How To Clean Smelly Rug | smelly Rugs Cleaning

Rug Cleaning
They say homes with rugs have better indoor air quality than those with hard floors. Ever wondered why?

Well, the rug absorbs the airborne pollutants from the air and traps them in its fibres, which can be cleaned later. You can see them as filters that help to cleanse the indoor air.

Rugs are a crucial part of our home décor, particularly in homes with a large percentage of hard flooring. They improve the room’s aesthetics and provide comfort and warmth for those who sit, walk & sometimes lie on them.

So, if there are people with allergies or asthma in your home, and it has large areas of hard floors, having a rug can be a blessing in disguise. All you’ve to know is how to clean them and keep the stink away, something which we will discuss in detail in this article.

How to clean smelly Rug

There are several ways of smelly rug cleaning. Common ones include vodka, baking soda, soapy water, and vacuum cleaner. However, most of the time, simply cleaning with a mop and detergent doesn’t work because the dirt lies deep within the fabric. And it might as well damage the fibre.

While you can choose any method based on your convenience, we discuss these later in this article.

But first, Where is that awful smell coming from?

No one wants a smelly home. But often, odours do manage to creep in. If you’re sensing persistent odour in your home, there are severel places you might want to check, like:

  • Dishwashers
  • Fridge
  • Bed Sheets
  • Closet
  • Your Laundry’s front load washer
  • Shoes and Outerwear

If you have scanned all these hotspots, but the foul smell persists, then it’s definitely your rug.

Remember the time when you bought that rug? Its fresh smell felt good. But over time, accidents, spillage, and other activities might have taken a toll on your rug. Especially in a busy family home, your rug would require timely deep cleans to revive & refresh its original glory.

Common reasons for a bad carpet smell

It’s not the rugs that smell bad. It is the elements that are trapped in its fabric that cause odour. Below are the common reasons for the foul smells:

Moisture or dampness

Moisture in the rug can develop due to many reasons. Humidity, liquid spills, over-wetting of the rug can be the common reasons. Most of the time, this moisture gets trapped in between the rug-fiber, leading to musty odours.

Flooding can also cause odour. One instance can be basement floods after a rainstorm. Such moisture is often ignored, causing mold and mildew to grow under the rug’s padding. Along with the foul smell, this also causes several respiratory issues.

Pet odour

When pets urinate or excrete on the rug, the odour of their waste gets trapped in the rug’s padding. Even after cleaning the rug, the smell of pet waste can still exist because of the bacteria digesting the urine and releasing the gases as a byproduct.

If any of the pet-waste stays in the rug fiber, it will continue to stink. The same goes for vomit, another common issue that pet owners face.

Food and drink spills

Solid food-crumbs and drinks that spill onto the rug can lead to a foul smell. Similar to pet waste odour, these spills attract bacteria if not cleaned thoroughly over time. As the bacteria digest these spills, they release stinky gasses.

It is advisable to clean the rug thoroughly as soon as these spills happen. We have discussed a few effective ways in the next section. Keep reading!

Remove bad Rug Smell from Baking Soda.

If your rug consists of light stains, then extensive steam cleaning or spot-cleaning might not be required. If you’re noticing a mild foul smell persistently in your room, you can deodourise it, and your rug should be good to go. And luckily, you may already have the best ingredient you require in your pantry!

Baking soda is cheap, natural, and proven odour absorber. Its particles penetrate deep into the rug, all the way to the bottom to neutralize and absorb the foul smell. The particles can then be sucked out with a vacuum, leaving you with a rug that would feel like it’s just been bought!

What You’ll Need:

  • One box of baking soda
  • Vacuum


  1. Move your furniture:

Move any furniture off the rug to reach the whole floor area. Vacuum the rug to remove any debris, pet fur, or dirt. (You might be tempted to spot clean but refrain from doing so as you need the rug to be dry for further steps.).

  1. Add the baking soda:

Spray baking soda evenly all over the rug —either using a fine-mesh sieve or right from the box. For a deep-pile rug, spray small sections at a time, then use your fingers to work the baking soda into the rug. Once done properly, move to the next step.

  1. Let it sit:

It is advisable to wait overnight or at least for a few hours so that the baking soda can absorb the odours.

  1. 4. Replace your furniture: Put your furniture pieces back to where they were, and you’re back to square one, only without any odour this time!

Other solutions for cleaning bad rug smell


White vinegar, blended with an equal part of water, should do the trick. Put the mix into a spray bottle and spray over the surface of the rug. Allow it to rest for fifteen to twenty minutes before using a piece of fabric to dab the vinegar out. Blot the affected area with a water rag and then use another cloth to get any residual water out. If the odour continues after it dries, repeat the process until the odour is gone.

Cat Litter

The main objective of cat litter is to absorb any smell. So, it makes sense to use them in removing foul odour from the rugs as well. Just open the boxes of clean cat litter throughout the affected area and let it do the job for you. Ensure you change the litter frequently. Expect the odour gone after some time.


When it comes to cleaning smelly rugs, vodka can be highly effective. It can be applied as a natural stain remover as it eliminates germs and bacteria. Vodka works well for any stubborn smell, specifically pet urine. Sprinkle a bit of vodka on the rug’s top after spot cleaning. Let it rest for fifteen to twenty minutes. Use paper towels to blot excess moisture. Vacuum clean the rug, and the odour should be gone.

Wrapping Up

As much as your rug adds to your home’s look, they get dirty really quickly. Liquid spillage, high foot traffic, seating, stampings are just a few beating your rug takes. If you own a pet, that means there is always a smell roaming around.

We have discussed expert tips on effective rug cleaning in this article. Follow these and you’ll never have to worry about smelly rugs again.

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