Imagine getting home after a long day, looking forward to relaxing only to be welcomed by a foul odor from your carpet – not such a relaxing atmosphere, right? Worse than that, what if you had an impromptu guest visiting? You’d be sending them away for good without saying anything. Your home should be a restful and welcoming sanctuary and that includes having a fresh carpet.
Pet urine, spilled wine, smoke, and the musky smell that remains after washing a carpet are all culprits of a smelly carpet, and vacuuming alone won’t cut it. The great news is that you may not need to run to the store to remove these smells. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a staple in most kitchens and an effective chemical compound in turning your carpet from dreadful to fresh.
One of the factors most homeowners are confused about is how long to leave baking soda on the carpet to deodorize it. Well, this will depend on the texture of your carpet and the cause of the smell. If the carpet is thick and shaggy and has suffered several months of pet urine and foot traffic, you may need to leave the compound on for 24 hours. If it’s a thinner carpet or it’s been smelly for a few weeks, 12 hours (overnight) will suffice. The thing is, if you deal with the odor almost immediately, even a few hours are enough to get rid of it.
How to Use Baking Soda for Carpet
First, you need to get a fresh box of baking soda. An open one will not absorb the smell effectively as it has already been exposed. You also need to follow a few basic steps and know how long to leave baking soda on the carpet to deodorize it.
Let your family know in advance about your plans so that there’s limited foot traffic in that area for an effective job. Better still wait until bedtime when everyone is asleep before starting. Follow these instructions to deodorize your carpet:
1. Clear and Vacuum
Clear the carpet of any objects or furniture so that you can reach the whole carpet. Using a vacuum, remove pet fur, debris, or dirt. The baking soda will be more effective without all the dirt.
2. Sprinkle the baking soda
Make sure the carpet is completely dry before sprinkling the baking soda. For even distribution, sprinkle the baking soda through a fine-mesh sieve or use a large shaker (you can easily make this with a jar, paper, and a rubber band). Sprinkle the baking soda and cover the whole carpet to the point that you can’t easily tell its actual color. Since it’s not toxic to humans or pets, use it liberally.
3. Scrub it in
Scrub the baking soda in the carpet using a sponge or an old t-shirt to get it deep into the fibers and to the bottom of the carpet.
4. Let it sit in the Carpet
Leave the baking soda on the carpet for several hours to neutralize the odors. Letting it sit overnight (12 hours) is great or even better 24 hours if possible.
Finally, vacuum up the baking soda. Depending on how thick your carpet is, you may have to do this in sections and vacuum each section several times to get all the baking soda out.
Should You Leave Baking Soda on a Carpet Overnight?
Baking soda is not dangerous to the fibers on your carpet so it’s safe to let it stay on the carpet overnight. Baking soda works even better at neutralizing odors when it stays longer on the carpet. Sometimes, the odor is not so bad and the affected area is small. In this case, you can leave it on for an hour or so. This is not always the case though.
If the odor is intense and your affected area is large, you’ll have better results keeping it on for overnight (12 hours) than just a few minutes. It’s best when everyone is in bed because there’s no foot traffic. Just make sure you let your family or housemates know so that they don’t walk through the affected area, otherwise, they’ll be taking the white substance on their feet to other areas of the house.
How Long Should You Leave Vinegar and Baking Soda on a Carpet?
White vinegar is made of acetic acid, making it a natural disinfectant that kills bacteria and dissolves grease and dirt. On its own, you can use it as a cleaner to disinfect specific areas or objects in the house including your carpet.
When you combine these two substances, the disinfecting quality of vinegar and the deodorizing quality of baking soda create a chemical reaction. This combination results in a powerful cleaning and deodorizing solution with extra cleaning power that not only leaves the carpet fresh but can also remove the toughest stains.
To deodorize your carpet with vinegar and baking soda, follow these simple instructions:
What You’ll Need
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- Combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle then shake it vigorously.
- Spritz your entire carpet making sure that you don’t saturate it with the solution.
So, how long do you leave the vinegar and baking soda on the carpet? You must leave the mixture to dry. Usually leaving it overnight is enough. Don’t worry about the strong vinegar scent. By the time the carpet dries, the scent will be gone.
Why Use Baking Soda on Carpet
In the early 1970s, homeowners started using baking soda to freshen up their fridges, then their laundry, and now their carpets too. This substance now occupies a special place in homes across the world because it’s more natural, affordable, and more hassle-free than other freshening products. Above all, baking soda leaves your home smelling fresh. Here’s why you should use baking soda on your carpet:
Baking soda is affordable for almost every household and chances are you already have it in your pantry. A 1 pound box of baking soda costs no more than $5. If you buy it in bulk online, you may even get it cheaper. Also, after sprinkling some of it on your carpet, you can use the rest for baking and cooking.
