Carpets are a wonderfully plush addition to any home, but they are one of the more difficult floor coverings to keep clean and fresh.
Using something from your baking cabinet to deep clean a carpet doesn't sound logical, but this powerful powder is one of the best deodorizers and is readily available in supermarkets.
Here, cleaning experts have explained why cleaning carpets with baking soda is so effective, and share the best methods to try at home.
How to clean a carpet with baking soda
Cleaning with baking soda can help to eliminate odors, soak up moisture that contributes to mold growth, and remove stains, says Ahmad Shehada, cleaning expert at CleanersAdvisor. 'It is a super simple product that has a range of impressive household uses. As cleaners, we love it.'
Ahmad is a self-proclaimed 'clean-freak', with years of experience tackling tough cleaning projects and advising others on how to deal with the worst of messes.
You will need:
If you are dealing with a lightly marked carpet or are hoping to make your home smell nice, then baking soda is a perfect all-natural solution. Here is what you will need:
- Baking soda, such as this bulk cleaning baking soda on Amazon
- A clean scrubbing brush, such as this brush set from Amazon
- A good vacuum cleaner
- OPTIONAL: A dehumidifier, such as this our top-rated GE ADEL50LZ 50-Pint Dehumidifier, available at Amazon, to help dry the carpet quickly
1. If the area is dry, start by vacuuming
Before using any baking soda cleaning tips on carpet or upholstery, you should begin by thoroughly vacuuming the area to help lift any loose debris and clear space for the baking soda. This step can be avoided if the area you are cleaning is already damp, however, such as in the case of a leak or spillage, to prevent damaging your vacuum.
2. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda to absorb odors
Carpets in high-traffic areas such as living rooms and entryways may begin to smell – despite vacuuming properly – as dirt becomes embedded deep in the fibers. If you do not have the time or machinery (such as this highly-rated Bissell portable carpet cleaner, at Amazon) to shampoo a carpet, then a fine sprinkling of baking soda can help to neutralize musty odors.
‘To clean your carpet with baking soda, simply sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the carpet and leave it for at least 15 minutes or up to overnight,’ advises Ahmad Shehada, a cleaning expert. ‘Then, vacuum up the baking soda using a vacuum cleaner with a clean filter, cleaning the filter again immediately after to prevent lasting damage.’
3. Mix with water to deep-clean stains
Baking soda is ideal for removing stains, such as getting red wine out of the carpet, suggests David Oknin, manager and restoration expert at The Restoration Group. ‘When combined with hot water, baking soda creates a soft, abrasive paste that can be used to scrub away stuck-on dirt and deodorize the carpet,’ he explains.
‘To use baking soda to clean a carpet, first, apply a sprinkling of baking soda over the mark, allowing it to sit for a moment to absorb any moisture, before spraying with warm, not hot, water to form a paste. Scrub this into the carpet using a stiff-bristled brush before allowing it to sit for once again 10 to 15 minutes. After, simply scrape up any residual paste, vacuum, and leave to dry.’
Despite this, baking soda is not a definitive carpet-cleaning product, and may not deliver the desired results when tackling heavy stains, Ahmed Shehada, a cleaning expert, warns. ‘Professional cleaning may be necessary in such cases,’ he says. What’s more, you should always test any cleaning method or solution in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn't damage or discolor your carpet.’
4. Allow any damp spots to dry thoroughly
Baking soda does a wonderful job at absorbing a lot of moisture from carpets, however, may not solve any underlying dampness in the underlay or any wet patches left behind by a baking soda scrub. Once all of the baking soda has been removed from the carpet, ensure the space has good ventilation to help dry the area thoroughly and prevent mold growth.
This process can be sped up by using a good dehumidifier to draw out moisture and discourage settling mold spores.
Does baking soda bleach carpet?
Baking soda generally does not discolor your carpet and can actually be used to help remove staining – especially those caused by liquids. If your carpets have white spots after using baking soda, it may be that you have not vacuumed it up fully, and a few more passes of an empty vacuum will help to remove the remainder.
Is it safe to vacuum baking soda?
There are a few reported cases that baking soda can damage a vacuum filter, especially if it does not have a HEPA filter, however, this is not the case for all vacuums all of the time, so it is down to personal preference whether or not you vacuum baking soda. If you want to be safe when vacuuming baking soda, use an upright vacuum with a HEPA filter and beater brush and clean the filter immediately after.
Overall, using baking soda to clean a carpet is a brilliant, all-natural way to clean your own carpets at home without heavy machinery. Although not perfect for old or very tough grease stains, it is a great all-rounder for deodorizing and removing the majority of stains quickly for a fresh finish.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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