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How To Get Odors Out Of A Carpet

by Sara Cook

If you have a busy household, day-to-day activities can take their toll on your carpet. Eating, playing and simply walking on the flooring can cause it to smell less than fresh over time. If you have pets, the natural oils from their coats, not to mention bodily accidents, are also big contributors to carpet odor. Even if your carpet looks clean, it's still important to deodorize, and you can do so in a variety of natural and conventional ways.

General Carpet Cleaning Tips

To keep odors from building up on your carpet, regularly maintain the flooring. Vacuum daily or every other day, depending on how much traffic the carpet has and whether or not you have animals, to keep debris from setting in. If your pet or toddler has an accident on the floor, clean it up right away with a cleaner designed for your specific type of carpet, such as berber or shag. To prevent mildew, soak up any water spills immediately as well.

Natural Solutions

If you don't want to use harsh chemicals around your family and pets, opt for natural odor-eliminating solutions instead. Before vacuuming your carpet, sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda evenly over it and allow it to rest for several hours. The baking soda will absorb any bad odors and make your carpet look and smell fresher. To eliminate especially strong odors, such as urine or fish, clean the carpet with a vinegar wash. Mix a solution at a ratio of 3 cups of distilled white vinegar to 1 gallon of hot water and use it in a carpet cleaning machine. Go over the carpet several times and allow the flooring to thoroughly air dry before walking on it.

Traditional Solutions

For more pungent odors, such as milk or cat urine, which has a strong ammonia smell, you may have to use conventional carpet-cleaning methods. Rather than just spray a commercial deodorizer over the carpet, get to the root of the odor by going over the flooring with a carpet cleaner. Instead of the natural vinegar and water solution, use a store-bought cleaner that is made for your particular carpet type. These commercial cleaners often contain ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide, a surfactant, and oxygenated odor neutralizer and fragrance. For milk odors, place a small amount of dry-cleaning solvent on a sponge or cloth and blot the stain with it until the chemical is absorbed. Repeat the process until the stain and smell are gone. Be sure to test a small inconspicuous patch of the carpet first to make sure the solvent doesn't damage it.

For more information about carpeting, contact a company like Stafford's Discount Carpets.