How to Remove the Mildew Smell From a Carpet

Mary Ylisela

If your carpet has a mildew smell, it's due to the presence of mildew in the carpet or in the room. As part of the fungus family, mildew spores and the accompanying odor thrive in consistently humid environments. In order to remove the odor, you must get rid of the mildew itself.

Clean, mildew-free carpet is a place the family can enjoy being together.

Once the mildew is removed, steps can be taken to ensure neither the mildew nor smell return.

  1. Vacuum your mildewy-smelling carpet to remove any spores from the fibers of the rug. Discard your vacuum bag to prevent mildew spores from spreading elsewhere via the vacuum bag.

  2. Turn on a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air, if need be. Run a space heater to dry damp carpet. Removing moisture from both the air and carpet kills mildew and helps to prevent its return.

  3. Mix a solution of 1 cup rubbing alcohol and an equal amount of water. Dampen a sponge with the diluted alcohol and blot the mildew stains on your carpet. Rinse the sponge frequently and continue to blot the stains.

  4. Pour a quarter-sized amount of rug shampoo onto a clean, wet sponge. Press the sponge into the site of the mildew stains on your carpet to complete the clean up process. Rinse by pressing a damp cloth into the carpet to remove the soap.

  5. Dry the carpet by pressing dry cloths into the areas you cleaned. Allow the carpet to air dry the remainder of the way.

  6. Sprinkle baking soda over your entire carpet. Leave the baking soda overnight to deodorize and absorb any lingering mildew odor. Vacuum the next day.

  7. Tip

    Check underneath your carpet to make sure mildew hasn't gone to the other side, as well. If your carpet smells mildewy due to a flood, seek the help of a flood specialist. Take carpet outside, if it's small enough, before beginning any other steps. The sunlight will dry your rug and kill mildew at the same time. Spray cleaned carpet with a fungicidal spray to prevent return of mildew.