Homemade Carpet Deodorizer and Odor Killer – 3 DIY Recipes

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Learn how to make three homemade carpet deodorizers that naturally freshen your flooring and eliminate odors so your entire home smells clean.

Overhead view of a vacuum attachment cleaning up homemade carpet deodorizer from blue rug

Why You Need a Homemade Carpet Deodorizer

As the largest surface in the room, your carpet can also be a large source of odors in your home. Frequent vacuuming helps, but sometimes you may need a little extra deodorizing. If you live in a humid or damp area, for example, your carpets may often smell musty. Having pets or smokers in your home can cause carpet odors, too.

What to Use to Deodorize Carpets?

If you’re interested in switching to natural, homemade cleaners, ditching store-bought carpet deodorizer is a good start. It’s a crucial change if you have pets, kids, or sensitivities to things like synthetic air fresheners and other strong chemicals. Fortunately, you may already have some if not all of the ingredients you need to deodorize your carpets naturally. For specific recipes, see the three further down.

Baking soda (bicarbonate): This natural ingredient serves as a leavening agent in cooking. Around your home, it’s a fantastic deodorizer. It’s safe for use with most HEPA vacuums, but check your manual. And if you have a robot vacuum cleaner use the carpet deodorizing spray instead.

Diatomaceous earth. This substance is the result of crumbling sedimentary rocks containing fossilized algae. This all-natural, non-toxic powder controls pests in the home and garden. In the DIY carpet deodorizer recipe below, it helps kill dust mites, too.

Vinegar. The acetic acid in white distilled vinegar helps destroy odor-causing bacteria. It also helps dissolve the bonds between greasy dirt and your carpet. In a homemade carpet deodorizer, it allows your vacuum to remove more odor-causing dirt.

Table salt. Although not a deodorizing ingredient, salt helps dissolve dirt and kill dust mites. Used as follows, it also brightens fabrics and helps restore your carpet’s fluff.

Essential oils. In these carpet deodorizing recipes, the optional essential oils are for fragrance. Some essential oils can serve other helpful household purposes, too. For example, Tea tree oil helps kill bacteria and odors. Peppermint essential oil is an excellent ant, spider, and mouse repellent. But if you have furbabies, stick with essential oils safe for cleaning around pets.

Homemade Carpet Deodorizer Recipes

You don’t need anything fancy to make these homemade carpet deodorizers. For the powders, use a glass or Mason jar and lid with holes punched into it. Or, if you have an old parmesan cheese shaker handy, that works, too. Any clean and empty spray bottle is fine for the carpet deodorizing spray.

Homemade Carpet Deodorizer Recipe # 1

2 cups baking soda (bicarbonate)
10-20 drops essential oils, optional

Alternate adding baking soda and essential oils to your shaker jar. Use a rolled piece of paper or plastic funnel if needed. Stop adding when you’ve got about 1 inch of space at the top of the powder. Put on the lid and shake well. Apply to your carpet, wait at least 5 minutes, and vacuum.

Homemade Carpet Freshener Recipe # 2

This carpet deodorizing powder kills dust mites and helps control fleas, carpet beetles, and cockroaches. Brush it into your carpet fibers and leave it overnight for the greatest effect, but no longer than that.

1 cup baking soda (bicarbonate)
1 cup diatomaceous earth
10-20 drops essential oils, optional

Add half of each ingredient to your shaker jar and combine. Repeat with the remaining half. Sprinkle this powder on carpeting lightly for odor elimination. To kill dust mites, fleas, and other insects, brush it into your carpet fibers and let it sit overnight if possible, then vacuum.

Homemade Carpet Deodorizer Recipe # 3

This DIY carpet freshener spray eliminates odors and brightens your rug. Avoid getting it on silk, leather, or other surfaces that should not get wet. The vinegar smell will fade as the spray dries, but you can use the optional essential oils to cover it if you like.

1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons table salt
10-20 drops essential oils, optional

Combine the ingredients in a clean spray bottle, swirling until the salt dissolves. Mist your carpets but do not saturate them, and take care not to spray anything that should not get wet. Let the carpet deodorizing spray air dry, then immediately vacuum.

How to Use DIY Carpet Fresheners

General Use

Once a week, sprinkle your preferred homemade carpet deodorizing powder on your rug. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes and up to one hour before you vacuum. (If you have pets or small children, keep them out of the room until you have vacuumed.) You don’t need to use so much that you can’t see the carpet — shake it on as if you were salting food. One batch is enough for six average-sized rooms.

Greasy High-Traffic Areas

Dark paths in the center of your room are due to greasy soil. A homemade carpet deodorizer can help your vacuum do a better job removing this dirt. Sprinkle it on well and work it in lightly with a scrub brush or broom. Wait an hour or even overnight, then vacuum the area slowly in one direction. Turn at a right angle and repeat vacuuming.

Pet Urine and Other Pet Odors

If your pet has had a housetraining accident, follow the steps to remove pet stains. Then, sprinkle the area with homemade carpet deodorizer powder to end lingering pet odors. Work it in gently with a broom or scrub brush and let the powder sit in place for 15-30 minutes. Vacuum well.

Sofas and Upholstery

Use a DIY deodorizing powder to keep upholstery fresh when you don’t have time to deep-clean your sofa. Sprinkle it on your upholstery, then wait 5 minutes and vacuum. If your sofa is not leather or silk, you can use the homemade carpet deodorizing spray on it, too.

Smelly Cars

Freshen your car by sprinkling your seats and floor with a homemade carpet deodorizer. The spray is safe for your car’s carpets and fabric upholstery, but do not use it on leather. This is a great way to finish a day spent cleaning your car’s interior.

Tips to Keep Carpets Smelling Fresh

Other steps can stop carpet odors besides using these homemade carpet deodorizers recipes. Try these tips to keep your carpet smelling fresh.

Avoid eating or drinking in carpeted areas. Look for washable area rugs if you snack in front of the TV or like a rug under your dining table.

Make a “no-shoes” rule in your home. Most household dirt gets tracked in on the bottom of our shoes. By removing shoes at the door, you keep that mess out. When there’s less dirt on your carpets, they’ll smell fresher, too.

Vacuum your carpet often. In most homes, that means wall-to-wall at least once a week and high-traffic areas up to once a day. Make sure you’re vacuuming the right way, too.

Steam clean or shampoo your carpets at least once a year. If you have pets, small children, or severe allergies, you may want to do it more often. Follow these steps to steam clean carpeting using natural products that remove odors and stains.

Keep your indoor air clean. Make a point to open windows and air out your home when the weather permits. Your carpets will smell fresher when your home’s air is fresh, too.

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  1. I tried the baking soda and essential oils but as soon as I mixed in the essential oils it now comes out in clumpy tiny balls. Is there a way to prevent that to mix the liquid and dry ingredients so they mix completely without clumps?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Courtney! I’m not sure why you had that problem. I wasn’t able to replicate it — the oils mix in for me as you can see in the quick video I just made for you. (I didn’t layer, since I was in a hurry.) Make sure you’re using a container with at least a couple of inches of space so things move around when you’re shaking, then really shake it vigorously.