Maintaining carpets can be a real challenge during the rainy season. Unless you follow a strict shoes-off-at-the-door policy (which is admittedly hard to go through with), moisture is bound to settle on the carpet. What’s worse is that drying the carpet becomes difficult during these months as well, which leads to the moisture settling in the carpet. If autumn turns out to be wet and windy instead of mild and dry, then the problems are compounded.
Rainwater seeping into the carpet isn’t the only reason for the damp smell. It could be caused by a leaking pipe under the floor, or if the indoor humidity levels are high. Once you’ve tackled the damp smell, you need to address the reasons why the carpet had a damp smell in the first place.
A leaking pipe will require a qualified plumber to come out and fix the problem. Most plumbing companies will have a commercial grade wet and dry vacuum that is ideal for removing moisture from your carpets.
A dehumidifier is a good tool to lower humidity levels in the house. You should also be mindful of letting both cooking steam and steam from the shower exit the house quickly. Open a window if possible or run a fan for a few minutes.
Damp Smell Also an Indication of Possible Health Hazards
As a result of the moisture settling in the carpet a damp, soggy smell begins permeating the room. It’s an extremely irritating smell, but the real issue is that it can affect your health as well. Damp and mould are known to cause respiratory problems, including infections, allergies and asthma. It affects the immune system in our bodies. The people who are most vulnerable to it are the kids and the elderly in the household. If you have eczema or any other skin problem, then you are vulnerable to it as well.
What happens is that mould produces allergens, which essentially are substances that can trigger an allergic reaction. While mould spores can trigger allergic reaction, if you inhale them or even touch them. So, it’s very important that you deal with a damp carpet immediately.
Begin by Vacuuming the Carpet
Before you get down to actually removing the smell, you should thoroughly vacuum the carpet a couple of times to remove any and all dust and dirt. Set the suction power of the vacuum at the highest possible level while vacuuming. A vacuum that is designed for carpet cleaning will do the best job. Now you’re ready to tackle the damp smell.
Use Baking Soda to Remove Damp Smell
This is a tried and tested method. It does an excellent job of eliminating that damp smell.
- Baking soda has an advantage over other similar substances. It tackles both the odour and the moisture, which is the source of the odour.
- Generously sprinkle the baking soda all across the carpet. Don’t worry about putting too much baking soda, because it’s organic and will not have any harmful effects on the carpet whatsoever.
- Let the baking soda sit on the carpet for at least four to five hours, though ideally, you should leave it overnight.
- In the morning, use a vacuum cleaner to clean up all of the baking soda. Modern vacuum cleaners have different suction modes. Select the one for carpet or the one that offers the highest suction power.
- Vacuum the carpet twice. If you do it left to right the first time, then do it the other way round on the second occasion.
Carpet Shampoo Can Do the Job Too
It’s true that a good quality carpet shampoo can eliminate the damp smell. But use this method only if the weather outside is such that the carpet can thoroughly dry after the cleaning is completed. If it’s raining outside or even if it’s gloomy, avoid the carpet shampoo.
The carpet shampoo bottle provides all the instructions you will need to clean the carpet and get rid of the damp smell. However, make sure to check your carpet’s recommended care manual to ensure that it’s safe to use a carpet shampoo on it.
Use Vinegar Solution to Tackle Mould
Mould also causes that irritating smell. And, it also brings with it the health hazards that I’ve mentioned earlier. So, this needs to be dealt with effectively as well.
- White vinegar is the perfect antidote for mould as it has antibacterial, antiseptic and antimicrobial qualities in it, which enables it to root out mould from a carpet and along with the unpleasant odour.
- Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar in half a litre of lukewarm water. This is enough for a standard 4 m x 6 m carpet. So, you can adjust the quantities according to the size of your carpet.
- Pour the mixture in a clean and dry spray bottle.
- Spray the solution all over the carpet.
- Keep in mind that the room will smell of vinegar for a good few hours, till the solution dries up completely.
- While the carpet is still damp, sprinkle baking soda all across the carpet.
- Now you have to let the vinegar solution and baking soda to sit on the carpet for a minimum of six hours or till it dries. Ideally, just leave it overnight.
- In the morning, use a vacuum cleaner set at maximum suction power to clean all of this up.
Dos and Don’ts
- Before you apply any substance on the carpet, test it on a small section of the carpet (preferably one that remains hidden).
- It’s significantly easier to get the damp smell out of flatweave and low-pile carpets, but the damp smell in deep-pile carpets can prove to be more obstinate. In such a scenario, check the manual for instructions or get in touch with a professional cleaning service.
- Besides the methods mentioned above, you can also let the carpet sit in the sun for a couple of hours to dry it as much as possible and at least partially eliminate the damp smell. Don’t leave the carpet out in the sun for too long as that could cause discolouration.
- Carpets made of natural fibres like wool and silk might need special cleaning techniques. If the same isn’t mentioned in the care manual, get in touch with a company representative and find out the best way to remove the damp smell.
Keeping your carpets clean and free of odour is always tricky, but is very important because they’re usually in the most-used places around your home. So make sure that you use some of the tips I’ve shared above to stay on top of it!