What Causes Your Carpet To Smell Musty?

1 June 2016
 Categories: , Blog


A musty carpet smell can be a daunting problem for any homeowner. Knowing what caused the problem and how to get rid of the odor can help you take care of your home.

What causes your carpet to smell musty?

Musty carpet smell is caused by moisture. That moisture can come from any source, including a flood, leak, humidity, drainage trouble, or even water from a bathtub, toilet or sink (if the carpet is in the bathroom). Carpet that becomes wet then fails to dry properly can develop mold or mildew in the fibers, which can cause a smell of mustiness.

What can you do to get rid of the musty smell?

The best way to remove the odor is to clean off the mildew and keep the humidity in the room low, so the carpet can become dry and stay dry.

  • Run the air conditioning. Air conditioning lowers the humidity of your home. If it's too cold outside to run the air conditioner, try running a dehumidifier.
  • Use vinegar and baking soda. Spray the carpet with a mist of vinegar, then allow the carpet to dry. The vinegar will help kill the mold spores in fibers of the carpet. Next, sprinkle baking soda on the carpet. Leave the baking soda on the carpet to absorb the odors and moisture. Once the baking soda has been on the carpet overnight, then vacuum up the baking soda.
  • Clean the carpet. If the vinegar and baking soda don't work, have your carpet professionally cleaned. Talk to the carpet cleaner about the trouble you're having with the carpet. Explaining the issue will help the carpet cleaner to pick the appropriate cleaning product.

What can you do if the musty smell persists?

If the musty smell won't go away, the padding may be the source of the smell. In this case, pull up the carpet and lay it outside in the sun. Sprinkle it with vinegar, and then later baking soda as described above. While the carpet sits in the sun, tear out the carpet pad and throw it away. The carpet can be replaced in the room as soon as new pad has been purchased.

What can you do to prevent a musty smell in the future?

Drying your carpet quickly after a flood or a leak is key to preventing the musty smell from returning. When your carpet becomes wet, it can take only 72 hours to grow mold. The following tips will help you dry your carpet as quickly as possible:

  • Open the windows to your home and run a dehumidifier.
  • Use a wet vacuum to remove the excess water.
  • Turn on all fans and aim them at the carpet.

For more information about how you can protect your carpet from mold spores, talk to your carpet cleaning professional. He or she can give you tips and advice to help you preserve your home's carpet.

Contact a service like Conscientious Carpet Care to learn more.