When you first get your brand-new carpet, you’ll notice the beautiful color or the soft, plushy texture right away. You may also realize that the room has an unpleasant odor from the carpet fibers, adhesive and padding.
Luckily, those new carpet smells aren’t here to stay forever. Just a few simple steps can help you quickly vent odors and ensure your carpet looks and smells great.
Use this guide to learn how to get new carpet smell out of your bedroom, living room or family room to enjoy this newly renovated part of your house.
Why Does New Carpet Smell?
Manufacturers create a carpet with several chemical ingredients that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Even though the smell may bother some people with medical conditions — such as those with asthma and respiratory illnesses — most people only consider it annoying. If you have asthma or other medical conditions, VOCs can sometimes make you nauseous or dizzy and irritate your throat, eyes and nose.
The off-gassing process could take anywhere from a day up to a few weeks after the flooring specialist installed your carpet, depending on the room’s temperature and ventilation. Warmer temperatures and adequate airflow could get rid of the smell quicker.
The following components of your carpeting have VOCs in them:
1. Carpet Fibers
The carpet’s release of VOCs is called carpet off-gassing. Even though these compounds can be dangerous, your flooring doesn’t produce enough to harm you. The Carpet and Rug Institute says that carpeting is one of the lowest emitters of VOCs in your house. If you haven’t had it installed yet, ask your flooring specialist about low-VOC or VOC-free carpet materials.
Natural carpets like wool are an excellent choice, as manufacturers use fewer chemicals to make them. Wool is a renewable resource and can introduce fewer VOCs in your home. It’s also a fireproof natural dehumidifier due to its absorbing qualities, which may help relieve symptoms of allergies and other respiratory conditions.
2. Glue Under Your Carpet
Besides the carpet fibers, the adhesives that glue the carpet to the floor also contain VOCs, further contributing to the smell. This glue that specialists use to install carpeting has higher VOC levels than the carpet itself. Ask your floor installer about using a different method, like nailing it to the subfloors.
Installers can use carpet tacks to hold the carpet in place on your floor, so you won’t have to nail it directly to the floor. This method of installation requires no adhesive or glue to keep the carpet down and the VOCs out of your home.
3. Foam Padding
The foam under the carpeting can also produce a smell, especially right after the specialist installs it. If you haven’t installed your carpet yet, you can ask your flooring specialist if they offer padding with low-VOC or VOC-free materials.
For example, recycled felt and natural rubber padding can often be used under synthetic carpets. These sustainable materials are low-VOC, so they won’t release harmful toxins and smells into the air.
4. Other Parts of a New Construction Home
Carpeting fibers tend to absorb the odors and allergens in the air, including in a new construction home. If you’re building your new house or taking on a full-home renovation, try to lay down the carpet last. As you’re using paint and other materials with VOCs, the carpeting can absorb all these materials and produce an even more potent smell.
VOC levels can be more elevated immediately after finishing construction, though they’ll reduce gradually during the off-gassing process.
10 Ways to Get Rid of New Carpet Smell
If you’ve just installed your carpeting, the odor might be strong and irritating, but it won’t last forever. There are several methods of removing odors from new carpets, from ventilation to steaming to filtering.
Here’s how to get new carpet smell out of your living space quickly:
1. Ventilate the Carpet
Open the windows and put on a fan or air conditioner to get rid of the smell after you first get your carpet. The manufacturer can advise how long you should keep the room ventilated, but most recommend having a proper airflow for at least a few days. During and after installation, increase airflow into your rooms by turning on several fans, opening windows and pushing the fumes outside.
2. Vacuum Every Other Day
If there are any odors left hanging around the room, you could try running the vacuum over your carpet. Besides getting rid of the smell and chemical compounds, vacuuming can loosen up fuzz and dust particles. It can also grab leftover debris and make your new carpet look even nicer.
Try vacuuming your carpet every other day to eliminate the odors in your carpet, even if it doesn’t look dirty.
