How to Deodorize Carpet And Refresh Your Home

By Gladys K. Connelly Updated December 20, 2020

In this post, you’ll learn precisely how to deodorize carpets and get rid of bad carpet smells.

In my step by step guide, I’ll teach you:

So, if you’re looking for convenient and cheap ways to remove carpet smells, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s get into my guide.

Firstly, before I get into specifics, let’s evaluate your problem.


Because tough smells need stronger deodorizers. Moreover, specific odors respond better to particular deodorizers. That’s why it’s important to know what’s causing the issue.

So first, do you need to clarify the following:

Once you have clarified your situation, you can decide which of my eight methods is best for you.

Let’s go through each one together:

Deodorize Your Carpet With These Methods


1.Laundry Detergent

Your first instinct may be to wash the carpet with laundry detergent. 

If that’s the case, you’re not wrong.

Laundry detergent has hydrogen peroxide, which is a strong smell and stain remover.

Therefore, if the carpet has vomit or food spilled on it, using laundry detergent is ideal.

First, you’ll need the following material:

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1
Firstly, soak the area with a bit of warm water. This loosens the carpet fibers and softens caked-up stains.

Step 2
Remove remaining solid bits (if any). Use a soft cloth for this purpose.

Step 3
Take a stiff-bristled brush to apply some laundry detergent on the stain.

Step 4
Then, set your vacuum cleaner to the wet/dry setting.

Step 5
Vacuum the carpet with smooth up and down motions.

Step 6
Do this until you’re rid of the stain as well as excess water.

Pretty easy, right?

You just need to be careful of the amount of detergent you use.
Don’t use too much or too little. Start with a small amount and gradually add more if needed.

2.Baking Soda

Baking soda is a multi-functional household item. 

Accordingly, it’s cheap, readily available, and great for cooking and skincare.

However, did you know that baking soda is also a natural odor remover?

In fact: It’s perfect for removing harsh smells, such as smoke and pet urine. What’s even better is that it’s a dry smell remover, so don’t worry about any leftover water stains.

So, for this method, you’ll need:

Besides, this method is very straightforward. Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1
Sieve generous amounts of baking soda onto the bad odor spot and let it sit overnight.

Step 2
In the morning, use your vacuum cleaner or broom to clean up the baking soda.

Step 3
If the smell still lingers, repeat the process for a few nights.

Although baking soda is a natural carpet deodorizer, so don’t worry. Your house will be smelling fresh in no time.


Borax is a type of acid. It’s white and powdery, like baking soda, and is readily available at any store.

You can use it for cleaning and deodorizing stains, killing mold, and removing mildew around the house. Since it can kill mold, it’s excellent for mold-related smells.

Materials needed:

To use it to deodorize your carpet, all you have to do is:

Step 1
Measure out half a cup of borax.

Step 2
Mix it in with half a cup of baking soda.

Step 3
Sprinkle the mixture on the carpet.

Step 4
Leave it for at least an hour.

Step 5
Clean up by vacuuming the carpet.

Afterward, you’ll have a mold-free and fresh-smelling carpet. Overall, this is an easy and effective solution since borax is a strong deodorizer.

However, don’t worry about the aftereffects too.

Although borax is acidic, it doesn’t have any toxic substances that’ll irritate the skin. (Although, make sure you’re not allergic.)

4.Essential Oils

Next in my list are essential oils. They are prime examples of natural carpet deodorizing.

From lavender to peppermint to lemon, essential oils generally have a pleasant, relaxing carpet odor.

The best part?

These have several health benefits. And, there are no harsh chemicals in essential oils, which is a major plus point as chemicals can cause discoloration.

There’s only one problem:

Essential oils are just good for short-term smell removal. Therefore, you need to mix them in with either borax or baking soda for better results.

For the material, you’ll need:

(*)I recommend using lemon, orange, eucalyptus, peppermint or lavender because they’re good at deodorizing

(**)I also suggest using dried lavender, thyme, or rosemary

Simply put, you have to:

Step 1
Add 15 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil to one cup of baking soda/borax.
Depending on your preferences, add a few teaspoons of your favorite dried herbs.

Step 2

Add herbs (optional), but make sure they’re crushed finely.

Step 3
Then, apply the mixture sparingly on the carpet.

