Because carpet is made up of countless tiny fibers, it’s completely normal for it to hang on to odors. Just like clothes, blankets, and other fibrous items, your carpet will begin to retain odor over time, especially if it hasn’t been deep-cleaned consistently.

Carpet also has an underlay — a base layer of padding that isn’t directly exposed to the air. Because it’s hidden, it holds onto odors and can be difficult to clean.
Reasons your carpet may smell:

  • Food and drink spills
  • Moisture or humidity
  • Pet urine
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Old age
  • Mold or mildew

Whether you need your carpet deodorized because of pets, cigarette smoke, or humidity in your home, there are a number of remedies you can try before calling in professionals. If you have especially tough odors, consider both natural and commercial treatments.

You may be able to remove odors from your carpet on your own if it’s a small spot or it was recently stained. But keep in mind that resistant odors may require professional deodorizing.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of those all-purpose household items that work for a variety of tasks. And it’s a trusted item for cleaning and deodorizing for a reason. Baking soda is especially good at absorbing moisture and odors, so it’s a great treatment if the odor is caused by a drink spill or humidity in the air.

To use baking soda to remove odor from your carpet, simply sprinkle a generous amount across the carpet (or the area you need to deodorize). Block off the area and leave it to sit for at least a few hours. If it’s a tough stain, you may need to leave it overnight.

After you’ve let it sit, use a vacuum cleaner to vacuum up the baking soda.


Vinegar is another household item that you likely already have on hand. It’s an excellent deodorizer, which is why it’s used in many natural or homemade cleaning solutions. Vinegar can help to effectively kill bacteria, making it an effective choice for removing odors due to mildew buildup.

To use vinegar as a carpet deodorizing treatment, mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray the mixture generously on the carpet. Leave it for at least 30 minutes before using a dry cloth to absorb the vinegar.

If you attempt this natural remedy, it’s important to use clear vinegar (such as white vinegar), as dark vinegars could further stain the carpet. Also keep in mind that, even after using the cloth to absorb the vinegar, you may be left with a vinegary smell. Simply open the windows and the smell will dissipate within just a couple of hours.


Vodka works similarly to vinegar when it comes to removing odors. For use as a deodorizer, it’s important to use unflavored vodka, since sugars or additives could worsen the problem or make the area sticky. Quality of vodka doesn’t increase the effectiveness, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand.

This remedy is ideal for spot treatments, and it’s not necessary to dilute it before use. Simply pour a small amount of vodka onto a cloth and dab the affected area. Leave the area to air dry.


Borax is an acid frequently used in cleaning products, and it’s ideal for neutralizing odors and killing mold. To use it as a deodorizing agent, mix equal parts Borax and baking soda and sprinkle it over the affected area. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before vacuuming it up.

Borax can also be worked directly into the carpet on fresh stains by sprinkling it onto the stain and using a brush to scrub it in with cold water. To add a fresh scent, you can also choose to mix a few drops of essential oils into the Borax-baking soda mixture before sprinkling it on the carpet.

Enzymatic Cleaner

Enzymatic cleaners use enzymes to break down stains. The enzymes work to speed up chemical reactions and remove the stain rather than simply cover it up. This type of treatment is especially helpful for treating odors from pet urine because it can discourage pets from repeatedly urinating in the same spot.

Enzymatic cleaners are not necessarily a single product. Rather, they’re a type of cleaner that is made up of a few different categories. You’ll find that many household products you already own, including laundry detergent and drain cleaner, have enzymatic cleaners in them. That being said, most stain removal solutions are enzymatic cleaners, so you can easily find them at your local household or hardware store.

This type of solution is best for spot cleaning, rather than all-over carpet odor removal.

Carpet Shampoo

If natural remedies aren’t working, you can try to do a deep clean on your own using a commercial carpet shampoo. Since carpet shampoos are designed specifically for carpets, they may be able to solve the tough odors you haven’t been able to conquer using natural remedies.

Look for a carpet shampoo that specifically says it removes odors, rather than something that’s solely designed for visible stain removal. Before you start the odor removal process on the entire carpet, spot test the shampoo in an inconspicuous spot to ensure it won’t cause any unwanted effects.

Be aware that shampooing your carpet on your own can be an extremely time-consuming process. You’ll want to set aside at least a few hours, but it could take up to an entire day depending on the size of the area. Make sure you’re fully prepared for this commitment and have all the supplies you need before you begin.

Preventing Carpet Odor Buildup

One of the most important elements of preventing carpet odor is consistent cleaning and deodorization. Of course, this may not be applicable if you’re dealing with odors left behind by a previous homeowner. But, if possible, treat stains, spills, and other problems as quickly as possible. The longer they sit in your carpet, the harder they become to eliminate later on.

Tips for preventing carpet odor:

  • Spot clean stains and spills immediately
  • Have a natural or commercial deodorizer on hand
  • Use a dehumidifier to minimize moisture in the air
  • Deep clean your carpets once a month

Odor buildup is a very common issue, but treating the problem immediately and having a team of experts in your corner can make a world of difference.

Professional Carpet Deodorizing

If you’ve tried multiple home remedies and you’re still stuck with smelly carpet, consider professional carpet deodorizing. Professionals have access to cleaning products that aren’t available to the everyday consumer, and they can provide specialty solutions for your specific circumstance.

Hiring professionals to remove carpet odors also frees up your time. Instead of spending hours trying to remove odors with remedies that may or may not work, you can leave it to a team like Pur360 and get guaranteed fresh carpets.

At Pur360, our qualified team of experts has unmatched experience eradicating odors in homes across the country. While DIY treatments can be time-consuming, exhausting, and sometimes ineffective, the Pur360 carpet odor treatment ensures absolute elimination of all odors.

To learn more about professional carpet deodorization or to schedule an appointment, request a free quote by clicking on the button below.