How to Clean Carpet and Get Rid of Spills, Stains and Smells

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Get ready to learn how to clean just about anything out of your carpet that your little ones can dish out with this extensive article!

person scrubbing carpet

As a busy mom with young children, I know how challenging it can be to keep your carpets clean and fresh. Between spills, stains, and everyday wear and tear, it’s not always easy to keep your carpets smelling fresh and looking clean.

It can feel like an uphill battle to keep your carpets looking their best, especially when every time you turn around there’s something new to clean up! Club soda can only go so far when it comes to carpet stains or smells.

Fortunately, there are several simple and effective ways to clean and maintain your carpets and keep them smelling great. As a mom of three, I compiled some of my favorite tried and true ways to keep our own carpets looking fresh into this post to help.

Note: Some links may be affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you use my links to purchase, at no extra added cost to you! I only recommend products that I personally love and believe in. Full disclaimer here.

How to Clean a Smelly Carpet

One of the biggest challenges of carpet cleaning is getting rid of unpleasant smells. Whether it’s pet odors, food spills, or just general mustiness, bad smells can linger in your carpet fibers and make your home feel less clean and fresh.

The good news is that there are several effective ways to combat carpet smells, no harsh chemicals needed.

One of the easiest ways to freshen up your carpets and get rid of carpet odor is to sprinkle baking soda over the surface and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and can help to neutralize unpleasant smells. It works great for carpet smell.

Once the baking soda has had a chance to work its magic, simply vacuum it up to reveal a fresher, cleaner carpet.

person scrubbing carpet diy cleaner

How to Clean Carpet Spills

Spills are an inevitable part of life with young children, and they can quickly turn into stains if not dealt with promptly. The key to cleaning up spills is to act fast and avoid rubbing or scrubbing the affected area, which can push the stain deeper into the fibers.

To clean up a spill, start by blotting up as much of the liquid as possible with a clean cloth or paper towel. Then, apply a cleaning solution to the affected area and blot again to remove any remaining moisture.

Repeat this process until the stain is gone, and then allow the area to dry completely before walking on it.

Be sure to ALWAYS spot check a smell section of your carpet first in an inconspicuous area, to be sure that the solution you are using won’t cause permanent damage or discoloration. Different types of stains call for different cleaning solutions, and carpets and rugs can be made of a wide variety of materials.

Does Baking Soda Clean Carpet?

Yes! Baking soda is a common household item and great tool for cleaning carpets. It can help to loosen dirt and grime from the fibers, as well as absorb and neutralize unpleasant odors.

To clean your carpets with baking soda, simply sprinkle it over the surface, let it sit for several hours, and then vacuum it up. You can repeat this process as needed to keep your carpets looking and smelling great.

How to Clean Carpet with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful cleaning agent that can help to remove tough stains from your carpets. To use hydrogen peroxide to clean your carpets, mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the affected area and let it sit for several minutes.

Then, blot the area with a clean white cloth to remove the stain. Repeat this process until the stain is gone, and then allow the area to dry completely.

How Long Does It Take Carpet to Dry After Cleaning?

The drying time for carpets can vary depending on a number of factors, including the humidity and temperature in your home. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day for carpets to dry completely after cleaning.

To speed up the drying process, you can use fans or open windows to increase airflow and ventilation or use powerful fans.

How to Clean Carpet with Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

For tough stains and odors, combining baking soda and household hydrogen peroxide can be a powerful cleaning solution. To use this method, sprinkle baking soda over the affected area and let it sit for several hours.

Then, mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle and spray the solution onto the baking soda. Allow the solution to sit for several minutes, and then blot the area with a clean cloth to remove the stain.

Repeat this process with the hydrogen peroxide solution as needed until the stain is gone.

red wine spilled on carpet

Tips for Cleaning Different Kinds of Stains

Coffee Stains:

When it comes to coffee spills, the first step is to blot up as much of the liquid and excess moisture as possible using a white paper towel or rag. Then apply a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Blot the area with a clean cloth to remove the stain.

For stubborn stains, mix one tablespoon of white vinegar, one tablespoon of liquid dish soap and two cups of warm water. Apply to the entire area and blot with a dry towel until the coffee is gone.

Red Stains:

Mix a solution of 1/4 teaspoon dish soap, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 2 cups of warm water. Apply the detergent solution to the affected area and blot with a clean cloth.

