DIY Carpet Cleaners & How to Get Smells Out of Your Carpet

Have you been smelling some funky odors in your house lately? Your carpet could be the culprit. These eco-friendly cleaning recipes and DIY carpet deodorizers can help eliminate carpet odors without using harsh chemicals.


If you haven’t cleaned your carpet in a while or if your carpet is older, it very well could be hosting some unpleasant odors. You can go out and purchase a commercial carpet deodorizer, but many of those are full of chemicals that could trigger an allergic reaction or may have an overwhelming smell that doesn’t mix well with your scented candles. Commercial deodorizers can also be expensive. Thankfully, there are other options for carpet deodorizing that may not require a special shopping trip, and they use ingredients that you probably already have.

Before using any product on your carpet, consult your carpet manufacturer to see how the particular material should be treated with a carpet odor remover. If you don’t know who the manufacturer is or if you aren’t sure exactly what type of carpet you have, always test the product on a small area (preferably in a spot that’s out of view, such as in a corner or under a large piece of furniture) before widely applying.

Homemade Carpet Freshener Recipe

For those times when your carpet doesn't smell as fresh as it should, here are some natural, DIY carpet deodorizers that you might want to try.

Good old baking soda 

There is no shortage of carpet deodorizer powders available, but if you’re looking for a gentler and cheaper option, look no further than baking soda. This all-purpose household cleaner can work as a natural carpet deodorizer, is easy to use, and has almost no fragrance. 

Simply shake the baking soda on the carpet. Be generous—and even—in your application. Then, work the baking soda down into the carpet fibers as deeply as you can, using a brush, a broom, or your fingertips. Now, let the baking soda sit on the carpet for as long as it can, even overnight. Vacuum the carpet thoroughly. 

You can repeat the baking soda carpet cleaner process as often as needed to get the odor out.

Essential oils 

If you prefer to add some fragrance to your DIY carpet cleaner, mix in a few drops of your favorite essential oil into the baking soda before applying it to the carpet. Some good deodorizing choices are citrus oils—such as lemon, orange, or lime—and lavender, peppermint, rosemary, cinnamon, or eucalyptus.

Spices and herbs

If you don’t have any essential oils on hand but like the idea of adding some scent to your homemade carpet cleaner, you can mix some dried spices or herbs into the baking soda. Spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg have a pleasant fragrance, or you can try sweet-smelling herbs like rosemary and thyme. Whatever suits your fancy.


For tough carpet odors, try mixing in equal parts of borax to the baking soda for a homemade carpet odor eliminator (with or without the addition of fragrant oils or spices). Leave the mixture on the carpet for an hour or longer, then vacuum like you would when using plain baking soda.


Clean the carpet with vinegar to both deodorize and spot clean. Put white or apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle along with some warm water (about one-half to one cup of vinegar for each gallon of water), and spray the area well. After spraying, let the area dry completely. 

Don’t worry—the vinegar scent will dissipate, taking many other odors with it. But if the temporary vinegar odor bothers you, just add a few drops of essential oil to the spray bottle. 

A vinegar and baking soda carpet cleaner option is also a great way to get rid of tough carpet stains. Just sprinkle baking soda on the stain, followed by a light spray of vinegar. Voila! Let the mixture fizz and work its magic, then wipe it up and allow the area to dry. 

Club soda 

Known best for getting stains out of carpet and fabric, club soda serves as a DIY carpet shampoo and deodorizer. If you have a spill or a pet stain on your carpet, blot the area immediately. Then, pour some club soda directly onto the stain or onto a cloth, and blot the area again. Be sure to use a light blotting motion—don’t rub—to avoid damaging the carpet fibers and altering the carpet’s appearance.

Tips for Eliminating Carpet Odors for Good


Now that you know how to deodorize carpet with DIY floor cleaners and homemade carpet fresheners, just remember that the best way to control carpet odors is to prevent them in the first place. Here are some tips to keep your carpet smelling as fresh as possible:

• Avoid or minimize eating and drinking in carpeted areas. If your eating areas are carpeted, consider placing plastic mats or area rugs underneath tables, chairs, and barstools for easy cleaning.

• Keep a basket of old towels by the door for wiping your pet’s paws before they come inside.

• Ask your family and guests to remove their shoes before entering your home. Or place sturdy mats both inside and outside entry doorways, and encourage everyone to wipe their shoes well.

• Vacuum carpets frequently and treat spills right away. Never let a food, drink, or pet stain remain on the carpet.

• Make sure to have adequate ventilation in all carpeted rooms. Opening the windows when weather permits and running ceiling fans can help fresh air circulate.

• Humidity levels that are too high can cause musty carpet odors. Consider using a dehumidifier if you have trouble keeping your home’s humidity levels down.

If you try these DIY carpet fresheners and carpet stain removers but the foul odor still lingers, it may be time to call a carpet cleaning professional. Tell the company what you think the source of the odor is. Be sure to ask what type of odor elimination process the company uses—you don’t want to simply mask the odor with perfumes that won’t last. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors for recommendations, and be sure to request a cost estimate before work begins.

Looking for more cleaning ideas for your spring maintenance checklist beyond your DIY carpet deodorizer? Homemade window cleaner recipes are good to have on your list. While you’re at it, consider signing up for a home warranty with American Home Shield to keep your home’s systems and appliances protected throughout the year. Choose your plan today. 

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.


AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

See more in:
Consumer Affairs Icon
Best Company Awards Icon
Need help?
Talk to our Shield Agents 24/7.

New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.