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How to Get Smell Out of a Rug and Replace It With a Delightful Aroma

Area Rugs refresh our homes with their eye-catching colors and abstract patterns. These incredible works of art can magically keep their value and restore their original look regardless of damages and defects. The natural silk and woolen fibers of area rugs have a very satisfying aroma as well. But some factors such as pet stains cause a bad rug smell. In this blog, I’ll give you practical hacks to remove that bad rug smell and replace it with a delightful scent! 

How to Deal With the Rug Smell?

Prevention is better than the cure, so try to root out the source of the rug smell! Pet urine stain, moisture, and food spill are mainly to blame for the rug smell. So keep them as far as possible from your rugs to keep your valuable rug healthy and aromatic.

What Causes the Rug Smell?

Pet Stain & Odor

Puppies and kitties are the cute furry angels in our homes. But these loyal friends might not be quite friendly with your area rugs as well. Newly adopted dogs and cats usually urinate over the area rugs, which is a big challenge for responsible pet parents. If you notice the pet urine accident right after it happens, you can remove it with simple in-home solutions quickly and perfectly.

But if the urine stain has sat for a long while and dried in the area rug’s foundation, it’d be best if you ask a professional rug pet stain removal company to remove it. That’s the best way to restore your valuable rug to its original beauty.

The natural fibers of the rug absorb the urine. In addition to the unpleasant smell, the unbalanced pH level of the urine damages the fibers. It also causes them to burn over a long period of time.

The urine comes with thousands of bacteria and destructive microorganisms that feed on the rug fibers and leave a horrible odor.

Moreover, the urine drops crystallize in the rug’s depth and spread a much worse stink each time they’re exposed to moisture because the bacteria grow more and more by the exposure to water.

Some young and untrained dogs feel too comfortable on the rug and poop on it, which does not really need much explanation about its unbearable stink.

The pet fecal stain not only causes a terrible rug smell but also ruins the rug’s look by leaving a brown mark on the stained area.

The fecal and urine stains do not only come from the pets, as young babies also damage the rug this way.

Water and moisture

Water is the essence of life, they say. But that also applies to mold, mildew, and many more wicked microorganisms that feed on the fibers of your elegant rugs and carpets and leave a terrible musty smell after each feast. Floods, leaking pipes, flower vases, food spills, and a generally humid environment bring excess moisture to the rug. The dampness completes the perfect habitat for the mold and mildew as they already were in a dark and safe place full of yummy fibers. Kitchen rugs and the rugs placed next to the windows or the basement in a humid climate are so vulnerable to water damage. To tackle the aftermath of such water-related incidents and safeguard your rugs, consider professional water damage repair services to restore their beauty and prevent mold and mildew growth.


This one is not a common problem, but for those who buy hand-tufted rugs, the smell of the latex is quite annoying. The latex is used to secure the hand-tufted rug’s back.

 Sometimes the latex has poor quality and smells bad. At-home methods rarely remove this bad rug smell, so be cautious while buying a hand-tufted rug and make sure it does not smell bad in the first place. However, a little bit of the new rug smell is quite normal and will be removed as time passing by. 


Rug fibers are so delicate and might break down over time because of bug damages or any of the factors mentioned above. 

This chemical breakdown sometimes releases an awful smell to the house that you probably hadn’t expected from that charming antique rug.


How to Remove the Bad Smell From Rugs and Add a Delightful Fragrance to Them

Now we know what causes the rug to smell bad, so it’s time to attack and eliminate them from the source. 

Your best warriors in this battle are baking soda, borax, and club soda. You could also be creative and accompany some aromatic herbs and oils with them to replace that bad smell with a pleasant scent.

 In the following, we’ll introduce the home remedies to get rid of that bad smell in your rug.

Baking Soda

Old but gold, baking soda is the remedy for a variety of home incidents. It’s odorless, affordable and available at any supermarket. 

If you’re annoyed by the bad smell coming from your precious rugs, generously pour baking soda all over them. After that, use your finger or a brush to push it through the rug fibers. 

Then, leave the soda for at least 6 hours and let it do the magic. After that, vacuum the rug thoroughly to take out the baking soda. You could repeat this process if the first try didn’t get you rid of the smell completely.


Borax, also known as sodium borate, is the toughest attacker to the rug smell.

 If the odor is too strong and you couldn’t remove the smell from the rug with the process mentioned above, mix equal parts of borax and baking soda and pour it evenly into the rug.

 Let it sit as long as it can, and then vacuum the rug thoroughly to take all the powder particles out.


it’s the best natural-based detergent for those dealing with allergies. Vinegar has powerful acids to break down the in-depth bacteria and proteins that release the bad smell. This solution is especially perfect to get mildew smell out of rug.

Fill a spray bottle with one-half cup of vinegar for each gallon of lukewarm water, then your rug deodorizer gun is ready!

Grab the gun (actually the water and vinegar bottle) and have no mercy on the mold, mildew, and urine crystals in the area rug. 

Spray the rug entirely and then let it sit for a while until the solution is dried and vinegar acids have dissolved those wicked smelling particles. 

After that, grab a clean damp cloth and rub the rug carefully to absorb the dried vinegar because its pH level is destructive to the rug if you leave it that way.

Carbonated water

You could also go further on empowering your anti-odor solution and use carbonated water (also known as club soda and sparkling water). 

Carbonated water has been famous for its outstanding performance at removing stains, but it doesn’t stop there as it is also a great deodorizer as well.

 You could pour it on the rug or use it instead of the regular water in the vinegar solution we discussed above. 

And don’t forget to blot the rug gently and thoroughly to absorb the moisture after the deodorizing process is done.

Some Aromatic Tips for Your Smelly Area Rugs!

You could aim further than just getting rid of the annoying rug smell and bring a delightful scent to your charming rug with just a few simple tips.

Essential Oils:

Here is where you can go creative and mix your favorite essential oil with baking soda or borax before pouring it on the carpet. 

Eucalyptus, rose, lavender, tea tree, lime, or grapefruit; you have a wide variety of options to choose from. 

But you should not overuse the essential oils as it will make the rug fibers greasy. Three or four drops of the oil are enough to bring a smile to your face each time you take a deep breath.

Spices and dried herbs

You can accompany the deodorizing baking soda powder with a variety of dried spices and herbs to add a pleasing scent to your rugs. 

Just simply mix the powders together before covering the rug with them.


Ask a Rug Expert to Help You Remove the Rug Smell

Sometimes getting rid of the rug smell is more challenging than what we think, and at-home methods fail to remove them completely. 

The reason might be the huge amount of the smelling factor. For example, when a rug has been entirely affected by dog urine.

Furthermore, when the smelling factor has been set for a long while, it will be much more difficult to get it out of the rug, sometimes impossible with home remedies.

If you have failed to get rid of the rug smell with at-home methods, it doesn’t mean your rug is over. In such cases, ask help from a rug expert company to save your rug from that awful stink.

Khazai Rug Cleaning has been at the forefront of helping Kentucky and southern Indiana residents with their rug issues, including the bad rug smell.

Our fifth-generation knowledge and expertise have helped us develop a variety of %100 green, pet-safe, and allergen-free rug cleaning solutions to deodorize area rugs and give them a pleasing fresh scent.

If you are having trouble with that bad smell coming from your area rug, just give us a call right now and order top-quality Pet Stain & Odor Removal in Louisville, KY.

Picture of Author: David Khazai
Author: David Khazai

David Khazai is a 5th-generation rug proficient and certified rug appraiser. As an omniscient author, he explores components and symbolism, making him an exceptional expert in the rug cleaning & repair industry

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