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Why Does My Carpet Smell Worse After Cleaning?May 20th, 2021 by
Cleaning your carpets is a chore. The upside, however, is relaxing in a house that looks and smells great. But what if the carpet cleaner drives away and you notice a musty, sour or wet-dog smell?
If that’s happened to you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Plus, there are some things you can do to get rid of that nasty smell and freshen up the whole house.
In this article, we’ll explore common causes of lingering odors, and we’ll share our secrets for how to get rid of them.
The Main Reason for Musty Smells After Cleaning
The biggest reason for smelly carpets after a cleaning is simple. Underneath your carpet is a layer of backing or padding. If that bottom layer gets wet and isn’t dried properly, it can give off an odor.
The good news is that as the backing or padding dries out, the sour smell should go away all on its own. The bad news is this takes (just a bit of) time.
If you want to speed up the process, you can do the following.
- Set a fan on the floor and turn it on high
- Open the windows in the room
- Turn on a space heater—carpets will dry faster with warm, dry air
If the floor is extremely wet and you’re concerned about mildew forming, you may want to take more dramatic steps.
- Remove heavy furniture from the room to allow for air flow
- Shampoo again with a mixture of white vinegar and water
A white vinegar and water shampoo is a nice option because it not only helps kill mildew but also help to absorb odors.
Wet Dog Smell After Cleaning
If your carpet smells like a wet dog after cleaning, the issue is most likely still the underlying backing or padding of the carpet.
However, in this case the problem probably isn’t mildew. It’s more likely whatever stained your carpet in the first place. Things like food spills, animal urine, and other stinky messes can soak into the padding underneath.
As the area was cleaned, the stain was wet again and reactivated the leftover particles.
Typically, these odors will dissipate within two days of carpet cleaning. If the wet dog smell sticks around longer, you can help neutralize odors with germicide or antimicrobial cleaning agents.
Keep in mind that getting the carpet wet again will increase the smell temporarily. Dry the carpet and the padding as quickly as possible.
Other Odor Eliminating Tricks
If you want your home to smell better now (and who doesn’t?), there are things you can use to soak up odors while you wait for the carpet to dry.
White Vinegar Bowls
Place bowls of white vinegar around the room. Their presence alone will help absorb odors from the air.
Kitty litter is another great deodorizer. Use it like vinegar in small open containers around the room. It will soak up odors directly from the air.
Just be careful if you have cats. They may see your deodorizers as new bathrooms!
You can sprinkle baking soda directly on the carpet. Allow it to sit while the carpet dries. Then just vacuum it up to remove the smell.
Borax is another mold-killer that can help reduce odors. Sprinkle it on the carpet like baking soda and scrub it into the carpet with a broom or dry brush.
Allow it to sit overnight, and then vacuum it up in the morning.
More Serious Carpet Cleaning Issues
When cleaning your carpets after serious damage, like water damage, the bad smell after cleaning is likely due to mold or mildew under the carpet itself. This is a more serious issue. It’s not just a bad smell. Mold and mildew can impact your health.
While you may be able to kill the mold with cleaning agents or vinegar, you may also need a professional mold remediation service to clean the carpets thoroughly.
When dealing with water-damaged carpet, a bad smell after cleaning is a warning sign you don’t want to ignore. In some cases, the carpet and padding may need to be removed and replaced entirely. There are times when this is the only way to ensure the room is safe for you and your family.
If the smell returns after you’ve cleaned or replaced the carpet, it’s likely the mold or mildew has returned, as well.
In general, bad smells after cleaning carpets are usually easy to address.
Most of the time, the padding underneath just needs ample time to dry. And if your patience is wearing thin, you can use the tricks listed in this article to ditch the bad smell just a little bit faster.
But take caution. A bad smell can indicate the presence of mildew under your carpet. If you think you have a mildew or mold issue, be sure to have a professional take a look.
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