Afterward, you should:

  1. Wipe off the mixture with a damp cloth.
  2. Use a vacuum cleaner for any lingering powder.

5.White Vinegar

White vinegar is the best solution for mildew-related carpet stains and bad smells. 

Mildew builds up between carpet fibers in humid conditions, giving off a musty smell.

Vinegar balances out the musty smell and washes away the mold.


To make the mixture, simply:

Step 1
Combine one part vinegar and two parts water.

Step 2
Add two teaspoons of baking powder (optional)

Step 3
Fill a spray bottle with the mixture.

Step 4
Spray the mixture onto the carpet and let dry. The smell should go away within 10 to 15 minutes.
Simply, save the rest of the mixture for reuse.

(I’d also recommend using this mixture to remove clothes stains.)

6.Enzyme Cleaner

Do you own a cat or a dog? If the answer’s yes, I’d advise you to keep a bottle of enzyme cleaner around. 


Because animal urine gives off a very pungent smell. If it gets absorbed into the carpet, it won’t leave quickly.

Consequently, you need something potent like an enzyme cleaner. Enzyme cleaners, available at any department store, break down stains one molecule at a time.

They’re also strong disinfectants, great for killing bacteria from urine, feces, or vomit.

Since they come ready-for-use, you don’t have to prepare anything. Simply spray the enzyme cleaner on the carpet and let it work its magic.

Some enzyme cleaners come with instructions. If that’s the case, use the label as a guide.


Vodka is a great stain remover. 

Sounds crazy, right?

Well, I’m not talking about expensive, flavored vodka that’s mixed with sugar and additives.

In fact, it’s inexpensive, flavorless vodka that does the trick.

After cleaning up a carpet stain, you can use tasteless vodka to remove the bad smell and color. The amount of vodka you use depends on the depth of the stain.

If it’s a relatively smaller (or less thick) stain, you should:

Step 1
Blot a soft cloth with vodka.

Step 2
Gently pat down the stain. (Don’t rub.)

Step 3
Continue for one minute.

Step 4
Keep repeating the process until you notice that the stain and smell are gone.

For a deep stain:
Step 1
Spray a generous amount of vodka on the stain.

Step 2
Leave it for 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 3
Afterward, dab the vodka out with a cloth or paper towels.

Step 4
Use a vacuum to finish off the job.

8.Carpet Shampoo

Lastly, we have carpet shampoo, which is what uses professional carpet cleaners.

You can buy carpet shampoo anywhere, even on Amazon.

Moreover, carpet shampoos are easy to use: they come with directions and warnings

Besides, carpet shampoos are very versatile. They can get rid of almost any stain and odor.

So to use them, all you have to do is spray the shampoo and then vacuum the carpet thoroughly.

Carpet shampoos lessen the likelihood of your carpet growing mold or getting dust mites.

Therefore, though it’s more expensive than other methods, it’s a good investment.

To choose an efficient carpet shampoo, I recommend choosing one that states that it is effective on carpet stains, like Nature’s Miracle Deep Cleaning or Bissell 78H63 Deep Clean.

So these are my eight methods on how to deodorize your carpet and refresh your home.

Now I’ll share some tips with you.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Carpet

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Carpet

Firstly, you might be wondering: Is there anything I shouldn’t be doing while cleaning my carpet?

After all, rugs are expensive and usually long-term investments. It’s essential to clean them and maintain them properly.

If you clean it in the wrong way, you may worsen the stain. This may make cleaning a more difficult task, or worse, ruin the carpet entirely.

Therefore, to avoid aggravating the stain, make sure you’re not:

1. Waiting Too Long to Clean the Carpet

Speed is critical in preventing carpet smells. 

This may seem obvious, but it’s straightforward to forget to clean a carpet spill.

The sooner you clean it up, the better it is and vice versa. This is particularly true if you’ve spilled something you know will leave a bad stain, such as wine.

If you can help it, don’t wait more than 10 minutes to treat a stain. If it goes beyond that, the stain will solidify, and the odor will be pungent.

2. Forgetting to Do a Clean Test

Secondly, don’t forget to do a clean test before applying anything on the carpet. 


Simply because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Let’s say you’re using a vinegar-based deodorizer. But it turns out that the dye on your carpet doesn’t mesh with vinegar.

So, while trying to remove the odor, you end up discoloring the carpet. To avoid such a scenario, always test the deodorizer on a small spot of the rug.

