Damp Carpet Smell

Even though it might not be wet, sometimes your carpet can smell quite damp and musty. This smell might come from a possibly unsafe source that you need to locate and take action against. In this way, you will stop the consequences from affecting you and your family. Ensure you understand the severity of mold growth on your carpets and take the needed steps to prevent it from further happening.

The easiest way to stop the carpet from smelling damp is to sprinkle the effective baking soda on your damp carpets and let it sit for some time before you vacuum it all up. Besides this, you may use many other “do it yourself” solutions that will be thoroughly explained in the following paragraphs. Hopefully, some of them will help you stop your wet carpet smell and remove the carpet’s damp smell.

Why Does Your Carpet Smell Damp?

Same as with any other problem, fixing a musty carpet starts with understanding why it smells damp. The leading cause for damp-smelling is mold. Having high levels of moisture caused by increased relative humidity on a hot day result in mold and mildew growth. The relative humidity is relative to temperature, so there is a higher chance of mold growth in hot weather than in cool weather.

Occasionally, carpets are the culprits of musty indoor smells because of the large surface area they cover. Mold is usually tough to spot, especially on wool carpets. Of course, this is why they may sometimes go unnoticed for an extended time. However, it’s essential to tackle a mold problem as soon as you realize it. Consider getting rid of mold and preventing it from growing on your carpet in the future by following the helpful tips mentioned below.

What Is Mold And How It Can Affect You?

Putting it simply, mold is a variety of fungus that lives on moisture and multiplies through spores in the atmosphere. Of course, the small amounts of mold that we are exposed to every day are harmless to us. Still, when they settle on damp areas in the house, such as the carpet, they manage to multiply quickly and become a problem for the house’s inhabitants.

damp carpet smell mold

The spores released by the mold could make sensitive individuals, especially those with asthma and allergies. They can get sick if they inhale a lot of it. Mold exposure can result in allergic reactions, including sneezing, skin rashes, asthma attack, or even worse, shortness of breath. Make sure you take care of yourself and your family by practicing the suggested mold-removal and prevention advice. 

How to Remove Damp Carpet Smell?

There are multiple ways to get rid of mold and eliminate this musty smell from your carpets. Take a look at the list given below and decide which solution fits best to your damp-smelling problems.

Before using any mold and damp smell removal product, you must first prepare the carpet. In order to effectively clean the carpet from the smell of mold and dampness, follow these preparation steps:

  • pre-dry the stain;
  • go carefully with a brush on both sides to remove as much mold as possible;
  • vacuum the product thoroughly, removing spores, dust, and debris;
  • prepare the floor under the carpet and dry it well;
  • eliminate the cause of mold formation so that the stains don’t repeat.

Ultraviolet & Ozone

Ultraviolet and ozone are some of the best effective methods that can be used against mold and mildew. At the initial stage, such drying allows you to get rid of the spores. It is necessary to use an ultraviolet lamp, directing the radiation for half an hour to each side affected by the fungus. The ozonizer should be used in conjunction with a fan so that ozone is directed straight to the product.

Baking soda + vacuum

Baking soda is one of the best carpet cleaning methods and wet carpet smell removal solutions. Remember to sprinkle a handful of the fine powder on your carpet and let it sit there for some time before you vacuum the spot to absorb moisture and the unpleasant damp smell. As an alternative, you can use a mixture of baking soda and your favorite essential oils or herbs to replace the bad smell with a pleasant and fresher aroma. 

A vinegar-based solution

Another straightforward fix for the damp smell in the carpet is spraying a vinegar-based solution lightly onto your carpet. Usually, this solution consists of half a cup of white vinegar mixed with two cups of water. You may even try to add a few teaspoons of baking soda to the solution to make it more effective. Putting it simply, the vinegar’s acidic quality gives it antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which help kill mold and mildew while replacing the wet carpet smell with a fresh and invigorating scent.

The effect from the vinegar cleaning will be visible within an hour, after which you should wash it off with running water. Despite the good effect, vinegar does not kill all the harmful organisms and can damage some types of fabric. We recommend making a test on a small less visible area first.

Steam cleaning

If you’re not quite familiar with them, steam cleaners can also be effective and help in the removal of the damp smell from carpets. These machines are also helpful in removing mold and mildew and reducing the smell aroused by them. If you’re not sure where to start, you can either rent a good steam cleaner or even buy one to clean your carpets with. Since steam cleaners use water to deep clean, it’s essential that you dry out the carpets as soon as cleaning is done. This is done to prevent further growth of mold. After finishing, leave the windows open and turn on your fans.

Hydrogen peroxide

If the damp smell is powerful and persists, you can use a 1 to 5 mixture of hydrogen peroxide, but also water to remove mold spores and get rid of the wet carpet smell. Another way of using the aforementioned hydrogen peroxide is to create a “do it yourself” carpet shampoo. Consider making a mixture of at least 4 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with one or more tablespoons of mild dye-free soap and add this to 1.5 liters of water. You effectively can use this in a home carpet cleaning machine.

Lather it on

When everything else fails, you can rely on a classic carpet cleaning shampoo, as they have a way of getting rid of unpleasant odors from your carpet. If you’re not sure how they work, carpet shampoos have deodorizing properties and other strong chemicals that can kill mold and mildew. Choose a suitable surfactant that targets mold and follow the instructions on the label carefully for optimal results. Still, make sure you remove all residue well, as leaving shampoo and water on can further lead to odors.

Classic anti-mold treatment

Just by looking up online, you can see that there are many anti-mold and anti-fungal products in the market nowadays that you can specifically use to remove damp smell from carpet. This specifically target and attack mold, designed to help you prevent any type of mold growth in the near future. There is also an alternative solution to spray a mixture of color-safe bleach and water on the surface of your mold-ridden, damp-smelling carpet.

Chlorine dioxide

Since many anti-damp products are based on chlorine dioxide, it might be a good idea to treat damp-smelling carpets with chemical products. Choose a chlorine dioxide-based product from any home improvement store and follow the instructions given on its label.

Cut it out

If the mold damage has gone to a somewhat irreparable extent, it might be a good idea to remove that area of the carpeting entirely and replace it with a leftover piece. You can use a sharp utility knife to cut out a shape around the mold and leave some extra space at the boundary.

Cut the same shape out from the remaining carpet from the time of installation or a piece of carpet from an unseen area behind a piece of furniture, or you can just replace the part that was cut with an entirely new piece that you can buy at a carpet store. 

Professional carpet cleaning

Home solutions might not always completely cope with the problem of mold and dampness. Quite often, only professional techniques and tools can cope with this problem.

The last option you may try is to go to a professional carpet cleaning service where specialists in this field can handle your mold problems with ease. Of course, the professionals at these companies know how to treat your carpets and address them with the ultimate care and attention.

The years of experience in the industry will help them decide the exact treatment your carpet needs for its specific problems. They will use their latest machines, methods, and the most effective products to provide you with a deep, long-lasting, and free of damp smell carpet.


With all these practices mentioned here to help you remove the damp smell from the carpet and prevent it from growing, we hope you can eliminate the wet carpet smell for good. Putting it simply, the musty smell of your carpets is just more than a bad smell, and it comes from mold that could give you health problems. 

This is why it’s essential that you understand the source of this damp smell and take action to eradicate it and prevent it from showing up in the future. It’s a step towards healthy living and clean breathing that you and your family deserve. Enjoy your damp-smell-free carpet!

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