my nice clothes are spoiled. I do not wash my good clothes - as they lose their new texture and fall.


Back in India we never had this problem. I will either do a carpet cleaning the moment I return to CA, or will remove the carpets and install wood floor.

How can I take care of the smell - I am really very particular about my clothes and cannot stand this smell.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Molly from CA


November 6, 20070 found this helpful

I have a "grated cheese"jar always filled w.plain of Baking Soda.At night b-4 retiring, I sprinkle the carpets w/BS,next day it all gets vacuumed. I also find small boxes and fill them w/BS and they're in each of my closets. Does anyone else notice the smell? I only ask because most everyones home smells different. Hope it works for you. Keeper

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November 7, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Keeper,
Thanks for your reply. I will try that. I also read in another blog that to remove odor from clothes, she is recommending to stuff stockings with BS and run it with the garment in the dryer in fan mode. I will try that with one garment at a time and see.


BTW is baking soda hazardous by any means?

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By Meredith (Guest Post)
November 7, 20070 found this helpful

I have two dogs and a cat so my carpets tend to get some pretty funky smells. I recently discovered that if you sprinkle 20 Mule Team Borax lightly on the carpet and let sit overnight (or as long as you can) then vacuuum thoroughly it neutralizes odors and helps inhibit mold and mildew. This also works extremely well for urine odors! One recipe I have come across is 1 cup 20 Mule Team borax mixed with 2 cups Cornmeal. I haven't tried with the cornmeal yet. I just sprinkle the Borax and it seems to work fine.

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November 8, 20070 found this helpful





Kitchen: garbage disposal, compactor, refrigerator
Good on both hard and soft surfaces, including glass, disposal Refrigerator: spray and wipe counter tops.
Stainless steel, chrome, countertops, floors and fabrics
Clothing: closets, footwear, clothes washing.
Spray 3 to 10 puffs depending on the severity of the odor problem. May be sprayed into the air or onto a surface for best residual effect. Safe to spray into air conditioning systems.
Water-soluble: add 1 oz per gal. To floor rinses, carpet shampoo, solution. Add 2 oz to laundry wash cycle

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November 10, 20070 found this helpful

reality check ! I hate to be the one to have to tell you but you, your clothes & your house all smell ! ;)


(just kidding but you said it first & at least I see honesty !) If none of the other things help - MAYBE if you cut out the section of rug that you believe is the offensive section (lucky you, you seem to think it's in the closet - so thats a BLESSING) you can replace it easily enough & because it's in an out of the way space - (at LEAST not right in the middle of your front door!) Getting a section of carpet to fit into the part you remove & splice it in would be EASY ! Good luck

I thought so far I have taken care of the smell found the carpet to be smelly. My earlier home had carpets too but was not smelly. I kept my travel bag in a closet downstairs (where the carpet smells). next week with another set of clothes and they all got the smell again. I still can smell them.


How can I take care of the smell this smell.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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September 27, 2007

I recently moved into an apartment. At first everything smelled like smoke. Gradually the smell is slowly fading away, but it's still hanging around. My main question is how to get rid of a dirty smell in the carpet? It's new carpet but it smells like dirty old tennis shoes. I cleaned the carpets 4 days ago and the smell is still here. It smells in the living room and in the bedroom. My A/C was leaking and a portion of the carpet was soaking wet for a couple weeks before management finally got maintenance to come check it out. Is it possible there is mold under the carpet? Also if I leave my clothes basket sitting in my bedroom, when I move it the carpet under it is damp. Any suggestions on how to get rid of dirty tennis shoes smelling carpet would be GREATLY appreciated!


September 27, 20070 found this helpful

If everything smelled like smoke maybe there was a fire in the apartment. That would explain the wetness under the clothes basket, there may be water trapped under the carpet and that would promote the growth of mold. Confront your landlord and demand some answers. My family used to manage rental properties so I know you are owed a decent place to live and this sounds downright unhealthy.

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By (Guest Post)
September 28, 20070 found this helpful

I think I would contact management also to have this taken care of before it gets out of hand...especially if it is mold.

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September 28, 20070 found this helpful

You need a professional smoke cleaning service, plain and simple. They are the only ones that know how to deal with smoke smells in carpet and such, from cigarettes to house fires.

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By Granny Lou (Guest Post)
September 28, 20070 found this helpful

I had Renters that supposedly DIDN'T smoke, but when they were moved out, the house smelled so bad I gagged from their smoke. I don't know if it was cigarette smoke or wacky tobaccy. It clung to the carpet and curtains and walls like a brown haze. I tried a lot of things and finally went to OXI CLEAN..mixed it up in my shampoor and cleaned the carpet first, the rug was so filthy I was afraid it would come apart on me and it was new when they moved in. Anyway I cleaned it and it smelled wonderful after I rinsed it with vinegar. Did the same with the drapes and curtains. It's a wonderful product.

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May 6, 2016

I recently just moved into a house and the carpets were really bad. I have shampooed them twice and they're fine until I vacuum, then the smell comes back. Help.


May 7, 20160 found this helpful

The carpet odor problem may be from pet urine, etc., that cannot be removed with regular rug shampoo. You can try treating the entire carpet and whatever base it has with pet urine remover-available at Walmart, Target, etc. Literally soak the carpet! If this does not work (from your description I doubt!) and you own the home, I suggest demanding the prior owner pay to replace the carpets as you had not prior knowledge of the problem. Possibly the wood floor, also!

Our last house was fine in the walk-thru (in the summer with windows wide open) however, after move-in, we quickly realized most of the entire house carpet left us gagging. We pulled up the entire carpeting and base but then saw pet urine, vomit, feces, etc., had not only ruined most of the carpet but also soaked into several large sections of the oak floor. We tried many remedies but nothing worked. We finally had a company replace the damaged wood areas (many!), resand and restain the entire house. When the prior owner refused to pay anything, we took her to small claims court and won on all costs. Collecting was another matter.

Good Luck!

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May 8, 20160 found this helpful

If you are renting, you can request help from your landlord, however, they usually are not interested in investing any money in solving your problem.

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