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How to Deodorize Carpet: DIY Carpet Freshener
If you have carpeting, you probably love the fact that it is comfortable to walk on, right? What you may not like is the constant battle you have with keeping it clean and odor-free.
Carpeting adds warmth, color and style to a room. We love stepping out of bed on a cold morning to a soft fuzzy floor, rather than a cold, hard floor. Yet carpets can be hard to maintain.
One of the major issues with having carpet, especially if you have pets, is keeping it smelling fresh. A lot of possibly stinky things trek across the carpet daily, and those smells, along with cooking odors, stale colognes, cleaners and dust, can make our carpets pungent after awhile.
So what do we do? We buy artificially-scented fresheners that are short-lived, expensive, and filled with chemicals. Why not make your own cheap, healthier freshener at home?
For this recipe, you will need to assemble the following supplies:
- 2 scoops of laundry powder (approx. 2 cups)
- 2 scoops OxyClean powder or alternative
- 1 laundry scoop Borax
- 1/2 baking soda
- 1/4 baby powder
- Bin for mixing (I use a diaper wipe container)
- Spoon or stir stick
- Empty can or jar to make your own shaker.
This is what I use to make the deodorizer I use most often. I will include alternative combinations later in the article.
Step 1: Mix Your Ingredients
You can mix the ingredients in any order, but I like to start with the soap since it makes up the bulk of the mixture. I can judge whether or not I want to make more or less. If I want more scent, I add more soap.
So, begin by pouring your soap into your mixing bin. Be sure to break up any clumps so that your mixture can sprinkle easily.
Step 2: Add Additional Ingredients
Add your other ingredients. If you want to use the mixture for cleaning as well as for deodorizing, you might want to omit the baby powder. Without the powder, this recipe also makes a good scrub for rugs and upholstered furniture.
Stir the mixture well, breaking up any additional clumps. If you double or triple the recipe, you can do the mixing in a large plastic container. Simply refill your shaker can or jar whenever needed from your bulk supply.
Deep Fiber Freshening
To get deep down freshness, use a broom or a plastic rake to sweep the powder deep into the carpet.
This tackles the odors beneath the surface. Vacuum after 30 minutes to several hours (overnight is best).
Step Three: Make a Shaker Jar
Here I have used a french fried onion can for a shaker. Usually, I just use the laundry scoop to scatter the freshener, but that doesn't exactly make for even coverage.
Use any can or jar that is easy to hold. Make sure the food, coffee or other stuff is cleaned out. French fried onions can be pretty crunchy if sprinkled on carpets, and the smell isn't so fresh.
Peel the label off of your can so that no one mistakes your deodorizer for a midnight snack. Later you can cover the can with fabric or paper if you want a fancy container. Or you can simply label it with a Sharpie marker and masking tape.
Use a sharp object to carefully poke holes in the lid. I'm using a very large safety pin from a kilt because I have a very large safety pin from a kilt. If you aren't so fortunate, you can use a screwdriver, an awl, a knife, or a large needle. It helps if you poke the holes from the inside of the lid.
Pros and Cons of the Ingredients
Loosens stains, kills fleas, freshens
Not ideal for pets/children
Loosens stains, freshens
Not ideal for pets/children, can fade colors
Helps with cleaning, scents
Absorbs odors, cleans, freshens
Draws moisture, hard to vacuum
The Dangers of Commercial Carpet Fresheners
Store-bought fresheners and deodorizers contain toxic chemicals, including phthalates. These chemicals are linked to:
- Skin irritation
- Breathing difficulties
- Birth Defects
- Body chemical imbalance
Pets and children are at greater risk than adults since they come into close contact with flooring. However, the dust can be breathed in by anyone.
Alternative Recipes for Carpet Deodorizer
If you don't like the idea of using laundry soap as the base for your deodorizer, you can make up the bulk by using just the Borax or by using only baking soda.
I use the soap because it is cheap, and if I leave some of the other ingredients out, I can then scrub the carpets without making new cleaner.
Using only baking soda works well because it absorbs whatever scents you choose to add and helps dispense them further. Without scent, it helps to absorb the bad odors in the carpet.
- Herbal: Mix equal parts baking soda and crushed herbs. Some nice choices are lavender, rosemary or mint.
- Fragrant: Add essential oil drops to the powder mixture until you reach the desired scent. Some choices are; Rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus and cinnamon.
- Spicy: Add some apple pie spice to your home by mixing powdered cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger with your base powder. This smells delightful but may not be best for light-colored carpeting.