Red Wine Stains:

Who hasn’t accidentally spilled a glass of red wine while entertaining? Mix two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part dishwashing soap. Apply the solution to the red wine spill and blot with a clean towel and repeat until the stain is gone.

Be careful not to use hot water, as hot water can actually make the spill bind to the carpet fibers, resulting in a permanent stain.

Playdough and Slime:

Allow the playdough or slime to dry completely. Once the playdough or slime has dried, use a vacuum cleaner to remove as much of the dried material as possible from the fibers of your carpet. You can also use a dull knife to gently loosen it.

Then, mix a solution of 1 tablespoon dish soap and 2 cups of warm water, and apply the solution to the affected area. Use an old toothbrush to gently massage the solution into the carpet. Blot the area with a clean cloth to remove any remaining residue.

Mud and Dirt:

My kids love playing outside, and with that comes the need to clean our carpet frequently for mud, dirt and other debris.

For dirt, vacuum the area thoroughly and then follow the next steps if needed.

For mud, first let it dry and then vacuum up as much as possible. To clean, mix two cups of warm water with one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent. Spray or sponge the mud stain with the solution and blot with a clean towel. Repeat until the stain disappears.

Human urine:

If you’ve gone through potty training, you know the struggle! If the urine is fresh, blot up as much of the excess liquid as possible ASAP, using your feet while wearing shoes to press down a light colored rag or white paper towels deep into the carpet fibers.

To get the smell out, mix 1 cup of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 2 teaspoons of dishwashing liquid into a spray bottle. Urine smells like ammonia, and white vinegar can neutralize it.

Spray the pee stain with the vinegar solution until the carpet is throughly saturated. Gently scrub the wet area with a clean cloth, and use paper towels or another dry cloth to blot it up.

dog stained carpet

Pet accidents:

For pet urine and fresh pet stains, blot the area dry with a thick white towel or white paper towels. Add one part white vinegar to one part water. Pour the vinegar solution on the affected area. Let the solution soak for at least 10 minutes to reach the deepest rug fibers.

For general pet smells, try using baking soda. If you’re dealing with ants, learn how to vacuum ants out of carpet.

Pet odor can be tough to remove. You can also use a carpet cleaning solution featuring odor eliminators and stain removers. There are also cleaning solutions made specifically for removing pet accident smells called enzymatic cleaners that work to remove the smell by using enzymes and work really well.

Additional Carpet Cleaning Tips

In addition to these tips, it’s important to vacuum your carpets regularly to remove dirt and debris before it becomes embedded in the fibers. You can also use a carpet cleaner and use commercial products at home, or hire a professional carpet cleaning service to deep clean your carpets every 6-12 months.

Here are a few additional tips:

  • Vacuum your carpets regularly to remove dirt and dust before they have a chance to become embedded in the fibers. Regular vacuuming can help prevent stains from setting as well as smells.
  • The best way to avoid permanent stains is to spot clean spills as soon as they happen to prevent them from setting in. A set-in stain will always be more difficult to remove.
  • For best results, use a carpet cleaner that is designed for your type of carpet.
  • Gently blot stains; don’t scrub. If possible, always use a clean white towel or paper towel to avoid any transfer onto your wet carpet.
  • Sprinkle a little baking soda over your carpets before vacuuming regularly.
  • If you have pets, be sure to brush them regularly and clean up any accidents immediately.
  • For tough carpet stains, you might need more than home remedies. Consider purchasing store-bought cleaners, renting commercial carpet cleaners or hiring a professional carpet cleaner to get the job done when it comes to stubborn stains.

You can purchase carpet cleaning solution online, as well as buy or rent a carpet cleaning machine or steam cleaner! I personally own and love this affordable carpet cleaner, and love that I have my own carpet cleaner on hand for unexpected spills.

Interested in learning more about how to clean different household? You might also enjoy this cleaning checklist for home.

You might also enjoy these articles:

How to Clean Cloth Shoes (Fabric, Canvas)

How to Clean Pine Cones for Crafting

40 Creative and Funny Names for Your Robot Vacuum

family laying on clean carpet

In conclusion, keeping your carpets clean and fresh can be a challenge, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s possible to maintain beautiful carpets even with young children in the house. Whether you’re dealing with spills, stains, or foul odors, there are simple and effective solutions that can help you tackle the problem and keep your carpets looking their best.

By using baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and other simple DIY carpet stain remover solutions, as well as acting quickly to clean up spills and stains, you can keep your carpets looking and smelling great for years to come.

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