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Why Does My Carpet Smell Worse After Cleaning?August 25th, 2020 by
After you’ve gone through the trouble of having your carpet cleaned, you are probably looking forward to relaxing in a house that looks and smells great. But as the carpet cleaner drives away you may begin to notice that the whole place smells musty, sour, or a little like a wet dog. Don’t worry, you are not alone!
Many homeowners discover their carpets smells worse immediately after cleaning. But what is causing that smell, and more importantly, how you can minimize it?
The Main Reason for Musty Smells After Cleaning
The biggest reason for smelly carpets after a cleaning is that the underlying backing or padding got wet and wasn’t dried properly. This can cause a bit of a sour smell until the backing has had a chance to dry – this issue unfortunately just takes time. Set a fan on the floor and turn it on high and open the windows in the room, this will help the carpet dry faster.
If the floor is extremely wet and you are concerned about mildew forming, you can shampoo again with a mixture of white vinegar and water. This will not only help kill any mildew, but also help to absorb odors. Then dry as thoroughly as possible with fans and open windows. Space heaters can also help soak up humidity in the air, which dries the carpet faster.
Wet Dog Smell After Cleaning
If your carpet smells like a wet dog after cleaning, the issue once again is probably the underlying backing or padding of the carpet. This time the problem is not mildew however, it is likely whatever stained your carpet in the first place. Food spills, animal urine, and other stinky messes may have also soaked into the padding underneath. As the area was cleaned, the stain was wet again and reactivated the leftover particles.
It’s not normal to still smell these odors after about two days post-cleaning. If the wet dog smell remains, you can help neutralize odors with germicide or antimicrobial cleaning agents. But 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 Eliminators
There are a few other things you can use to help soak up odors while you wait for the carpet to dry. Place bowls of white vinegar around the room, they will absorb odors from the air. Kitty litter is also a great deodorizer – use it like vinegar in small open containers around the room. It will also soak up odors from the air. But be careful if you have cats, they may try to use what they consider their new bathrooms!
You can also sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and allow it to sit while the carpet dries. Then 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.
More Serious Carpet Cleaning Issues
When cleaning your carpets after serious damage, like water damage, then the bad smell after cleaning is likely due to mold or mildew under the carpet itself. This is a more serious issue, because it can impact your health beyond just smelling poorly. While you may be able to kill the mold with cleaning agents or vinegar, you may also need to have professional mold remediation come to clean the carpets thoroughly.
When dealing with a carpet that was damaged by water, a bad smell after cleaning is a warning sign you don’t want to ignore. Removing the carpet and all the padding underneath may be the only way to ensure that the room is safe for you and your family. If at any time the smell returns after you’ve cleaned the carpet, it’s likely the mold or mildew has returned.
In general, bad smells after cleaning carpets are most commonly attributed to not giving the padding underneath ample time to dry, or indicate the presence of mildew under your carpet. Be sure you have fans or open windows to help your carpet dry quickly, and resist the urge to replace the furniture until the carpet is completely dry.
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