Removing the Sour Smell from Wet Carpet

by April Reinhardt
(last updated December 10, 2012)


There are many reasons why a carpet will smell sour. Perhaps former tenants had pets that urinated into the carpet, and it seeped into the carpet padding. Maybe there's a crack in the house foundation and water leaks into the flooring just enough to wet the carpet and padding to create a mold growth. If you've taken the inexpensive route to have your carpets steamed cleaned by an unlicensed firm, they may have left a lot of dirty water behind instead of sucking it all away. And then there's the sour smell left over by spilled milk, which is exceptionally difficult to get out of carpeting, especially if it happens in a car.

Whatever the reason for the sour smell in your carpeting, there are things you can do to help get rid of the stench. Here are some suggestions:

  • Rent a steam cleaner and clean the affected carpeting thoroughly, and then suck up all of the water that you can, over and over again.
  • Soak the area with white vinegar and allow it to sit for several hours, then suck up all of the liquid with a wet/dry vacuum.
  • Once you're sure that you've removed all of the liquid possible, use air fresheners in the area.
  • Pour several boxes of baking soda onto the carpet, sprinkle with water, and allow it to stand overnight. Thoroughly vacuum the next day with your wet/dry vacuum.
  • After making sure there's no moisture in the carpet or padding, sprinkle an entire canister of cinnamon over all of your carpeting and vacuum. I have white Berber carpeting in my house, and I sprinkle cinnamon on the carpeting each time I vacuum, and it never discolors the carpet.
  • Use an enzyme odor remover to treat the carpet.
  • Contact a car dealership and speak with someone in the detailing department, and ask what products they use to eliminate odors from used car carpets. Use whatever they suggest.
  • Believe it or not, some people advocate using brake cleaner to eliminate sour carpet smells. Dab a small amount on a clean cloth, and then blot the area and rinse with soap and water.

If that sour smell is in your car, there is a product that will eliminate the smell once and for all, named Auto Vaccine. It is environmentally friendly and can be found at this site:

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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What is four less than 8?

2014-05-27 06:19:20


Thanks for the tips. For me it's a runner carpet rug I've spoiled by cleaning it with water. It worked the first time but I managed to get it dried in the sun over 2 days (middle of summer). Not working so well the second time around and having trouble with a bad odour. I have a dog and obviously the obvious has happened.

2013-12-04 10:58:36



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