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How to Get Rid of Odors After Water Damage in Your Home

Water Damage
Author: ServiceMaster Restore

If you recently experienced any kind of water damage to your carpets, be cautious – a remaining odor could do more than simply stink. Lingering water damage smells could indicate the continued growth of mold or mildew, which thrives in damp conditions. Protect your carpets and your health by learning how to get rid of smells after water damage in your home safely, using these tips from ServiceMaster Restore.

Getting Rid of Mildew Smells in Carpet

Getting rid of a mildew smell in your carpet may seem like a challenge, but it's actually pretty simple to do. The first step is to make sure that the source of the water damage smell has been fully dealt with first so that any mold or mildew causing the issue doesn't continue to spread. Consider calling mold remediation experts to inspect and address any lingering leaks or mold issues for you, since handling it on your own can be dangerous.

Once you have addressed the original water damage and mold issues to prevent regrowth after cleaning, follow these steps to get rid of or prevent a mildew smell in your carpet:

  • Completely dry the affected area. If the room has windows, keep them open for several hours to distribute fresh air and speed drying. Dehumidifiers help remove moisture from both the air and your carpet fibers. Floor fans also increase air circulation, and pointing the airflow directly on your carpet will accelerate drying time.
  • Treat the carpet with a cleaning solution. Mix one cup of vinegar and 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Gently spray the solution onto areas of the carpet that smell. Be sure not to oversaturate the area, since this can trigger more mold to grow.
  • Pour baking soda over the treated areas. Baking soda quickly absorbs odors and is safe to use around children and pets. Allow ample time for the baking soda to absorb any leftover moisture or odors, preferably overnight, and then vacuum it – and the smell – right up.

If you still sense a water damage smell after cleaning the carpets in your home, try freshening the air, as well. All three of these common household items help absorb bad smells in the home:

woman wearing pink cleaning gloves using mixed solution to blot out carpet stain

  • Vinegar: place bowls of white vinegar around the room to quickly lift the odor out of the area. In a couple days, your home will smell as good as new.
  • Cat litter: place small, open containers of clean cat litter throughout the room. Change the litter regularly, and it should absorb most of the odor over time. Tip: don't try this method at home if you already live with cats – they'll think they have extra places to go to the bathroom!
  • Baking soda: like cat litter, baking soda can quickly and easily absorb foul water damage odors when placed in open containers around the room and changed regularly.

Once you've taken care of the source of your water damage, prevented the spread of mold and mildew and thoroughly cleaned your carpets, you home should smell fresh and free of foul odors. If the smell returns or you think you need professional help to deal with the damage, contact the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®. We have advanced deodorization tools and techniques to eliminate odors from your home so you can breathe easy again, plus comprehensive mold remediation services that can help keep you and your family safe.

If you have more questions about how to remove odors after water damage, read our Frequently Asked Questions section. You can also call us at 1-800-RESPOND.

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