How To Deodorize Smelly Carpet

Stinky carpet?  Get it dry.  Odor gone.  Problem solved.

With the exception of exotic molecular problems like curry and cigarette smoke, most carpet odors exist because of moisture. Somewhere, somehow, moisture is stirring up odors.

I hear it all the time.  Folks ask me, “Doctor Professor Your Holiness Ross, Esq., my carpet smells musty.  What gives?”

Well, think about it…  Why does anything smell musty?  Mustiness comes from moisture, correct?  Correct.

Or they’ll say, “Your Highness Most Honorable Ross, my dog peed on the carpet like five years ago.  On really humid days, I can still smell it.  What’s up with that?”

Moisture.  Again, moisture.  Humidity, after all, is just moisture in the air, correct?  Correct.

Trust me, nearly all odor problems come from moisture.

Sure, there are exceptions.  For instance, if you cook with strong spices like curry, molecules from those spices get stirred into the air during the cooking process.  They spread out and cling to surfaces all over your house.  Same thing happens with cigarette smoke.  Those pesky invisible molecules penetrate your furniture, clothes, walls, ceiling, HVAC system–you name it.

In those cases, even when there is no moisture, you’ll still be able to smell curry or cigarette smoke.  It’s a molecular problem, not a moisture problem.

However, based on my storied and illustrious career, I’d say about 95% of all carpet odor problems come from moisture.  Therefore, in order to make those odors go away, all we need to do is make the moisture go away.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “This Ross guy is a moron.  This apartment smelled like dog pee the day I moved in, and I don’t even have dogs.  Heck, the carpet isn’t even wet.  So how is moisture making this place smell so bad?  What’s this Ross guy talking about?”

Valid points, to be sure.  But I’m still right.  Obviously, the previous tenant let their dogs pee on the carpet, and now you’re stuck living on it.  And it will pose a problem for a long time.

You see, old pet pee takes a long time to dry–like, years and stuff.  It turns into a sticky, gooey, honey-like substance which contains trace amounts of moisture.  Eventually, pee decays into a dry salt-like material, but that can take months or years.

Until that happens, it’s just festering under your carpet in all its gooey glory while billions of revolting, odor-causing bacteria feast on it.

Cool, huh?

Then, after you’ve had the carpet cleaned (added moisture) or on really humid days (again, added moisture), you smell pee.

And it’s not just pee that causes this problem.  Let’s say last year you had a water leak in your basement.  You’re sure it was dried out long ago, but from time to time, the carpet smells musty in one corner. Why?

Because something in that corner is still wet.  It could be the pad or the wooden tack strip underneath the carpet.  It could be the baseboards, the drywall or even the studs or insulation inside the wall.  Whatever it is, something somewhere is wet.

Make sense?

And to exacerbate the problem, ambient humidity makes odors even more noticeable.  So the question is, how do you remove moisture so that odors disappear?

Sometimes it’s easy.  Pull up the carpet, stick a fan in the corner to dry the tack strip and pad, and call it a day.  Simply put everything back together when you’re done.

But sometimes it’s difficult.  Let’s say there’s a bunch of old pet pee underneath the carpet.  If you’re tired of smelling it, you have to remove it.  That semi-dry, gooey pee is creating the odor, and ambient humidity is making it worse.

Unfortunately, in order to remove the odor, you’ll have to remove the contamination that’s causing it.  I suppose you could wait on the pee to completely dry, but like I said earlier, that could take years.  And who wants to live on pee-soaked carpet?

So if your carpet has odors that you want to get rid of, you need to find the moisture.  I guarantee moisture is what’s causing the problem.  Whether it’s old syrupy pee or a slow leak from your refrigerators ice-maker, there’s some source of moisture causing the problem.

I’m gonna be honest with you, amigos.  It’s not always easy for the average Joe or Jane to find a moisture problem.  But that’s why I’m here.  I’ve got a van full of high-tech tools and probes to help me isolate and then destroy moisture and odor problems.  Seriously, I have tools you’ve never even heard of.

By all means, see if you can tackle your problem on your own.  But if you get stuck and you live in or around Indy, give the ol’ Rosster a call or text at 317-370-9075. If you prefer email, click here to send a message.

Just remember, the problem can always–ALWAYS–be traced back to moisture.

Trittipo out.

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