Image of Aunt Fannie's Carpet Refresher

How to deodorize carpet: powders vs. sprays.

Last Updated: October 5, 2021

Tired of funky, musty smells coming from your carpets or rugs? Learn how to deodorize carpet with natural powders and sprays — and when to use which.

Bad smells coming from the carpet aren’t just annoying — they can also lower your indoor air quality. Mold, bacteria, and allergens like pollen and dust mite droppings can cause or worsen respiratory illnesses.

Whether your carpet is old or new, its fibers easily absorb odors from last night’s dinner or from Fido’s constant fur-shedding (or worse!). Spills and high humidity can cause mold and mildew growth, and, after a while, carpet odor can get pretty funky.

Read on to learn how to deodorize carpet with a powder or spray — and how to get the best results, either way.

How to refresh carpet with powder vs. carpet deodorizer spray

illustration of a vacuum

Carpet powders and sprays are the two most popular (i.e., easiest) ways to deodorize the carpet.

Many conventional deodorizing powders (lookin’ at you, Glade!) and sprays (lookin’ at you, Febreeze!) contain hazardous chemicals like bleach, ammonia, and chlorine to kill germs and mold, or they only mask odors with toxic fragrances — usually both.

The good news is that you don’t need toxic substances and/or heavy perfumes of any kind to make your carpets — and by extension, your home — smell fresh again. Natural sprays and deodorizing powders don’t pollute your indoor air, and both work great to tackle odors.

Learn more about natural home fragrances and what’s best for your house, family, and pets.

So, when do you use a powder, and when do you use a spray?

When to use carpet deodorizer powder

How to deodorize carpet with powder

Carpet deodorizer powder works basically the same way, no matter what type it is. Sprinkle the powder over the carpet, and allow at least 30 minutes for it to do its job — the longer you leave it on, the better.

Later, vacuum the carpet — go over the floor a few times with the vacuum cleaner, in different directions. And don’t worry: carpet deodorizer powder won’t ruin your vacuum cleaner — if anything, it’ll deodorize your machine, too!

Grove tip: Make sure the powder is dry when you vacuum it up to preserve your vacuum cleaner’s lifespan.

What are the best powder carpet deodorizers?

We can only speak to our favorites — and here are three of them.

Image of Aunt Fannie's carpet refresher

1. Aunt Fannie's Carpet Refresher

Nontoxic, sulfate-free, and artificial fragrance-free, Aunt Fannie’s Carpet Refresher contains powerful ingredients like baking soda, lemon peel oil, and peppermint oil to get bad smells out of carpets — fast!

It smells divine and is safe to use around pets and children.

2. Baking soda

Plain old baking soda is inexpensive, nontoxic, and completely natural.

It absorbs unpleasant odors and excess moisture — and is a godsend when your animal pees or your kid loses their lunch on the carpet (why is it always on the carpet?)

Check out this short video to see how easy it is to deodorize carpet (including the smelly carpet in the car!)

3. Borax and baking soda

Borax isn’t quite as nontoxic as baking soda, but when you need a little extra deodorizing muscle, combining the two is a powerful punch against smelly carpets.

Combine one cup of baking soda and a half cup of borax to make a quick and inexpensive carpet refresher.

Grove Tip

How to deodorize car carpet

The carpet and upholstery in your car hold onto odors like nobody’s business. Luckily, you can deodorize your car carpet the exact same way you do it inside the house.

The easiest way is to sprinkle the deodorizing powder, let it sit for as long as possible, and use a shop vac (or car wash vacuum) to remove the powder — and the odors with it!

When to use carpet deodorizer spray

Illustration of cleaning supplies in a box

Carpet deodorizing sprays are best for spot-treating smaller carpet stains and the odors they produce.

How to deodorize carpet with a spray

First, test a small area for colorfastness. Then, spritz the spray directly on the stain and let it sit for at least 15 to 30 minutes.

Blot the stain and odor away with a clean rag. After the area has dried, vacuum as usual, and you’re good to go!

What are the best spray carpet deodorizers?

These are a few of our personal favorites.

1. Paw Sense Pet Stain & Odor Removal

When unhappy (stinky) accidents happen on the carpet, fight back with sulfate-free, 100 percent natural carpet deodorizer spray from Paw Sense.

It’ll neutralize the offending odor and leave the scintillating scent of fresh lemongrass in its place.

illustration of a spray bottle

2. White vinegar

Vinegar is a powerhouse odor-fighter, especially for musty, moldy smells.

In a spray bottle, combine one cup vinegar with 2 cups of warm water, and spritz the area after testing it in an inconspicuous spot. Allow it to dry, then vacuum.

illustration of Bloody Mary

3. Vodka

Believe it or not, the same drink that got you into trouble the night before can effectively clean your carpet the day after.

Pour straight vodka (test first) onto a tough stain, allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then blot it with a clean towel.

Grove Tip

How to remove stains from carpet — naturally

Check out our Stain Busters articles to learn how to naturally tackle tough, stinky carpet stains like red wine, coffee, urine, dog poop, and vomit to keep your carpet looking and smelling great — no matter what befalls it.

And browse the top 6 best laundry and carpet stain removers that have been top-rated by Grove members.

Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Grove Co. cleaning caddy

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