How To Use Baking Soda to Clean Carpet (in 2 Simple Methods)

Before anything else, let’s agree on one thing:

The weird carpet smell caused by pet odor, excessive foot traffic or spilled food SUCKS.

While almost all of us know how to fight carpet stains, only a few know how to deodorize our carpets with baking soda. In case you don’t know this method, prepare your nostrils to be bugged by a nasty smell 24*7.

Want to save your nostrils from this agony? This article might help.

Without using any expensive carpet cleaning machines, baking soda – vinegar solution will revitalize your carpet. Also, since we aren’t using any highly concentrated chemicals, the effect on the environment will be minimal.

Consequently, both these methods will save both your pocket as well as the environment from any burden.

What to do before starting?

Vacuum your carpet

Believe me, a mixture of baking soda and dirt will only aggravate your problems. So it is best that you remove the former before starting. To do this, thoroughly vacuum your carpet before using any of the below mentioned methods.

Also, if you have shoes on, make sure their bottom is clean of any oil or dirt. Otherwise, you’d have to go through the whole process again.

Cordon Off the Area

After you have vacuumed the carpet, turn it into a NO-GO area for your family members.

Ask them to support you, and the best way then can do the same is by not walking over the carpet while you are cleaning it with baking soda. Also, if the carpet is wet for whatever reason, best dry it before the baking soda treatment.

Mix the baking soda in a mixer

Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda has a very high viscosity. Put simply, means that if kept still for too long, it might get clumpy. 

Once it gets clumpy, you won’t be able to distribute it evenly over the carpet, meaning your whole effort will go in vain. To prevent this from happening, thoroughly shake it in a mixer before applying.

Make sure it is fresh

Unlike other cleaners available in the market, baking soda doesn’t overlap or masks the odors. Rather, to neutralize them completely, it absorbs them.

This absorbing capability of baking soda goes down with age. That is, the older the baking soda you are using, the fewer smells it will absorb. Hence, make sure you have a fresh supply at hand.

Check the Padding

In some homes, padding is added underneath the carpet to make it extra smooth. While it won’t get dirty, the padding might get misty after excessive spills.

So, before you apply these methods, make sure the padding is dry. Don’t worry, drying the padding doesn’t mean that you might have to put it under the sun. Rather, improving the ventilation of the room will do the trick.

Things You Need to Have

Apart from the vacuum cleaner, you may need to have a sponge to scrub the baking soda into the carpet. However, if your carpet is new, scrubbing it might destroy its texture.

In this case, you can use either an Old T-shirt or a pair of socks. Finally, despite the fact it has a pH of 9 – which makes it a weak alkaline, you might want to have gloves on while applying baking soda treatment to your carpet.

 If your carpe t has become smelly, you’ve no other way but to eliminate the root of the odor. And to do this, no method is more convenient and most effective than the baking soda treatment.  

Method 1: For Dealing With Weak Smells

Depending on how old your carpet is – and how much you look after it, your nostrils might encounter two types of smells: Weak and Strong. Since this is a complete guide, we decided to include methods to fight both the smells.

That said, this method will only deal with weak smells, with the next one going after strong smells. If you aren’t sure about the type of smell, you can use the next method just to be doubly careful.


1/ Vacuum your carpet

As stated above, the first step involves vacuuming the carpet. If your carpet is extra dirty, this step might take the most time in the whole method.

Also, whether they are big or small, don’t overlook any dirt or fibers, for doing so might jeopardize the whole process.

2/ Go One Section at a time

If your carpet is too big – or has excessive foot traffic, treat one section at a time. In this way, you won’t be disturbing others while also going on with your mission.

Once you have vacuumed one part, make sure no one goes over it. Otherwise, you might have to clean it over again.

3/ Generously sprinkle baking soda

Here’s wh at you need to do: spray as much soda over the carpet which makes it difficult for a stranger to tell its original color. Yes, it might cost you some extra dollars, but you’ll get a revitalized carpet in return. Hardly a bad deal, isn’t it?

4/ Scrub the soda into the carpet

Depending on the condition of your carpet, you may use a sponge or an old T-shirt. Whatever you use for scrubbing, make sure it is completely dry. For, you want the baking soda to reach into the deep layers of the carpet.

The importance of this statement increases if your carpet is long and shaggy, which means you can’t afford to leave any of its part unattended.

5/ Leave the baking soda on the carpet for several hours

I usually recommend staying off the carpet for as long as possible after the baking soda treatment. Why? Well, the longer its residence time, the more smells it will absorb.

If you can afford to, give the baking soda 24hours to ensure complete removal of all smells. During this time, it’s imperative nobody crosses over the carpet. Not only might it jeopardize the whole process, but it might also track the soda through the house.

6/ Recheck

Even if you were extremely careful during the baking soda treatment, some parts might still have left unattended. This is especially true if the carpet is big and long. Hence, recheck and if you see some empty parts, fill them in with baking soda.

7/ Vacuum up the soda

If the baking soda hadn’t got wet, this process should take only a few minutes. Even if it doesn’t, be patient as the success of the whole method hinges on this step. Go through each part of the carpet several times to pick up the soda.

Method 2: For Dealing With Strong Smells

If your carpet is old, hasn’t been maintained of late or has greasy stains, it might give off a strong odor.

That shouldn’t suggest, however, that new carpets cannot give off strong odors. The best way to determine which of the two methods your carpet needs is to give it a sniff once you have given it the first baking soda treatment.

Provided the odor still exists, use this method.


1/ Add Shampoo

If your carpet is extremely dirty, clean it with shampoo after vacuum cleaning. You are doing this to prepare it for the upcoming baking soda treatment. In this way, you’re making sure that the treatment’s efficacy will increase.

2/ Use Vinegar

Some smells are so problematic that even shampoos fade in front of them. For such carpets, use a mixture of half water – half vinegar before the baking soda treatment.

3/ Dry the carpet

After applying the vinegar-water solution to the carpet, aerate it. Make sure it is completely dry before the application of baking soda.

4/ Add scent to the baking soda

If the smell isn’t a goner by now, you might need to add some scents to the baking soda. These scents include lavender, cedar, eucalyptus or lemongrass. Five to ten drops of any of such scented oils are normally enough to deodorize the carpet.

5/ Repeat the process from Method. 1

Since you might already have vacuumed the carpet, start following the first method from the second step.

6/ Repeat the process intermittently

How repeatedly you might have to deodorize the carpet using these methods depends on many factors. They include the frequency of foot traffic, fo od spills, how many pets you have etc.


 If you follow any of the abovementioned methods with full earnest, a fully revitalized carpet is underway.

However, as you might guess, you cannot repeat these methods every few days.

What you can do, instead, is to follow some tips to make sure your carpet remains revitalized even without incessant treatments.

Here are some of those tips:

  • Vacuum your carpet regularly to decrease the likelihood of false smells
  • If possible, don’t walk with shoes on your carpet.
  • Never vacuum a wet carpet with your regular vacuum cleaner. Use a streamer for this purpose
  • If the carpet is large, use a sponge mop to save you effort and time


Check our list of best carpet cleaners.

What’s more, in addition to saving you money – which you might have otherwise spent on costly carpet cleaning machines, the baking soda methods will also save you effort and time.

What more can you ask?

Angel Lane: