Carpets are one of the biggest surface areas in your home, and when they smell less than fresh, it has a giant impact on the freshness of your entire room or house (we've all been there). Knowing how to make a carpet smell good can make your home feel so much cleaner and more comfortable.
While shampooing your carpet is always a great plan, you don't have to break out that giant carpet cleaner to make things smell better. A lot of these solutions use things you already have around your home.
Spritz With Vinegar and Warm Water
Carpet smelling a little musty? Don't reach for the bleach or harsh cleansers that can damage carpet fibers. Your kitchen cupboard has the solution.
For a quick freshen up, mix one part warm water with one part vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake well to combine and then spritz the carpet lightly with the mixture. Let it dry. The vinegar is super helpful for removing musty smells in particular.
All the solutions here can also work to make your car carpet smell better too! Just use the same formulas, but on a smaller scale.
Sprinkle With Dried Lavender and Baking Soda
Let's face it: baking soda is an odor-neutralizing superstar. Add in some lavender for a lovely natural scent, and you've got the perfect way to make your carpet smell good naturally.
Mix one cup of baking soda with two tablespoons dried lavender and then sprinkle it liberally over the carpet. We recommend going pretty thick here, especially if you really need to freshen things up. Leave it sitting for several hours and then vacuum it up.
Amp Up Your Ventilation
Getting some ventilation going may sound like a simple solution, but it treats the root of some carpet odors. If you have recently had wet carpet from spills, leaks, or just carpet cleaning, you probably have (or had) a wet carpet pad. Even if the carpet feels dry, the pad might not be.
Open windows and place fans on the area of your carpet that smells. This will help the pad dry. You can even add a dehumidifier if you suspect the pad is still really wet.
Neutralize Pet Urine With a Homemade Carpet Spray
Everyone with a pet deals with urine on the carpet at some point; it just kind of comes with the territory of having a furry friend. You can banish that smell quickly with this simple spot treatment.
Mix one cup of warm water, one cup of white vinegar, and two tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle. Spritz it on the urine spot and wait for about 10 minutes. Come back and dry the area with paper towels.
Word to the wise: go slowly when mixing vinegar and baking soda. Remember that science experiment where you create your own volcano? Avoid that in your spray bottle by gradually adding the baking soda.
Grab Some Club Soda to Deodorize Your Carpet
Club soda works to deodorize carpet too, plus it can help keep some stains from becoming permanent. We recommend making yourself a refreshing mojito or a club soda-based mocktail and then using the rest of the club soda on your carpet.
Just put the soda in a spray bottle and spritz the area that's smelling less than fresh. Leave it on for at least five minutes while you enjoy your drink and then blot it up with paper towels.
Make a Carpet Smell Good With Vodka
While we're talking about cocktail-related solutions, vodka deserves a mention. Hit up your liquor cabinet for a creative way to make your carpet smell better.
Pour some vodka in a spray bottle and mist the carpet. Leave it on there for 15 minutes (we're not telling you what to do, but this might be the perfect opportunity to mix up a vodka sour while the vodka freshens up your carpet). After the vodka has had a chance to do its thing on the carpet, blot it with paper towels.
Use Essential Oils to Get Rid of Bad Smells in Carpet
Depending on the source, it's not always easy to know how to get smells out of carpet, but essential oils can be super helpful here. Whether you're dealing with a smoke smell, musty basement funk, or pet odors, a combo of baking soda and essential oils can do the trick.
Start by mixing about a cup of baking soda with 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil (make sure it's pet-safe if you have critters). Citrus like lemon or orange is a great starting point because those scents naturally fight bad smells. Sprinkle the mixture on the carpet and leave it in place for a few hours. You can even walk on it with socks to work it into the carpet fibers. Come back and vacuum it up for a super fresh carpet.
Fix Stinky Carpets With a Hydrogen Peroxide Mixture
If you have a light-colored carpet, you can destroy some odors from food or pets with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and water. Test this somewhere you won't see first, since the hydrogen peroxide can bleach your carpet.
Mix three parts warm water with one part hydrogen peroxide and add a few drops of dish soap. Put it in a spray bottle and shake it. Then lightly spray the stinky area of your carpet and leave it in place for about 15 minutes. Blot it with paper towels.
Make a Carpet Smell Good Naturally With Citrus
Citrus is a natural odor-buster, and it works on carpet too. This carpet spray takes a little while to make (by "little while," we mean it needs to sit for a few days), but it's totally worth it.
Fill a jar with lemon, lime, or orange peels. Pour in distilled water to cover the peels and close the lid. Leave this sitting for about 3-4 days. Then pour off the water into a spray bottle. Lightly spritz your carpet with the citrus spray to make it smell better.
Use Borax on Tough Carpet Odors
If you have a super smelly carpet (we have kids and pets too, so we're not judging), you might need to break out the borax. This isn't something you want to do with kids and pets around, though, since borax is on the harsh side.
Mix a cup of baking soda with a cup of borax with two teaspoons of ground cloves in a jar. Sprinkle the mixture over your carpet and leave it in place for at least 15 minutes. Come back and vacuum it up.
Try this carpet deodorizing method with the windows open, since it's important to have good ventilation when handling borax. Make sure it's vacuumed well before you let kids or pets back in the room.
Keep Your Carpet Smelling Good Naturally
The key to good smelling carpet is keeping the bad smells from starting in the first place. Try to clean up spills as soon as possible, treat stains when they appear, and clean your carpet regularly. If the carpet is damp, get some air flowing to keep it from getting musty.
Still, life happens, and there are lots of ways to get stinky carpets fresh again. Knowing how to make carpet smell good is one of those cleaning skills that will keep your whole house smelling better.