While the smell of new carpet might be an exciting sign of a new addition to you but after a few days, it starts to become a source of concern and a nauseating odor that you want to get rid of.
At the same time, you don’t want to ruin your newly bought carpet. Before we jump into how to get rid of new carpet smells without causing damage to it, here’s the basic reason why all new carpet have this smell.
Almost every type of new carpet comes with this “new” smell, and it is caused by chemicals known as VOCs ( volatile organic compounds); this chemical can also be found in other household items like paint, pressed-wood furniture, or vinyl flooring.
These chemicals are released into the air through a process known as off-gassing, where the chemicals evaporate at room temperature. Normally this process takes up to 48 hours max to dissipate and could take up to weeks for your room to smell “normal” again.
While this might not be a big deal for most people, for some, its the beginning of unending respiratory problems, especially those prone to allergies or suffering from asthma.
You have to note that while these VOCs might smell harmless, you might actually be inhaling a chemical known as 4-phenyl cyclohexane (4-PCH) and a little bit of styrene.
They are usually present in the synthetic latex in the carpet’s backing, as well as from the padding and adhesives used to secure the carpet during installation. These chemicals are not only problematic to asthmatic people or people prone to allergies.
These chemicals can sometimes cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, and eye, nose, and throat irritation to even an average person.
If you have little kids or pets, then this is a no-no. On the bright side, there are usually low-VOC and even VOC-free carpets if you don’t want to deal with new carpet smell at all.
But if you are probably stuck with a VOCs emitting carpet, which I’m guessing you are else you won’t be reading this article, here’s how to get rid of that chemical smell and have a safe breathing air in your home.
How to Get Rid of Carpet Smell
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As stated earlier, the surest way to get rid of the chemical smell from your carpet is to get a low-VOC or a VOC-free carpet. This saves you all the bustle and hassle of trying to get rid of any smell in the first place.
An example of a low-Voc carpet is a Seagrass carpet and a Sisal carpet since they are made for 100% natural fibers. This type of carpets can easily be identified as they carry the Green Label and Green Label Plus from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI).
Also, carpets that have been dyed or have water repellents and anti-static agents used on them, or any other beautifying chemical products tend to have a high emission of VOCs, so it is advisable to go as natural as possible when shopping for a carpet.
Carpets made from natural materials and dyes, such as wool in natural or plant-dyed colors, are usually a great alternative to those chemically processed ones, and they look great too.
Your installation process also matters; try using a non-adhesive installation method, such as a floating installation, when installing your carpet. And if you have to use an adhesive installation method, try to opt for low-VOC adhesives.
It is also recommended to let your carpet sit unrolled in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors, for a couple of days to enable the carpet to emit as much chemical smell as it can outside your home, so by the time you install it; you will have a little amount of smell to deal with.
Another way to accelerate the off-gassing time frame for your carpet is by turning the heat up in the area where the carpet was installed.
Turn up the heat for a couple of hours, close any door or window in the room and allow the heat to draw out as much smell as possible air and out the space for a few minutes. Do this a couple of times every day depending on how bad the odor is and how much result you are getting too.
Ventilate Your Space
This is the popular and most commonly known remedy for situations like this, and it is also a great fix. After installing your carpet, try to air out the room as much as you can, open every leading door and windows to the area and allow fresh air to just fo its magic and replace the VOCs.
You can also turn on fans and your HVAC system in order to speed up the process and increase airflow throughout the area. If possible, you want to Place the source of the strong stain odor outside during the day.
You can do what is called cross-ventilation by Placing a fan into an opened window turned so that it blows out. Place another fan in a window near the entrance to the room to draw fresh air into the room and boost the smell toward the outward-facing fan.
You can also Turn on an air purifier if you have one. If you do not own an air purifier, look in home improvement or home appliance stores for one that uses a charcoal or HEPA filter to purify the air of contaminants and odors.
They are sometimes used to filter cigarette and fireplace smoke odors from inside the home and are effective at removing strong carpet smell as well. Turn on ceiling fans if they are located in the room with the newly installed carpet.
Ceiling fans provide great air circulation, but if the fan is located upstairs and the carpet is downstairs, using the fan may draw the smell throughout your home. It is better to expel the new carpet smell directly through an open window than to draw the air through the house.
Allow at least eight hours for the air to circulate out of your home. Put off the fans and purifiers if the odor has faded after this time has elapsed. If it has not been reduced, keep your home ventilated until you notice a significant reduction in the smell.
The smell will linger around as long as the carpet is in use, but proper ventilation can reduce its intensity.
Yes! You read that right; that little baking ingredient can come in handy when you are dealing with a smelly carpet.
All you have to do is simply sprinkle the baking soda generously over the carpet and allow it to absorb the smell of the VOCs; you should allow the baking soda to sit on the carpet for at least 24 hours before vacuuming it up. You can repeat this process until you achieve your desired result.
Immediately after installing your carpet, you need to vacuum in order to pick any loose debris, dust, or even fibers of the carpet itself. Frequent vacuuming not only helps to keep your carpet in good shape, but it also helps to extract and remove any chemical smell.
Do not Try to Cover Up the Smell.
While it might be tempting to just mask the odor with something else, this might be detrimental to the lifespan of the carpet itself. Things like ionizers, which are marketed for their “air cleaning” abilities, can actually make the emission of VOCs from your carpet way worse than it actually is.
This is because studies have shown that these ionizers are known to react with the VOCs present in your carpet, which will lead to the creation of more VOCs and, therefore, more smell.
You want to make sure your carpet has passed its peak of off-gassing before you try to use any product like an ionizer on it.
Another way people try to get rid of their carpet smell is by washing it with detergent. While this might not be a bad thing to do if your carpet is actually dirty, but for a new carpet, the detergent will only leave unwanted residue on the carpet, which can actually cause damage to the fibers of the carpet.
This is usually a last resort if all the other steps mentioned above fails to improve the smell of your carpet, and its starting to pose health concerns for you or your family. Steam cleaning is basically a hot water extraction cleaning method, and it works wonders when it comes to removing unpleasant smells from your carpet.
This steam cleaning process can be used on any type of carpet, and you can actually “up” this process by replacing the water with vinegar. Vinegar is known to be a strong odor killer and can help you take your steam cleaning to another level, and with this, your unpleasant carpet smell will be long gone.
Steam cleaning is actually an easy process, and they are a lot of instructional videos on YouTube, but if you are not much of a DIYer, you can totally seek the services of a professional for this.
Wait It Out
They say patience is a virtue, and in this scenario, those words cannot be truer. A carpet will continue to emit VOCs for the rest of its life, although it won’t be as harsh as the first few days of installation. So if you can handle it, it is recommended to just wait it out.
Ventilate the room as much as you can and just allow the carpet to “do its thing.” Just give it a little time and stay out of the room if you can’t handle the smell, and within a couple of days, you will barely perceive any odor.
Plants are known to help clear the air and aid ventilation. You can go ahead and place a couple of potted plants in the room you installed the carpet, and they will help to generate new air and force the smell out through opened windows and doors.
Having to deal with new carpet smells after a recent home improvement is normal and not something to fret about. A carpet smell does not indicate that the carpet is made of poor quality material, nor does it determines its lifespan.
It just means the carpet was made with a synthetic latex backing, and this smell can be curtailed to the barest minimum where it is barely noticeable. Hopefully, this article helps you on your quest to remove that new carpet smell, and you get your home smelling refreshing as you so desire.