2. Readily Available
Baking soda is a fast-moving product that you can find in almost every store. Unlike other carpet-freshening products that may go ‘out of stock’, baking soda never goes off the shelves because of the high demand, as it’s used for several other purposes too.
Baking soda is a natural, non-toxic compound. Your children and pets will not be affected by it unless it’s consumed in large quantities which most likely won’t be the case if they taste it. Other carpet fresheners contain dangerously toxic chemicals which can make your children and pets sick.
4. Easy to Use
When deodorizing your carpet, you don’t need to mix the baking soda with other specific substances or put it in a machine for it to work effectively. All you have to do is sprinkle it on the carpet. It comes without complicated instructions or measurements.
5. It’s a Dry Compound
Unlike some sprays that deodorize carpets, baking soda is dry. This eliminates the risk of over-saturating your carpet and consequently creating mold, stains, or attracting dirt if your pet or kids step on the carpet while wet. These occurrences will defeat the purpose of using it in the first place.
6. No Fragrances
Baking soda does not have a fragrance which is a great quality especially if you have allergies. Most commercial deodorizers contain artificial scents which may not only irritate you but also just mask the odor rather than eliminate it, leaving your home less than fresh.
7. Effective Deodorizer
Baking soda does not just mask bad odors. This substance was designed to suck up every foul odor it comes in contact with. Chemically, it works in such a way that it neutralizes acids and bases ensuring that it eliminates odors. If you’re using it to clean your carpet, it’s an effective stain remover.
8. Kills Pesky Insects
Besides cleaning and freshening your carpet, baking soda gives you the added advantage of eliminating pesky insects like carpet beetles and dust mites by dehydrating them until they die. Carpets are generally a paradise for dust mites as they tend to feed on pet dander and dead skin which are usually trapped in carpets.
What Is the Best Odor Eliminator for a House?
Odor eliminators don’t just mask bad odors, they get rid of them completely and leave your home smelling fresh. They come in different forms including air fresheners, gels, essential oils, candles, deodorizers, and air purifiers. Each of these has a benefit depending on what type of odor you’re eliminating and how convenient it is for you.
Air fresheners are budget-friendly and you can find them at most stores. Like many odor eliminators, they come in various floral, fruity, and woodsy scents to suit your taste. If you’re sensitive to fragrances, deodorizers are a great option because some of them are unscented except for that plastic smell during the first initial uses. They are effective odor-neutralizers. Gels may be the easiest odor eliminators to use as they are no-fuss and can work long-term without needing replacement.
Besides keeping your home smelling fresh, candles are also great for aesthetics, brightening, or matching your home theme. They come in various scents. For the eco-friendly home dweller, essential oils are the perfect natural odor eliminator as they are extracted from plants like peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus. Air purifiers not only eliminate odors from your home, but also clean the air by removing allergens, pollutants, and toxins. If you or your family suffer from allergies, this is the best option.
When buying an odor eliminator, you need to consider the following factors:
- Ingredients – What’s the purpose of the different ingredients? Do you mind whether the ingredients are natural or chemical?
- Room size – How many products do you need for one room?
- Scent – Do you like the scent? Can you get one without a scent?
- Usage – Is it easy to use? Can you leave it to run all day? How much maintenance and time does it require?
- Longevity – How long will it last? How long do I need it for?
Ideally, the best odor eliminators for a house should be easy to use, effective, and non-toxic to you and your pets.
Does Vinegar Remove Pet Urine Odor?
Vinegar may be ineffective at eliminating other bad odors like vomit or feces but when it comes to urine odor, it’s a great neutralizer. Ammonia (found in urine) is the reason urine smells that way. Vinegar neutralizes this smell because it’s acidic and ammonia is alkaline.
However, you must use it correctly for it to be effective. If you’re a pet owner, you know that you can’t avoid pet accidents. You also know that pet urine odor has a strong ammonia smell that will take over your whole house. Remove this bad odor from your carpet with these steps:
1. Make a Vinegar Solution
Mix one part white vinegar with one part water depending on the surface area of the carpet you need to work on.
2. Pour the Solution on the Carpet
If the area is still wet with pet urine, start by soaking it up with paper towels and leave it to dry first. Lightly spray your vinegar solution on the affected area making sure the mixture goes down into the fibers of the carpet without saturating the carpet.
3. Soak Up the Liquid
After letting the liquid sit on the carpet for about 15 minutes, soak up the liquid by blotting the area with paper towels.
4. Let it Dry
Let the affected area of the carpet dry. You can also sprinkle some baking powder to eliminate any odors. Let the baking soda sit on the carpet for 15 minutes before vacuuming the area.
Does Vinegar Damage Carpet?
Vinegar will not damage your carpet. However, some carpets are made from delicate natural wool and may be susceptible to some level of damage. This is why you must dilute the vinegar with water to reduce any possibilities of damage. Adding the water will ensure that the solution achieves a favorable PH level to remove odors and stains without harsh reactions.