Carpet odors – hard to detect and equally hard to get rid of at times. While there are a number of products on the market that are designed to mask and cover carpet odors, there are few options out there for truly eliminating the source of the odors. In this guide, we will explore different ways to conquer common carpet odors so you can keep your home or business smelling fresh and clean.
Identifying the Source of Carpet Odors
In order to eliminate odors from your carpeting, you need to know where they’re coming from. Your carpet itself doesn’t smell. It simply acts as a set of fibers, woven together to lock in liquids and debris that may smell later on. When you clean your carpet, you’re not trying to clean filtering fiber. Rather, you’re trying to get rid of the stinky substances hanging around. It’s important to keep this in mind as you go about your carpet cleaning so you can select the right cleaning chemicals and equipment to suit the task at hand.
Common sources of carpet odors include:
• Food crumbs
• Human waste
• Spilled liquids
• Moisture (mold, mildew, etc.)
• Leftover cleaning chemicals
Moisture in particular is one of the biggest culprits in carpet odors. This can come from a number of sources: high humidity levels, excessive water from cleaning equipment, wet shoes, spills, etc. Not only will the odors in the liquids stay behind and make the carpet smell, but the mold that forms afterward will smell as well. The longer the moisture is left to sit and soak into the carpeting, the harder it will be to clear out the resulting smells.
PRO TIP: Don’t Forget the Carpet Padding
When you go to identify and remove the source of carpet odors, keep the padding in mind as well. Many odor sources are able to penetrate paste the carpet fibers and the carpet backing to get straight down to the pad. You may need to focus on deep cleaning to reach down to the carpet padding and get rid of the odors completely.
Improper Carpet Cleaning Can Make Odors Worse
Believe it or not, trying to fix your carpet odors can actually make them worse in the long run. This shouldn’t discourage you from cleaning, of course, but rather emphasize the need for proper carpet cleaning procedures from the start.
The main issue that people will run into with carpet cleaning is leaving the carpet too wet for too long. It doesn’t matter if you’re using cleaning chemicals on the carpet or you are simply steam cleaning it. You can’t leave the moisture on the fibers for too long. It’s important to dry out the carpets that you are cleaning quickly, either with drying equipment or by using minimal liquids on the carpeting so they are able to air dry on their own.
Poorly maintained cleaning equipment can also make odors worse than they should be. For instance, if your vacuums or extractors are not cleaned out well, they can leave soil behind that will make the carpet smell. Improper vacuuming and extracting can also make the carpets stink over time. No matter how you go about cleaning your carpets, you need to make sure you take the steps necessary to prevent future odors from building up on or below the surface.