Have you ever shampooed your carpet and then noticed that the whole room smells bad – despite the fact that you’ve just cleaned it? This can be enormously disheartening and many people find themselves frustrated by their cleaning efforts making their home worse, instead of better. Unfortunately, it’s also a common experience.
A carpet that smells bad will make your room smell bad, or possibly even the whole house. Because carpets are so large, the smell can spread, so it’s important to be aware of this issue before you start cleaning them. If you get a professional company in, they should deal with any odor issues.
Why does my carpet smell worse after shampooing? If your carpet smells bad after it has been shampooed, it’s likely because it didn’t dry quickly enough, and mold or mildew has started to grow in the fibers. This can produce an odor somewhat like “wet dog” or an unpleasant, musty smell. Sometimes, this will disappear on its own, but at other times, you may need to air the room out or use baking soda.
What Makes a Carpet Smell Bad After It Has Been Shampooed?
The most common reason for a carpet to smell bad after shampooing and washing is that it hasn’t dried properly. If you’ve ever left a load of laundry in the machine for too long, you’ll know that musty scent associated with slow drying – and it’s the same for your carpet.
There are a few other things than can cause a bad odor, but this is the commonest issue.
If a piece of fabric stays damp for a long time, it will quickly become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Because carpets are thick, they may dry very slowly, which increases the risk of this happening, particularly if the weather is cold or the air is humid. The thicker your carpet is, the harder it’s going to be to get it dry quickly.
Additionally, there will probably be a layer of underlay beneath the carpet, and this can run into the same problem. If it gets wet while the carpet is being cleaned or if the carpet’s moisture soaks through later, it will also create this damp smell. The underlay will be even harder to dry than the carpet, because it is under the carpet, and there’s less airflow.
This is why it’s important not to use too much water if you are shampooing your carpet. Different kinds of carpets may respond in different ways, too. If you have a wool carpet, you should expect a wet dog smell while it’s drying; this is normal. Hessian-backed carpets also tend to smell worse than foam-backed ones.
What Else Can Cause a Carpet to Smell Bad?
Sometimes, a carpet will smell bad because the underlay is dirty or stained. Things like pet urine tend to penetrate straight through the carpet and into the underlay, and if they aren’t cleaned, they may cause your carpet to smell even after it has been cleaned. Cleaning it may create air disturbance that could make the smell more obvious.
You may need to engage a professional cleaning firm if your carpet underlay smells bad. If you don’t want to take up the carpet and replace the underlay, you’ll need a cleaning tool that is powerful enough to deal with the underlay as well as the carpet.
Other smells, such as cigarette smoke, can leave a lingering odor. Both cigarette smoke and pet urine will likely need professional cleaning, since they won’t break down under normal conditions. You should consider contacting a firm if you know you have dried your carpet sufficiently but it still smells bad.
How Can You Tackle Bad Smells?
If your carpet is just musty from not being dried properly, you may be able to get rid of the odor by airing the room out thoroughly. It should fade with time. You can also use baking soda or white vinegar to pick up smells from the carpet and deodorize the room quickly and effectively.
To use white vinegar, pour a small amount into several small dishes, and space these out throughout the room. Leave them out overnight, and you should find the bad smell decreases. The smell of vinegar will soon fade after the dishes have been removed.
Alternatively, you can clean your carpet using some white vinegar, but you should dilute it first. Mix 1:1 vinegar and lukewarm water, and sponge this across the carpet, especially in areas that seem to smell bad. Do not make the carpet very wet. Encourage it to dry as quickly as possible by opening windows and using a dehumidifier, and the smell should vanish.
This is because the vinegar will kill the bacteria responsible for the smell, leaving your carpet much fresher.
Another option involves sprinkling baking soda around the room. Baking soda is good at absorbing odors, and will pull the bad smell out of the carpet effectively too. You can vacuum it up the following day. Alternatively, fill some small dishes with baking soda and space these out throughout the room.
Some people use other techniques, such as putting down kitty litter, which will soak up any remaining moisture in the carpet and take the bad smell with it.
How Can You Prevent a Bad Smell?
The best way to prevent your carpet from smelling bad is to thoroughly air out the room while the carpet is drying. Open doors and windows to maximize the airflow. You should also avoid walking on the wet carpet or putting the furniture back too quickly. Both of these things will increase the risk of the carpet staying damp.
Furthermore, putting furniture back on a wet carpet is likely to leave marks that are hard to shift.
Your carpet should smell fresh and pleasant after shampooing, but if the carpet doesn’t smell good, you may have made it too wet. Try to use minimal amounts of water when shampooing the carpet. If your carpet already smells bad, use white vinegar or baking soda to absorb the unwanted aroma.