Three Ways to Make Sure Your Carpet Shampooing Session Effectively Removes Odors

If your room is a bit smelly and you cannot find the source, chances are good that your carpet is to blame. Over time, spilled food, body oils, dead skin cells, and mold spores can build up in your carpet, leading to unpleasant scents. Shampooing your carpet can alleviate these odors as long as you follow these tips.

Shampoo once with shampoo, and again with vinegar.

Carpet shampoo is great for removing dirt and grime, but not all formulas as adept at fighting odors. Make sure you buy a carpet shampoo that's specially designed to fight odors, and use it first. Then, go the extra mile to fight odors by shampooing your carpet a second time, this time with vinegar instead of shampoo. Simply place plain, white vinegar in the shampoo compartment of your carpet shampooer, and then shampoo as normal. Vinegar is excellent for removing odors; your room may initially smell of vinegar, but this smell will fade once the carpet dries.

Make sure the water coming out of your shampooer is as hot as possible.

Hot water is better at dissolving and loosening the particles that are contributing to your carpet's stench. There are several ways to make sure the water from your shampooer is adequately hot:

  • Make sure the water you put into the shampooer is hot. Don't use boiling water—it may melt or otherwise harm your shampooer—but do use the hottest water from your tap.
  • Give your shampooer a few minutes to heat up before you begin using it.
  • If your shampooer has a heat dial, make sure it's set as high as possible.

Ensure you're sucking up as much water as possible after shampooing.

As water from your shampooer enters your carpet, it mixes with the smelly components on the carpet. The more of this water you suck up again, the more of the odor you'll remove. Try going over each section of the carpet with the shampooer on "suction only" mode after you're otherwise finished shampooing. You can also use clean, dry towels to blot extra water out of the carpet after you've sucked up as much as possible with the shampooer.

Note that the tips above are intended for use with conventional synthetic carpets. If you have a carpet made from a less-common material, like jute or wool, your best bet for odor removal is to have it professionally cleaned by a service like Enviro-Steem. Most of these less-common carpet materials don't stand up well to home shampooing.

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