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You walk in the room and immediately you turn your nose up. "Good grief what is that smell"! It could be that your pet decided to use your carpet as their personally potty or your kids spilled milk a few days ago and "forgot" to mention it. Whatever the case, you now have a smelly carpet.

Many carpet solutions now on the market have a lot of harmful and toxic chemicals in them. If you have kids or pets, you don’t want toxics near where they play. So how do you get rid of smells from your carpet? Keep reading to find the answer.

baking sodaCredit: http://www.istockphoto.comFirst up: Baking Soda

Baking soda is an oldie but goodie but it still works. I remember growing up wondering why we always had a box of baking soda in the refrigerator. Baking soda has natural odor eating properties and works great removing smells.

First, sprinkle your carpet generously with baking soda. Depending on the size of the carpet and the number of applications needed, you may need to get a larger box. Use a broom to distribute the baking soda into the carpet fibers. Let the baking soda sit on the carpet at least 24 hours, 48 if you have time.

Next, vacuum up all the excess baking soda from your carpet. If you notice that it still smells, sprinkle some more baking soda and try again for another 24 hours.

If you have a bag-less vacuum cleaner, be sure to empty out the cartridge between vacuuming. For vacuum cleaners with a bag, replace the bag when you're finished the first application to make sure none of the dust and dirt particles get redistributed to the carpet.

Generally baking soda will do the job on one application, however if it doesn’t work, try vinegar.

Vinegar - Doesn’t that smell?

Although vinegar has a strong smell when you first use it, it does eventually wear off and doesn’t leave a lingering smell.

If the area affected by the smell covers the entire carpet, add the vinegar to a spray bottle and use sweeping motions to cover the entire floor. When you're finished, open the window to let in fresh air to help clear the room of the smell faster.

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For smells that are in localized areas, such as pet stains, apply the vinegar directly to the smell and blot with a cloth. Don’t completely saturate the floor but use enough to seep into the carpet and padding. Let the vinegar sit for about 20 minutes and then use a clean cloth to continue blotting to soak up the excess liquid.

Final Straw - Steam cleaning

If baking soda and vinegar have not proved to be effective, try using a steam cleaning machine to remove the smell. Some household vacuums come with a steam cleaner. However if the above methods haven’t worked, it may be best to just rent a professional steamer.

At times the smell will be gone from the carpet but the real problem is the padding underneath. If that is the case, you will either have to continue using these cleaning methods or replace the carpet and padding.

To prevent future carpet smells, vacuum on a regular basis so that odors don’t sit and seep into the carpet. Also if you notice a stain that will eventually begin to smell, such as pet urine, immediately treat that area so that your pet does not recognize that scent and want to use that area again.

Through regular cleaning and maintenance you will be able to extend the life of your carpet and keep it smelling fresh for years to come.