Carpet cleaning tips

Removing ’Wet Carpet’ Odors

Water damage is one of the most common problems faced by households and is the second highest category of insurance claims in the United Kingdom. The source of the damage can be traced back to numerous causes including weather, climate, accidents and household negligence. Water damage shows up in many forms, one of the most common being wet carpets and the associated odours.

While most water damage can be easily removed with some good old fashioned ‘elbow grease’, the emanating foul odours can stick around long after the immediate cleanup has been completed. Having a fungal odor in your carpeting (and associated mold infestation) can have detrimental health and psychological effects. It is vital that ‘wet carpet’ odour issues be dealt with quickly and effectively especially if one is susceptible to allergens in their environment. That way they can continue to enjoy the health benefits that come with having a clean, dry carpet.

Some Reasons Why ‘Wet Carpet’ Odours May Not Be Safe

After your initial clean-up is complete, you need to ensure that there are no lingering odours. A musty odour emerging off your carpeting indicates that mold or mildew is likely to be forming. Mold and mildew flourish in moist environments and have the ability to spread like wildfire, inflicting considerable damage to your property and have the potential to cause serious health issues.

Mold and mildew will often aggravate existing breathing issues and, in the case of young kids, can indeed cause new ones. Fungal spore formations could impair the immune system, putting everybody in the house at increased risk of illness or viral transmission.

Mold development may also put your carpeting and floors at danger of early degradation.

How Do I Remove Odours?

Fortunately, the foul odour that might linger in your carpets after a water damage incident can be removed with the right products. There are several modest and practical measures that you may take to remove odours from your wet carpets and enhance the overall environment of your home.

Method 1 – Baking Soda

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a widely used material, including for baking. Odor causing agents tend to have acidic values. Baking soda assists in lowering the acidic values of these agents to levels at which the odours are eliminated or controlled.

Baking soda is effective in absorbing smells and moisture. Just get a package of baking soda from your local supermarket and generously apply it to the affected area of your carpeting. Spread the baking soda evenly with a brush or sponge, gently massaging the powder into the carpeting as you go to ensure that it is well absorbed.

You can enhance the effects of the baking soda by mixing in 10-15 drops of a suitable inexpensive essential oil such as orange, lemon or palmarosa. A more expensive option would be lavender.

Leave the baking soda to sit on the carpeting for at least 12 hours and then vacuum the treated area thoroughly. Make use of the most powerful vacuum you can get and be sure to cover the whole area of the carpeting with it. Afterwards, vacuum the carpet a second or third time, being sure to go through every part from at least two separate angles.

If baking soda is not available, powdered borax (sodium borate) can produce comparable results. Care should be taken to follow any safety recommendations provided by the manufacturer.

Method 2 – Vinegar

Plain white vinegar contains a high concentration of acidity. The acidity promotes antiseptic, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties which can assist in odor removal. Not only can it destroy mildew and mold (which cause odours), but it may also be used to soften and remove other dirt from your carpeting which may also contribute to controlling bad odours.

Preparing an odor removal solution is as simple as mixing 2 cups (0.5 L) warm water, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sodium bicarbonate in suitable bottle. Stir the solution completely before applying it generously on the carpeting with a spray bottle. An old wife’s tale suggests that the effects of the solution can be enhanced with a dash of vodka.

The application of the solution is likely to result in a strong vinegar smell, particularly if the area is not well ventilated. The smell of the vinegar will dissipate in a few hours. After the solution has dried fully, vacuum the entire area thoroughly.

Method 3 – Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is another common household product that can come in handy for odor removal. Try mixing 3% hydrogen peroxide with a dye-free soap for use in a carpet cleaning machine. Combine 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of dye-free mild soap to make an odor removal solution. A good natural option for this is Dr. Bronner’s. Blend the ingredients into approximately 6 cups (1.4 L) of boiling water until they are completely dissolved. Apply the solution with  your home carpet cleaning equipment or with a spray bottle.

Hydrogen Peroxide has the potential to cause damage or stain. The solution should be tested on a small obscure area of your carpet before being applied to the whole area to ensure your carpet retains it’s fluffy appearance after being treated.

Method 4 – Professional Carpet Treatments

If odours persist, professional carpet cleaning products can assist in removing the scent of damp carpeting. You should read and follow the recommendations on the packaging, which would most likely state that you should vacuum the carpeting first.

It’s worth noting that certain carpet shampoos are intended to be utilized inside a carpeting cleaning machine, while others may be applied with a sponge.

For example, you will also need to soak the shampoo into the carpeting, leave it to soak for at least 20 minutes, and afterwards vacuum the entire area once more before continuing.

Method 5 – Sun Drying

If you live in an area with a hot sunny climate and if you carpet is not too big, sun drying is a great natural option to not only dry your carpet but also to remove odours. The process may need to be carried over 2-3 days. Where possible, lay the carpet out on a flat area. Take care not to over exposure the carpet to ultraviolet rays.

Method 6 – Professional Cleaning

If all else fails, you may have no option but to employ the services of a professional cleaning service in Milton Keynes. Keep in mind that a professional cleaning may also not be able to remove the odours. When deciding on the service to use, you will want to take into consideration if they offer any guarantees for results or moneyback guarantees. You will also want to take into consideration the type of chemicals that the cleaning service will use for the cleaning process.

Before deciding with a professional clean, you may also want to take into consideration the age and value of the carpet. It may be more economic to replace the carpet.

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