Whether you have wall-to-wall carpeting or just a few area rugs, your carpets take a beating over time. You walk on them daily, spill on them, and vacuum them less often than you probably should. Plus, more than other surfaces in your house, like your walls or floors, carpets are porous. They're made of fibers, with lots of nooks and crannies between the weaves or pile, meaning there are lots of spots to absorb odors.
Smoke is a tough smell — maybe it's a habit, or you've burned something in the oven, or had a fire (this just happened to us recently when our fireplace dramatically malfunctioned!). Pets are another one. I mean, I love dogs, but some breeds have a pretty distinctive smell that only those fur-baby daddies and mommies can love.
You can spot-clean a carpet for stains or steam-clean it for disinfection, but if your carpet is in otherwise good shape and you're just noticing a persistent smell in the room, you might want to deodorize it. And fortunately, you may already have the tool you need in your pantry!
Why Use Baking Soda On Your Carpet
Baking soda is a proven odor absorber, plus it's cheap and all-natural. "Baking soda's particles go deep down into the carpet, past the point you can't even see, all the way to the base to absorb and neutralize odors. The particles can then be lifted out with a vacuum, leaving you with a carpet that smells like, well, nothing!" says Dr. Steven A. Bolkan, director of research & development at Church & Dwight (Arm & Hammer's parent company).
Another advantage of baking soda for deodorizing? It's a dry deodorizer, versus some of the sprays that do the same, so you don't have to worry about over-saturating your carpet (or other upholstery) and potentially getting water stains, generating mold and bacteria (if it doesn't dry out), or attracting dirt if someone in your household steps on the carpet before it's dry. And, deodorizing with baking soda is super easy. Here's how to do it.
How To Deodorize Your Carpet Naturally with Baking Soda
What You'll Need
- One box of baking soda
- Move your furniture: Clear any furniture off the carpet to access the whole surface area. Vacuum the carpet to remove any dirt, debris, or pet fur. (Do not take this opportunity to spot-clean, because you want the carpet to be dry for the next step.)
- Add the baking soda: Sprinkle baking soda liberally all over the carpet —either right from the box or using a fine-mesh sieve. If you have a deep-pile carpet, sprinkle small sections at a time, then work the baking soda into the carpet with your fingers before moving on to the next section.
- Let it sit: Wait a few hours or ideally overnight for the baking soda to absorb the odors.
- Vacuum: Vacuum up the baking soda.
- Replace your furniture: Put everything back where it belongs and you're done!
- Wait to do this project right until before bedtime, or another time when you don't expect foot traffic in the room, as it takes some time.
- If the odor persists, repeat the process. "Baking soda does have a saturation point where it has absorbed all of the odor it can, although it really takes a lot of odor to get to that point. For especially stinky areas, do the same routine twice to get out more of the odor," says Bolkan.