How To Get The Mildew Smell Out Of Carpet

It doesn’t matter if you are a new homeowner or are renting an old apartment.

You will likely need to deal with some mildew smells in your carpet at some point in your life.

Carpets can be such a great feature in any home, but unfortunately, if there is any water damage or large spills, it can be a hassle to clean.

Even after cleaning, there may be some lingering foreign substances that will cause your carpet and your home to smell. 

Follow the steps below to learn how to get the mildew smell out of carpet!

What You’ll Need

Step By Step Instructions For How To Get The Mildew Smell Out Of Carpet

1. Dry The Area That Has The Smell

If there has been a new accident, you will want to dry out the problem area.

You can use a box fan to help dry out the carpet in addition to turning on the fan in your HVAC system.

This will help to draw out moisture from the room. 

2. Vacuum The Affected Area

Next, you will want to vacuum up any of the debris in the area.

Starting fresh with a carpet clean of any dust or particles will help ensure you are getting a thorough cleaning of your carpet to remove the mildew smell. 

3. Mix Vinegar & Water To Create Solution

Mix one cup of white vinegar and two cups of water in a spray bottle.

Spray, but do not saturate the carpet.

Part of the problem of a mildew smell in the carpet is moisture in the carpet fibers, which do not add to the problem.

For the strongest pure white vinegar, try Calyptus 45% Pure Super Concentrated Vinegar.

It is 9x stronger than regular white distilled vinegar and will help with not only this cleaning job but the countless others that you run into.

4. Add Baking Soda To Affected Area

Sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and let it sit on top of the vinegar and water solution for at least two hours.

It is best to let it sit for as long as possible to do its work!

If you’ve run out and need to order more, click here.

5. Add Hydrogen Peroxide To Affected Area

If the smell still persists after the baking soda, vinegar, and water treatment, you can use hydrogen peroxide as well.

Mix one part hydrogen peroxide and five parts water.

Spray the solution over the carpet to remove the mold and odor. 

6. Apply Carpet Shampoo On Afected Area

If these solutions do not help with the smell and it is still hanging around in your house, you still have another option before paying for a professional to come in.

Using carpet shampoo, apply an amount equal to the area size and the recommendation given on the container.

A great option for carpet shampoo is Nature’s Miracle Deep-Cleaning Stain and Odor Remover.

Nature’s Miracle can be used alone or in a steam or carpet cleaner.

It’s phosphate-free and gets excellent reviews on Amazon.

Rub in the shampoo with a sponge and let it soak for around 20 minutes or however long your carpet shampoo recommends.

The carpet should be dry after this period of time.

Once the carpet dries, using the vacuum, vacuum up the carpet as well as the debris leftover from these treatments.  

7. Call Professional To Help

If that smell is just not going away, it is now time to call in the professionals.

Your local carpet cleaning professional should be able to remove the smell and the problem for you.

They will have more advanced tools and materials to extract any mold and mildew deep down in the carpet fibers.

Video Instructions

If you are still not 100% sure on how to get the mildew smell out of your carpet, follow this video tutorial to lend you some clarity:

Commonly Asked Questions

Will There Be A Bad Reaction If I Mix Baking Soda and Vinegar?

If you were mixing large amounts, you would have a mini volcano science experiment on your hands.

However, the amounts that these steps will require will not have that kind of result.

In addition, the vinegar will be diluted by the water you are adding to the solution. 

Adding vinegar and baking soda is a great combination to help remove any odor, as they are both natural odorizers!

How Can I Kill The Mildew In My Carpet?

Following these steps is essentially eliminating all of the mold and mildew that might be hiding in your carpet.

That combination of white vinegar and baking soda does not only deodorize the area from the smells of the mildew, but it can be very effective in killing some of the mold. 

These two are not the be-all and end all of removing mildew.

Some amounts and types of mold and mildew must be treated by other means. 

Does Humidity Affect My Chances Of Mildew Smell In My Carpet?

Unfortunately, yes!

If you have the good fortune to live in a location that has high humidity like me, you are going to be at a higher risk to have mildew smells in your carpet and other areas of your home.

Having humidity at 50% or higher will increase the chances of having mold due to the increased moisture in the air.

Sometimes even certain areas of your home may be more inclined to higher moisture levels, such as the bathroom or the basement. 

If you have high humidity in your home, you may need to consider getting a dehumidifier for your home. 

Do I Need To Use This Treatment Every Time There Is A Spill?

Not necessarily.

If you have a huge spill, you may need to use some of these methods mentioned above, but you should primarily focus on cleaning minor spills and stains as you see them.

The mildew smell mainly occurs when these spills, water damage, or something similar goes unnoticed and seeps down into the carpet fibers and padding beneath. 


I hope you have enjoyed learning how to get mildew smells out of carpet.

Clean carpet and rugs are such a pleasing experience when you are walking around in your house, but just because they may feel clean does not mean they are!

Sometimes mold and mildew are brewing under the surface and eventually will start causing mildew smells to waft up and affect the smells of the rest of your home.

Follow the steps above to have your carpet smelling fresh and clean year-round.