Carpet Still Smells After Cleaning? Easy Solutions!

If you’ve recently cleaned your carpet, but it still has an unpleasant odor, you’re not alone. Many factors can cause carpets to retain odors, from pet accidents to water damage.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll show you why your carpet may still smell after cleaning and provide easy and effective solutions to eliminate the odor for good.

Let’s dive in and make your home smell fresh again.

Are you tired of cleaning your carpet and still leaving a smell? Check out this Youtube video: “Why does my carpet smell after using a Rug Doctor?”

You’ll learn the reasons behind the odor and how to fix it!

Causes of Carpet Smell After Cleaning

Low-quality carpet cleaning

One of the primary causes of carpet smell after cleaning is due to low-quality cleaning. If the carpet cleaning company uses subpar cleaning products or fails to remove all the dirt and debris from the carpet, it can lead to an unpleasant smell.

Always make sure to choose a reliable carpet cleaning company that uses high-quality cleaning products and equipment to prevent this issue.

Inadequate drying

The second most common reason for the carpet to still smell bad after cleaning is due to inadequate drying. When carpets are not dried thoroughly, moisture gets trapped inside the fibers, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.

These bacteria and mold can produce an unpleasant odor that can remain even after cleaning.

Persistent stains

Carpet stains that were not removed effectively during the cleaning process can also result in a bad odor. Sometimes the smell can come from the bacteria that accumulate on the stain and spread to other areas of the carpet, leading to a lingering smell.

It’s essential to address stains as soon as they happen and thoroughly clean the affected area.

Other common reasons for a bad carpet smell

  • Pet urine or feces: These types of odor are incredibly strong and can persist even after cleaning.
  • Water damage: When carpets are exposed to standing water for too long, they can produce a musty odor.
  • Cigarette smoke or other strong odors: These odors can seep into the carpet fibers and create an unpleasant smell if not addressed adequately.
  • Mold or mildew growth: Carpet that has been exposed to moisture or water damage can develop mold and mildew that can produce a foul odor.
  • Chemical residues from cleaning products: It is essential to use the proper cleaning products and equipment to avoid chemical residues that may cause an unpleasant smell.
Remember to only use high-quality professional carpet cleaning services and clean up stains immediately to avoid a bad carpet smell.

What to Do (and Not to Do) When You Have a Smelly Carpet

Use Vinegar

If your carpet still smells after cleaning, try using vinegar to get rid of the unwanted odor. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and spray it onto the carpet.

Let it sit for a few minutes before blotting it up with a clean towel.

Baking Soda

Another option for removing bad smells from carpets is baking soda. Simply sprinkle baking soda over the affected area, let it sit for a few hours or overnight, and vacuum it up in the morning.

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that can help absorb unpleasant odors.

Other Solutions for Removing Bad Carpet Smell

Aside from using vinegar and baking soda, there are other solutions you can try to get rid of the bad smell from your carpet. One is to air out the room by opening windows or using a fan to improve ventilation.

This can help circulate the air and remove the unpleasant odor.

Another solution is to use a high-quality carpet cleaner or hire a professional carpet cleaning company that has a good reputation. They can deep clean your carpet and remove any dirt, stains, and odors that regular cleaning methods can’t tackle.

You can also try using essential oils or other natural odor eliminators to mask the smell. A mixture of baking soda and essential oils can also be sprayed on the carpet to tackle odors while making your home or apartment smell like fragrance.

You may also opt to use a mixture of baking soda and food processor-ground dried herbs such as lavender or rosemary for a more natural way of eliminating carpet smells.

Remember: Do not use too much water or cleaning solution when cleaning your carpet as it can cause moisture buildup and make the odor worse. It is also important to address spills and pet messes immediately to prevent them from seeping into the carpet fibers.

What If Nothing Works?

If you’ve followed all of the recommended steps to get rid of carpet odors and your carpet still smells after cleaning, it may be time to consider replacing it. Persistent odors can indicate more serious problems like mold or water damage that may not be salvageable.

If you suspect mold or water damage, it’s important to address the issue immediately to prevent further damage and potential health risks. Replacing your carpet may be the best solution to completely eliminate the odor and ensure a healthier living space.

Other Odor Eliminating Tricks

White Vinegar Bowls

Another way to eliminate bad odors in a room is to place bowls filled with white vinegar around it. White vinegar can absorb unpleasant smells and freshen up the air.

Leave the bowls overnight in the room and allow the vinegar to work its magic.

Kitty Litter

Kitty litter is another great option when it comes to getting rid of carpet odors. Spread a thin layer over the affected area and leave it to sit for a few hours.

The kitty litter will absorb any moisture present and neutralize the odor. Vacuum it up afterwards and your carpet will smell fresh again.


Borax is a natural mineral that can help eliminate bad smells from your carpet. Mix one cup of borax with two cups of cornmeal and sprinkle it over your carpet.

Let it sit for an hour before vacuuming it up. The borax will not only absorb moisture, but also neutralize any unpleasant smells present.


A carpet that still smells after cleaning can be fixed with various solutions such as sprinkling baking soda and essential oils, using water/vinegar deodorant or a mixture of baking soda and dried herbs. However, the best way to get rid of bad odor is to identify the root cause of the problem and use the appropriate solution.

Regular maintenance can also extend the life expectancy of your carpet. Don’t let bad odors ruin your indoor air quality, use these solutions to enjoy fresh, clean carpets once again.


Carpets are prone to trapping odors deep within the fibers due to moisture, spills, pet messes, and standing water that penetrates the carpet underlayment. Even when you do a thorough cleaning, the smell may persist.

The reason behind this is that the cleaning solution might not be strong enough to eliminate the odor-causing bacteria. When these bacteria remain present, they continue producing unpleasant smells that remain in the carpet even after cleaning.

The residue left behind by carpet cleaning equipment also traps carpet odor at times.

Fortunately, there are various ways to remove carpet odors entirely. One of the most effective methods is sprinkling baking soda