How to Remove A Vinegar Smell From Carpet

Jeneva Aaron
Jeneva is the founder and CEO of where she provides honest and objective reviews on home and cleaning products. She is a cleaning enthusiast. She got inspired to build her own cleaning blog when she realized how cleaning can make an impact on our lives and how a cleaner home can affect a person's mood.
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Updated May 21, 2023

Remove that vinegary smell in minutes

How to Remove A Vinegar Smell From Carpet

Vinegar, like dish soap, is a great natural cleaner to remove stains from carpets and eliminate odors such as urine.

But afterward, you’re left with a strong, acidic stink that just doesn’t seem to shift!

We’re here to help and can tell you exactly how to remove this unpleasant smell from your home. And we’ll put the record straight on why you shouldn’t use baking soda.

Follow our straightforward steps and get rid of the smell of vinegar quickly and easily. Then, you can carry on using vinegar for your carpet cleaning and stain removal in the future.

Before You Begin

You’ve used a white vinegar solution to get rid of nasty pet urine odors. But now you’re left with a pungent smell.

The reason is that the primary component of white vinegar is acetic acid, which gives it its sourness and smell. The good news is that this will usually slowly disappear as the vinegar dries on your carpet.

But if you can’t stand the lingering smell of vinegar and don’t want to wait for it to go, you have other solutions than just opening a window or using a fan.

The first alternative is very simple. Acetic acid is water-soluble, so rinsing the carpet surface thoroughly several times with water should get rid of it.

The second is to use a commercial deodorizer. Advice from The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) says that you should use a commercial cleaner specially designed to remove pungent odors that have their Seal of Approval (1).

For this, check the label of the carpet cleaner before use.

And also make sure that it’s non-abrasive as this could damage your carpeted surfaces. The best way is to check what its ingredients are.

As a rule of thumb, avoid any that have baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), hydrated silica, or sodium silicate (for more on this, see below).

And if you’re unsure, try and pick a spray bottle solution, as most powder deodorizer cleaners will contain baking soda (2).

What You’ll Need

*: try this Simple Green cleaning solution or another non-abrasive carpet cleaner.


1. Rinse the Area

Clear the affected area of your carpet. Rinse well with fresh, cold water.

Or use warm water only if you removed all of the stains before. If you use warm water on some types of stains (think protein stains), the heat will set them on your carpet.

Repeat this step more than once if necessary.

2. Remove Excess Water

Then, you need to get rid of as much excess moisture as possible. You can do this with paper towels or a clean, soft cloth.

Or, if you do have a Wet/Dry vacuum, use the correct setting to remove as much water as you can.

3. Sprinkle the Sachet Packet

Next, sprinkle the sachet packet over your carpet. Pick a pleasant smell like lavender, fresh herbs or a scent of your choice as this will help to get rid of the vinegar strong smell.

Then vacuum up the sachet contents.

4. Spray the Deodorizing Solution

This might not have completely removed the white distilled vinegar odor. If this is the case, next try the deodorizing solution.

Use the spray bottle to apply this directly to your carpet.

5. Wait and Rinse Again

Read the instructions on the bottle. It’ll normally say to wait for at least 5 minutes.

Once the suggested time is up, use water to rinse your carpet again.

6. Blot or Use Wet-/Dry Vacuum

As in Step 2 of the cleaning process, you then need to absorb as much of the water as possible.

7 Vacuum Your Carpet

Finally, let the damp area dry completely. Then vacuum your carpet a final time.

Related Topics

Avoid Baking Soda Avoid Baking Soda to Remove Vinegar Smell From Carpet

You might’ve read or been told that you should use baking soda to remove vinegar smell from your carpet. But don’t!

Baking soda absorbs water and is water-soluble. This, along with its abrasive qualities, means that it will easily get stuck in your carpet fibers.

Then when you walk over your floors, the powder will scratch the fibers.

And, if you sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, it’ll create a white film on the surface. So your carpets will look lighter and the fibers will lose their luster.

Even vacuuming won’t help. This will only pick up about 65% of powdered deodorizers like baking soda.

Plus, it can also get into the carpet’s backing. This can break down the latex adhesive used on carpets due to the baking soda’s alkalinity and love of water.

So the result could be a loss of stability to your carpet.

Finally, constantly vacuuming up baking soda might also damage your appliance. The powder’s abrasiveness can cause damage to plastic parts.

Therefore, if you want to remove vinegar odors or some other unpleasant odor, follow our method. And don’t sprinkle baking soda on your floors!



Do Coffee Grounds Neutralize The Vinegar Smell On Carpet?

Yes, in theory, coffee grounds can be used as a natural way to freshen your carpet and the air in your home. They can absorb unwanted odors such as a vinegar smell or urine smell.

But, there are 2 key reasons why you shouldn’t use them as a household cleaner or to get rid of an unpleasant odor:

  • First, due to their dark color, coffee can stain your carpets if you don’t use it correctly.
  • And second, like baking soda, coffee grounds have a habit of getting stuck in your carpet fibers. So it’s then difficult to get rid of it all after it’s been used to remove the smell of vinegar.

Can I Use Lemon Juice Or Essential Oils To Remove The Vinegar Smell From Carpet?

Yes, when you’re trying to get rid of the vinegar smell from your carpets, you can put some lemon juice or essential oils such as tea tree in the water.

However, these odors, although strong, don’t actually get rid of the smell of vinegar. Instead, they mask the smell – so it’s still there and will return when the strong scent of the lemon or oil wears off.

Therefore, we recommend that you follow our steps above using the water and sachet packet cleaning recipe to remove odors.

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