If your carpet has a funny smell due to spilled food, pet odor or years of foot traffic, baking soda might be just the right solution. Using harsh chemicals to remove stains and odors isn’t good for the environment and can be irritating to your eyes and respiratory system. Baking soda is cheap, safe for pets and humans and easy to use.
1. Vacuum first
Mixing baking soda with dirt won’t be very effective. You want to start with a carpet that’s as clean as possible. Vacuum your carpet to pick up any of the big particles of dirt or loose fibers. The bottom of your shoes contains oil and dirt and the constant contact with your carpet can grind away the surface of your carpet and leave dirt deep in the fibers.
2. Isolate the area
Once your carpet is as clean as possible, tell your family you’ll be cleaning the carpet and ask them not to walk on it while you give it the baking soda treatment.
3. Sprinkle the baking soda
Liberally sprinkle baking soda over the area you want to treat. Plan to use up at least one, and maybe two, boxes of baking soda. You want to completely cover everything so you can hardly tell what color it is. Since baking soda is not harmful to humans or pets, don’t skimp.
4. Use a shaker
Since baking soda tends to get clumpy, it might be useful to transfer it to a large shaker before applying. This will help you distribute it more evenly.
5. Scrub it into the carpet
Use a dry scrub brush or sponge to scrub the baking soda deep into the fibers, so it gets all the way to the bottom. This is especially necessary if your carpet is shaggy and long; you want to make sure every part gets coated with soda.
6. Let it act for 24 hours
Let the baking soda sit for several hours or overnight. If you can let it sit for 24 hours, that’s even better. The longer it sits, the better your results will be. Baking soda naturally neutralizes and absorbs odors rather than covering them up.
7. Vacuum up the baking soda
After the 24-hour period, work slowly, since that much baking soda is going to take awhile to vacuum up. You’ll need to go over each section of the carpet several times to get the job done. As long as it didn’t get wet, the baking soda should come right up.