This will help you out in the long run.

3. Using Colored Cloths

Why are colored clothes hazardous to carpets? 

Well, colored fabrics are more likely to bleed dye into the carpet.

Of course, when you spill on the carpet, you’re too busy trying to clean it up. Therefore, you may

not think about the type of cloth you’re using.

However, you should always pause and get a white-colored kitchen rag or paper towel.

4. Rubbing the Carpet

When you’re cleaning a spill, avoid rubbing the cloth into the carpet. 

This is inefficient and simply makes matters worse.

As I mentioned, always dab or pat at the stain. Rubbing a stain on the carpet spreads around the dirty particles makes it even messier.

Moreover, rubbing ruins the texture of the carpet. If you don’t want your carpet to lose its

softness, remember to dab not rub.

5. Using Too Much Water

Carpets tend to trap water. 

This is why it takes so long for them to dry after cleaning.

When you’re washing a stain, always use water sparingly. You may end up leaving water stains and discoloration.

Not to mention, you may create mold if the carpet doesn’t dry properly.

Sick of Cleaning? Learn How to Avoid a Smelly Carpet

Well, that was how to clean and deodorize carpets correctly. 

In this section, I’ll tell you what measures you can take to avoid a smelly carpet in the first place.

There are three main ways you can do this.

Take a look.

1.Regularly Dry-Clean Your Carpet

Maintaining your carpet is essential. 

However, the maintenance differs, depending on how new or used your carpet is.

As a rule of thumb, you should:

However, if you have:

I’d recommend cleaning your carpets more frequently. Increase vacuuming to four/five times a week and have a professional cleaning two/three times a year.

Tips to Keep Your Home Refresh and Ventilated

Last but not least, what are some ways you can keep your home well-ventilated?

Here, I’m going to tell you how to prevent odors by giving you tips on home ventilation.

Ventilation mainly has to do with improving indoor air quality. This is not only to maintain your health but also to the sanitation of your home.

To increase ventilation, try to:

1. Keep Windows Open

This goes without saying; keep your windows open whenever you can, especially at night. 

Having a constant flow of wind lowers indoor humidity and odor build-up. However, you can’t keep the window open all the time.


Because, instead of getting rid of dust, pollen, and mildew, you’ll be inviting them in. Therefore, this is more of a short-term solution.

2. Turn on the Fan or HVAC System

The point of increasing air ventilation is to get the air to circulate. 

HVAC systems and fans do this very well.

Although, keeping air conditioning and fans on for long periods costs a lot. However, this is the most effective solution.

If you’re using HVAC systems, make sure to maintain your appliances regularly. More importantly, change the air purifiers in your AC periodically.

3. Get an Air Purifier/Dehumidifier

If you don’t want to keep your windows open for long, I suggest investing in these appliances.

Air purifiers get rid of dirt, pollen, pet odor and dander, and mold particles. So, if you have respiratory issues, I recommend investing in an air purifier.

As the air gets cleaner, any odor in the room will also disappear.

In the same way, you can use air dehumidifiers to prevent high levels of indoor humidity.

In this way, you can prevent mold and mildew build-up without opening the windows.

4. Fix Water Leaks

To avoid indoor moisture and keeping your carpets free from unnecessary odor, it’s crucial to fix all the water leaks your floors may have.  

So pay attention to your floors, if you live in an area prone to:

Chances of mold build-up increase in such weather conditions.

Instead of doing it occasionally, make a habit of checking for leaks regularly. This should also help you keep your plumbing systems maintained.

5. Reduce Furniture/Create Open Space

As I said, odors and dirt particles only get trapped in enclosed areas. An excess of furniture also contributes to this.

Consequently, if you have minimal open space in your living area, consider getting rid of some furniture.

Having more open spaces gives air more room to cross and circulate. This prevents dust, pollen, and dirt from settling and producing odors.

In this way, you don’t have to clean and deodorize your carpet as often.

Now I’d Like To Hear From You

I hope you found this guide on how to deodorize carpets and refresh your home helpful.

Now, it’s your turn to answer:

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

About the Author

Gladys K. Connelly

As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a housekeeping specialist with just shy of 9 years' experience to boast. That, combined with seven years prior experience in teaching, helps her create content that is both captivating and insightful.

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