These are just some of the creations you can make in your own kitchen. Baby powder can be used alone and makes a nice, fresh scent.
Baby powder can be hard to vacuum up, though. You will want to be careful about spreading it around children or pets who can breathe it in until it settles.
Healthier Carpet for Pennies
The basic recipe I've shared covers approximately 1000 square feet of carpeting. We inherited deep-pile carpeting from the house's previous owner, who had a lot of pets. This has been the only thing, including thorough steam-cleaning, that has removed the pet residue.
Since I use the same mixture to clean carpet stains, I keep a bulk supply pre-mixed in a plastic bin. (with baby powder and herbs omitted, of course.)
For stains on the carpet, I make a paste with the freshener and water and allow it to sit for 1–3 hours, depending on the stain. I can then scrub the stains with a minimum of effort. For regular deodorizing, I simply vacuum the powder up after about 30 minutes.
So, for only a few pennies, you can have healthier, fresher carpets. Rest easy knowing that you, your children, and your pets are not breathing harmful chemicals and that your carpets still smell fresh and clean.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Bruce on August 04, 2019:
Some talcum powder can contain asbestos and asbestos like materials. It's really not a good idea to be spreading on your carpets and vacuuming it up.
Jennifer from New Jersey on June 06, 2013:
I will let you know!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on June 06, 2013:
@Theater girl--I hope you like it. I really does make the house smell oh-so-clean. Much better than just smelling perfumed!
Jennifer from New Jersey on June 06, 2013:
Great ideas for natural cleaning! I am going home to make this today!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on April 30, 2013:
Kathryn--natural is always better! Especially when it works better than commercial. I realized I was spending $32 a month on carpet fresh! That's absurd. Now it is more like $3. Hope this works for you! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on April 30, 2013:
I saw this a few weeks ago, and didn't realize I never commented! This is a great idea. I have been using more natural products lately, so I definitely want to try this out sometime. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on April 29, 2013:
@Natashalh--I bet your homemade laundry soap would work great by itself, or as the base for this! Hope you enjoy it! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Natasha from Hawaii on April 29, 2013:
Thanks for the awesome recipe! I have pets, carpet, and a carpet cleaner. I'm almost out of commercial carpet cleaner, but I always prefer DIY ways. I've been making my own laundry soap for years now! I bet this smells just as fresh and clean (because it has some of the same ingredients). I can't want to try this in just a few weeks! Voting up, awesome, and useful.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on April 09, 2013:
@Victorai Lynn--Thank you for reading, commenting and voting. I hope this works for you and your pets!
Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on April 09, 2013:
Great to know since I have 6 cats and a dog! I've been meaning to try making more of my cleaning products. I love the cannister you covered, too. Very nice! Many votes and pinning this one!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on March 29, 2013:
@sgbrown--I agree! Way too much junk in the commercial deodorizers. Since you will be playing with your grandbaby on the floor (how fun! :) ) you should probably not use the laundry soap in the mix. It could be too irritating to the skin.
The baking soda and borax would work just as well, and you can always scent it with essential oils or an herb mix. Hope it helps! Thanks for reading, commenting, and voting!
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on March 29, 2013:
Great idea! I would much rather make my own carpet deodorizer than use the store bought. You never know what they put in some of this stuff! My daughter and her baby have recently moved in with us and we spend a lot of time playing on the floor! LOL Great hub, voted up, useful and sharing! :)
Subhas from New Delhi, India on March 22, 2013:
Hi WAHM. It is nice to go through your ultra-creative hub. Only can explorer can dig out so much innovative things out of the corset. Your hub is definitely very useful. Thumbs up!
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on March 22, 2013:
@ Linda--I definitely have enough dust without adding any! That's one of the benefits of the laundry soap...it doesn't make a dust cloud. And if you want super-easy and fast freshener...just sprinkle laundry soap straight from the scoop. ;)
Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on March 22, 2013:
Good idea Jayme! I never thought about making my own carpet freshener. It's true the commercial brands can be overpowering and create a bit too much excess dust, don't we already have enough of that annoying stuff? I'll make my own, but it's to much work! :)
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on March 22, 2013:
Thanks Carol! I love it because I can use as much as I want and not wince at the thought of having to buy more. I have a LOT of carpet! I've noticed that the scent remains longer as well. Hope you enjoy it!
carol stanley from Arizona on March 22, 2013:
Anything that is natural and homemade I like. This sounds great.