3. Sprinkle Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural compound and is effective at deodorizing and reducing unwanted odors. Try putting a little baking soda on your carpet if the smell still lingers after vacuuming.
Let the powder sit for a full day, and then rerun the vacuum. It should absorb most of the fumes from your carpet fibers, but you can repeat the process several times if you still notice the smell.
4. Use a Steam Cleaner
For exceptionally stubborn odors, steam clean the carpet to rinse away the chemical residue stuck in the fibers. Steaming your new carpet with a vinegar solution can especially tackle tough odors. You could either rent a basic steam cleaner from a local home improvement store or have your flooring professionally cleaned to get rid of new carpet smells.
5. Clean the Air With a Portable Filter
To get rid of the new carpet smell in the air, invest in a portable air purifier. Choose a product with an activated carbon filter that can trap gaseous air contaminants, such as VOCs. You could also install a filter attachment in your central air conditioning system. Using these products and running your air conditioning can vent the new carpet even faster.
6. Have a Plant in the Room
Plants are eco-friendly, cost-effective decorations you could use to eliminate new carpet smells. Particular vegetation, such as pothos, aloe vera, bamboo palm or peace lily, can eliminate VOCs in the room. These houseplants can also produce oxygen that enhances the air quality of your living space. Move a large potted plant into the room to eliminate new carpet smells, forcing them out through opened doors or windows.
7. Absorb the Odor With Vinegar
If you’re looking for an all-natural method, you could place vinegar in various small bowls around the room on sturdy furniture pieces. It’s best if you can leave them in the room overnight so the vinegar can absorb the odors from your carpeting. Be careful not to spill the acidic vinegar on the carpet fibers because they could hold onto the substance’s smell.
8. Place Onions Around the Room
Cut a few large onions in half and place them in small bowls around the room with a small amount of water. The onions can help quickly reduce odors to get rid of new carpet smells. Leave them out overnight if you can so the onions can absorb the smell and speed up the off-gassing process. Make sure these food items are not within reach of children or pets.
9. Use Apples to Freshen the Air
If you don’t have vinegar or onions in the house, you might have a couple of apples you could use. Cut them in half and put them in small bowls with a small amount of water around the room. The apples will help remove the odors from the carpet and give the room a better aroma. This method is a more natural technique than using detergent.
10. Use Only Safe Cleaners
You may want to cover up the smell with a fresh detergent, but doing so could worsen the odor. Soap can deposit unwanted residue onto the carpet, producing a new, unpleasant smell. If you decide to use detergents as a last resort, you should always consult your product warranties to make sure you’re using the right and safest substances.
What Not to Do to Get Rid of New Carpet Smell
While there are several ways you can get rid of new carpet smells, you should avoid doing the following:
- Covering up the scent: Cooking scents and other food aromas can absorb into your carpet fibers and make it more difficult to get the new smell out. While these scents might mask the new carpet smells, they’ll more than likely leave an unpleasant aroma that sticks around longer.
- Using detergents: Avoid specific detergents to remove new carpet smells. These tend to leave residue behind that can damage the carpet. What’s more, the detergent smell might not be any better than the new carpet smells and only serve to mask them. Always check your warranty to ensure you use the proper methods and products to clean your carpet correctly.
- Placing furniture on problem spots: Try to avoid putting anything on your carpet, especially if it’s wet and odorous. Allow the carpet to breathe properly to dry and ventilate smells.
- Stepping on newly cleaned carpet: Also, avoid stepping on your carpet if you’ve recently cleaned or steamed it. Stepping on a freshly steamed carpet can insert more moisture or dirt into the fibers, prolonging the smell.
Contact 50 Floor for Advice About Taking Care of Your Carpet
At 50 Floor, we offer a wide selection of carpeting to enhance the visual appeal of your bedroom, living room or family room. Our specialists can provide you with a floor care guide to help you maintain your carpet for all the years you have it. You can schedule an appointment with us or call us at 1-877-50-FLOOR.