That warm fuzzy feeling under your feet that a carpet gives you – especially in winter feels fantastic. However, life gets in the way, and your carpet can get stained, dirty – or worst of all, smelly.
When it comes to tiled flooring, they’re pretty easy to clean; the problem with carpets is that they absorb moisture quickly, which traps bacteria and odours into their fibres.
However, worry not; with our experience in carpet cleaning, we’ve got some great tips that you can do on your own to get rid of those wet, musty carpet smells.
First things first, it’s important to understand what causes these smells in the first place. Once you resolve the root issue, it will make maintaining your carpet much simpler.
Common causes of smelly carpets
Plenty of causes contribute to a carpet that smells musty and damp.
- Liquid spills
Oops! Some water spilt onto your carpet, but it’s okay; it’ll dry all on its, right? Well, yes and no.
If water spills onto your carpet, it won’t cause a stain and isn’t much of a problem; after all, water really doesn’t have a smell to it.
When water permeates through carpet fibres, it creates that damp, musty aroma if it doesn’t dry properly.
When it comes to other spillages, like wine, soup, sodas etc., not only will they leave a big stain, but they will also leave behind an unpleasant aroma.
When a carpet is wet and does not dry properly, it creates the perfect dark and damp environment for mould growth.
Aside from the smell, mould growth poses severe risks to your family’s health and your carpet’s longevity.
Once it gets a hold of your carpet’s fibres, it is tough to remove, making the carpet cleaning process difficult.
And, you might even need to change your carpet entirely!
- Pet stains
Pets love to roll around, play and even chew treats and drool all over carpets. They also shed fur, track dirt into the house and much more. Oh, and we can’t forget that sometimes your furry friend may have an accident on your carpet, too, leaving behind a mess to clean, stains that are hard to remove and smells that seem to linger no matter what you do.
Don’t worry; there are many ways to tackle these aromas, whether you want a temporary solution until you get a professional carpet cleaning done or you’d like to do it yourself.
Methods For An Effective Carpet Cleaning Experience
You can’t really run a vacuum over a wet carpet and clean it the way you would for dirt or crumbs.
- Ensure Good Air Circulation
Opening up windows in your house increase air circulation.
When there is poor air circulation, not only do smells linger in your home, it increases the humidity in your home, increasing the chances of dampness in your carpeting.
Depending on the size of the carpeting, you can also try to hang it out to dry.
Ventilation also increases the amount of sunlight that hits your carpet, which, aside from helping it dry, impedes mould growth too.
- Run dehumidifier
If you live in a humid area or when the rainy season hits, you’re likely to see a spike in indoor humidity. When this happens inside a home, moisture and warmth create the perfect breeding ground for mould and bacteria on upholstered and carpeted surfaces.
To avoid this, you can invest in a dehumidifier to maintain the proper humidity levels in your home.
- Baking soda
Deodorising carpets with baking soda is one of the most inexpensive and traditional methods. It is highly absorbent, can help dry out excess moisture, and neutralises most foul odours.
Simply apply a small amount of baking soda to the carpet and leave it overnight. This gives the baking soda time to get to work cleaning out your wet carpet. You can even add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda to give your carpet a pleasant fragrance. Ensure no kids or pets use the area until it’s all cleaned up.
The next day, all you need to do is vacuum up the baking soda, and your carpet should smell as good as new!
For heavy-duty stains and smells, mix baking soda with vinegar. This combination causes a chemical reaction that results in potent cleaning power.
Baking soda on wet carpets helps absorb moisture while it neutralises unpleasant smells.
- Shampoo or steam cleaning
Baking soda really is a miracle cure. However, it is not very effective when dealing with stubborn stains and very pungent smells.
In these instances, the use of carpet shampoo comes in very handy. There is a huge variety of carpet shampoos available. From shampoos that require a carpet cleaning machine to ones you can use with just a sponge, you can find a carpet shampoo to suit your needs.
Remember to thoroughly check the instructions on the bottle of shampoo you purchase before using it on your carpet.
Our tip is to try it out on a small area first to see if it causes any adverse reactions on your carpet before applying it to the entire area.
The process is usually very simple. First, you start by vacuuming up the area to get rid of dirt, dust and other debris. Then apply the shampoo onto the carpet and gently scrub. Finally, you will need to vacuum your carpet and leave it to dry. In some instances, you may need to go over the area again with clean water before vacuuming.
Remember that using carpet shampoo is not for the faint of heart and is a complex product to handle. This method requires a lot of drying time too.
Steam cleaning is a great alternative that does not require any extra solutions, but this method does require specialised machinery.
However, if all else fails, you can always rely on a professional carpet cleaning service which will combine their knowledge and expertise and use the right tools to get carpets back in shape again.