Carpet Smells Like Stinky Feet? Let's Get it Clean
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Do your carpets reek? If the rug or carpet smells like stinky feet, it’s time to take action and remove the odor. What will guests say if they arrive at your home and the stench offends their nostrils? That’s not the impression you want to set.
There could be several reasons why the carpet emanates a stinky smell, and you can remove it in several ways. Fortunately, most of them don’t involve the expense of hiring a carpet cleaning company to handle the problem.
5 Reasons Why Your Carpet Smells Like Stinky Feet
Before we dive into how to remove a stinky smell from the carpet, we need to understand what’s causing the stinky feet problem:
1) The carpet might be due for a cleaning. If you recently moved into a new property, you have no idea how the previous owner cared for the carpets, and they might never have cleaned them.
2) Partial cleaning of carpets allows residues to build over time, leading to the presence of a bad odor.
3) The carpet underlay might have absorbed a spill or materials that caused it to smell. Even if the carpet was cleaned after the accident, the underlay might require deep cleaning to remove the odor.
4) Improper cleaning and drying of the carpet might make the underlay remain moist, resulting in mold growth that emits a smell.
5) If you have pets, cats and dogs might pee on the carpet, and you don’t notice at first. However, as the urine dries, it penetrates the carpet fibers and the underlay, causing a smell.
How to Get the Feet Smell Out of Carpet – 6 Strategies That Work
Here are six proven methods for removing a stinky feet odor in your carpet, regardless of the cause of the smell.
Deodorize Your Carpet with Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer. It's ideal for use on pet pee and absorbs the urine and odors out of the carpet before they have time to set. Follow these steps for applying the baking soda for the best results.
1) Move all furniture away from the offending area of the carpet.
2) Vacuum the carpet to remove dirt, debris, and pet dander.
3) Sprinkle the baking soda over the affected area. Be liberal with your application; it's an affordable material. Sprinkle it straight out of the box; there's no need to sieve it. If there's a big stain, sprinkle a bit at a time and work it into the carpet as you go.
4) Let the baking soda sit on the affected area overnight to absorb the stains and smells.
5) Vacuum the carpet thoroughly to remove all the baking soda. If you notice the smell lingers, repeat the process.
You can get away with using powdered laundry detergent on the carpet as well, which may impart scents that help cover odors. But since we're looking at removing the odor, don't mask it yet.
White Spirit or Distilled Vinegar
Vinegar is another powerful natural odor-neutralizing agent for when your carpet smells like stinky feet. There's not much vinegar can't do to clean and sterilize your home. It's an affordable product available at all grocery stores and big box retailers – we recommend buying a big jug of it and storing it for cleaning uses around the home.
Mix one cup of white spirit vinegar in a bucket with two cups of warm water. Add it to a spray bottle and saturate the offending area on the carpet. Let the solution dry into the carpet. Your room might smell like vinegar for a day or so, but at least it removes the stinky feet smell. Use any leftover vinegar to clean your shower head while you're at it.
Essential Oils & Baking Soda
Supercharge the baking soda hack by adding essential oils into the mix to give it some fragrant appeal. We like using lemongrass essential oil but pick whichever oil is your favorite scent. The baking soda removes the stinky odors, and the essential oil replaces it with a pleasant fragrance.
However, please don't overdo it. Essential oils are powerful, and all it takes is a few drops. Half a bottle on the carpet will make the whole house smell like oil. Mix two cups of baking soda with 12 drops of essential oil of your choosing in a container.
You should get a slight paste texture from the combination. If you need more moisture to get the paste:
- Add a few drops of water until you achieve the right consistency.
- Follow the above process of working the paste into the carpet.
- Leave it overnight and vacuum it up in the morning. You'll notice the difference in just a few hours.
Don’t be surprised if it takes multiple passes of the vacuum to break up some of the dried paste and get it all gone. It will come up though.
Essential Oil, Baking Soda, & Borax
To increase the previous strategy's cleaning power, we recommend adding half a cup of borax to the paste. Use two cups of baking soda and twelve drops of essential oil of your choosing. Add water where necessary to get a good light paste going and work it into the carpet.
