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How to get smells out of carpet

Tara Hall by Tara Hall

If your carpet is harbouring bad odours, then it can seem like a difficult problem to rectify. Luckily, there are two products that might just hold the cure…

Before attempting any kind of cleaning, you should consult your carpet care guide. Different materials and carpet types react in different ways so it’s important to check the following methods are appropriate and won’t damage your flooring.

Use baking powder
Baking powder isn’t cited as a miracle product for nothing. If you follow these simple steps, it’s brilliant at removing smells too.

Baking powder method
Firstly, add baking powder to the affected area. If you suspect the smell goes below the top layer, then sprinkle extra baking powder on the area and push the baking powder further into the carpet with your fingers or a soft brush.


Secondly, sprinkle an extra layer over the top. A thick layer will give you the best possible chance at removing the smell. Let the baking powder work its magic for a day or two if time allows.

The next step is to remove any excess with a dustpan and brush. You can then vacuum the area. Important - vacuuming too much of the powder risks damaging your vacuum cleaner so make sure you sweep up as much as possible.


Next, test the area. If the smell has lessened, then simply repeat the above process as many times as it takes for the smell to have completely disappeared.

Vinegar method
If you haven’t noticed a reduction in odour, then it’s worth trying the vinegar method instead. Soak a sponge in vinegar or use a plastic spray bottle to administer it to the area. If the carpet smells from a liquid which has been spilt, then you’ll probably need more vinegar here as the smell is likely to have soaked through to the underlay too.

Let the vinegar settle for at least 15 minutes. That will let the acid in the vinegar get to work on the odour. Blot the area with a clean cloth, and then add clean water to remove the vinegar. Blot the water until completely dry. Repeat as many times as necessary to completely remove the smell.

Next steps
Hopefully, the smell will have been removed, but if you’re still struggling with unpleasant odours, hydrogen peroxide is an option, usually for polypropylene carpets. You’ll need to carefully refer to your carpet care guidelines before dabbing this substance onto the area, as you risk removing the colour or damaging your carpet if it isn’t suitable.