Carpet Mildew Odor Removal

A woman cleaning carpet.
What You'll Need
Dry towels or clean white cloths
Citrus drops/fragrance/neutralizer
Spray utility bottle
Distilled vinegar
Baking soda
Carpet cleaning machine (Optional)
Carpet powder
Hair dryer
Sponges or scrub brush

Carpeting usually looks great in any room of the house, but sometimes needs cleaning to remove the odor caused by mildew. Mildew forms when a wet carpet doesn't completely dry; this is particularly common in bathrooms that have rugs or full carpeting. However, it can happen in any room of the house, such as finished basements or kitchens prone to frequent spills. Homes in humid climates are even more susceptible to mildew and mold growth in all areas of the house.

Some kinds of mildew or mold can be harmful, so it is important to remove it not just for the odor, but for the safe health of friends and family. Follow the easy steps below to rid the carpeting and the room of the mold or mildew and the unpleasant odor that comes with it.

Step 1 - Dry It Out

First, completely dry the area. Either use a blow dryer or suck up excess water with a carpet cleaning machine. If you don't own a carpet cleaner, you can rent one at most home improvement centers.

Step 2 - Vacuum Soiled Areas

After the carpet has been thoroughly dried, vacuum up any excess dirt, dust, and hair that could get in the way of cleaning and deodorizing.

Step 3 - Prepare a Solution

Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray or utility bottle and shake the solution vigorously to blend.

Step 4 - Spray the Carpet

Spray the carpet where the mildew has formed, but do not saturate the carpet. Use a sponge or soft scrub brush and rub the carpet in a circular motion to disperse and spread the solution evenly. Rinse the sponge or scrub brush and then reapply solution as needed.

Step 5 - Dry Again

Use a hairdryer at a high speed or use the carpet cleaning machine again to extract any of the remaining vinegar and water solution and any lingering dampness.

Step 6 - Sprinkle Baking Soda

Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda over the carpeting or the area that has the mildew odor. Let it sit for an hour or more, and then vacuum it up with a regular upright vacuum.

Step 7 - Add Fragrance

Either spray the carpeting with a neutralizer from a home improvement store, citrus drops, or a fragrant carpet powder to take away any remaining mildew odor.

Step 8 - Repeat Process as Needed

If the problem persists, repeat accordingly. If the odor will not go away, you might want to seek a professional, as it might be a mold problem that cannot be deodorized. There are some mold types that could be dangerous or hazardous, so be sure to check with a contractor or professional who specializes in the problem.

Step 9 - Replace the Carpet

If all else fails and the mildew odor cannot be removed from the carpet, you might have to consider recarpeting the area. Think about tiling instead, especially if it is a bathroom since this is a highly traveled area that is constantly in use and a place where water is always on hand.