Leave it overnight and then vacuum it up in the morning. Borax is ideal for cleaning mold in carpets. It kills the spores and prevents them from spreading. Borax also eliminates any mites in the carpets that might add to the smell.
DIY Enzyme Cleaner
Odors in carpets might be stubborn and challenging to remove in some instances. This is usually the case in high-traffic areas of the home, like entrances and the lounge. Try mixing a DIY enzyme cleaner for these areas.
Take a container and add citrus peels from oranges and lemons. Add water, brown sugar, and half a cup of baking soda. Let the mixture disperse the natural enzymes from the fruit peels, and then drain it into a spray bottle. Spray the affected area and leave it to dry.
The only issue with this fix is that it takes around three months for the enzymes to leech from the peels, so it won't save you in the interim. It really does work well to break down the stinky chemicals, though. I wouldn't bother with that much of a wait, myself, though.
Protecting the Carpet From Stinky Feet Smells
If you have problems with a smelly carpet, try these methods to help eliminate the odor if you can't find the source. These can prevent the next scenario where your carpet smells like stinky feet.
Ventilate the Room
Airflow is the most important method for removing odors from any room with a stinky carpet. Open all the windows and doors and get as much air moving through the room as possible. You can turn on a ceiling or floor fan to help move air around the room and push smells outside.
Run a Dehumidifier
Sometimes, smells can occur if the room has too much humidity. Humidity provides the ideal environment for the spread of mold and mites. Buy a portable dehumidifier and run it for a few hours a day.
The dehumidifier draws moisture from the air, preventing the setting of unpleasant odors in the room. Some people say there's disadvantages to a dehumidifier if you run it all the time. You'll have to decide.
Clean All Spills ASAP
If you spill sauce or food on the carpet, clean it immediately. Leaving the sauce to penetrate the fibers and the underfelt of the rug makes it harder to remove. If you own pets and they pee on the carpet, clean the affected area, and use the baking soda or vinegar strategy we discussed earlier. Don't let the pet pee sit and dry in the carpet fibers and underfelt, or it gets very hard to remove.
Clean the Carpet Regularly
Regularly cleaning the carpet goes a long way to prevent the accumulation of particles, dirt, mites, and mold spores that cause carpets to smell. Vacuum regularly no matter what type of vacuum you have and have the carpets professionally cleaned once a year.
What Do I Do If the Feet Smell Won't Go Away?
If the stinky feet smell doesn't leave the room, you have no other choice but to hire a professional carpet cleaning service., They'll use machines and specialized cleaners to ensure they remove all lingering odors from the carpet.
Why Does My Carpet Smell Like Feet & Other FAQs
When your carpet smells like feet, there’s a lot of questions that immediately pop in your mind regarding how to solve it and why it happens. Let’s cover those now.
What's the Most Challenging Odor to Remove From a Carpet?
Pet odors and urine are challenging to remove from the carpet because the pee soaks the underfelt and dries, requiring deep cleaning. Cigarette smoke also penetrates carpet fibers and leaves a lasting smell in the room.
How Long Will it Take for My Carpet to Stop Smelling So Bad?
Some spills and pet urine penetrate the carpet fibers and underfelt, requiring you to call a professional carpet cleaning service. In most cases, you'll notice immediate results after cleaning, and all smells will dissipate two days after they finish the job.
How Long Does it Take to Deodorize a Carpet?
Carpet deodorizing powders and baking soda applications usually take an hour to make a difference. In most cases, leaving them overnight removes the odor. Apply the deodorizer to the carpet as soon as you notice the smell, don't leave it to set in the fibers and underlay.
Key Takeaways Regarding Carpets That Smell Like Feet
- If you have a stinky feet carpet, identify the area responsible for the source of the smell.
- In most cases, it's a spill or a pet making a mistake on the carpet, causing the odor.
- Use DIY home products like baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, and borax to eliminate the odor.
- Sometimes, you have no option but to call a professional carpet cleaner to clean the room and remove the odor.
That’s Why Your Carpet Smells Like Stinky Feet
Your carpet smells like stinky feet because it needs to be cleaned, obviously, but it may be because the underfelt or even the plywood beneath it has become soiled. You can clean these as well using the methods we’ve shared above. You’ll be free of your stinky carpet soon, hang in there and get the chore done!