Carpets and rugs are like magnets for odors. They’re highly absorbent, which means anything (especially liquids) that is dropped on the carpet can get sucked into, and stuck, in the carpet. Over time this buildup of residue festers and generates bad odors. In addition to the odors from spills or urine, you also have the odors caused by the bacteria that feed off of those substances.
So, how do you remove these odors from your carpets and rugs? Here are three tips that’ll help.
Tip #1: Use a Black Light
Spotting where an odor is coming from in normal lighting can be very difficult. Unless there’s discoloration, the affected area of the carpet could look just like any other area. Even putting your nose to the ground and sniffing it out doesn’t work all that well, since the smell becomes diffused throughout the whole room over time.
So, how do you find the problem? The answer: use a black light.
A lot of organic matter glows in black light. For instance, pet urine will glow in black light. Many types of food will glow in black light. Various kinds of spills will also glow in the black light.
A handheld black light costs just a few dollars, but can save you a world of headaches. Using it is easy – just turn off all the lights, close the blinds, then turn on the black light. Spills and other odor causing agents will glow in the dark, so you know exactly where to clean.
Tip #2: Use the Right Type of Cleaner
Different types of spills warrant different types of treatment. For example, food spills and spilled liquids can often be removed simply with baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle the baking soda on the carpet, then pour a bit of vinegar. Let the carbon dioxide reaction push out the spilled liquid, then use a paper towel to wipe it up.
If the spill is old or has set in over time, you may need more extreme treatment. One good way to deep clean old spills is to rent a wet vacuum or extractor. The wet vacuum will soak hot water into the carpet, along with a cleaning solution, then pull the dirty water back out again. The cleaning solution on the wet carpet will evaporate after you’re finished.
Removing urine from pets or babies requires a different tact. Generally you’ll want to use an enzyme based solution. The enzyme will cause a biochemical reaction with the urine that’ll actually break down the urine compounds. This is far more effective than trying to wash it out with liquids, or trying to cover up the smell.
As you can tell, different kinds of substances warrant different kinds of treatments. Trying to use one cleaner to clean the wrong type of spill will not only be ineffective, it can actually make the situation worse. Using ineffective cleaning solution will just push the odorant further into the carpet, due to the weight of the liquid.
Tip #3: Test Small, Then Go Big
To start a carpet cleaning operation, first pick a small and inconspicuous area. Preferably use an area that can be hidden if something goes wrong. For instance, you could use an area behind the couch, or a flap that can be folded underneath the carpet.
Apply the carpet cleaner and make sure it doesn’t cause any damage. Check for discoloration, fraying or any other kind of damage to the carpet. Be sure to let it soak for a time before wiping it out.
Once you’ve proven that it won’t damage your carpet, apply the cleaner to just one small area of the area that you want to clean. For example, let’s say you have a few spots of cat urine that you need to get out. Start by testing on one small urine patch. Make sure it can get the smell out and that it doesn’t damage the carpet.
Once you’ve proven that the solution is safe and effective, then it’s time to go full force. When it comes to getting rid of odors, don’t take half measures. Clean everything. If you’re steam cleaning, make sure you clean every inch of carpet, including under the furniture. If you’re using an enzyme solution, make sure you get all the areas that your pet frequents – including the tops and legs of furniture.
Chances are, you’ll only do this kind of deep carpet cleaning every once in a while. That’s why it’s important that you do it right. Be thorough and leave no spill uncleaned. That way the odors will be completely removed, and you won’t have to go through the process again. That said, be sure to keep the cleaning supplies on hand, just in case of a future spill.
Author Bio – This guest post is written by James Andrews from UrineBeGone.com. If you’re on the lookout for a natural, cost efficient odor removal solution, don’t forget to check out UrineBeGone.com’s odor removal tool today.