Tips for Products Commonly Used on Carpet

There are many products on the market today that people commonly use on carpet, from deodorizers and powders to stain sprays, protectants, and antistatic treatments. Some of these products may adversely affect carpeting. Here are some tips for avoiding carpet damage or premature wear.

Powdered Carpet Deodorizers

The most common cause of carpet damage and premature wear is dirt and grit. Any kind of abrasive particles, such as those found in the ingredients of powdered carpet deodorizers, act like tiny shards of glass that break and sever carpet fibers. Although the majority of powdered deodorizers are vacuumed up, some of the powder residue will inevitably remain in your carpeting. That’s part of the reason why the scent stays put long after you vacuum. The perfumed grit is activated when it is jostled around by foot traffic, and although it masks the odor problem, it doesn’t resolve the problem at all — and it creates a new problem. So when you sprinkle that pleasant scent, remember that you are, in effect, sprinkling damage and premature wear all over your investment.

How to Deodorize Your Carpet

Carpet odors are caused by contaminants, such as pollen, dander, food crumbs, and the like, that are trapped in your carpet fibers and backing. Thoroughly vacuuming your carpets on a regular basis, even when the carpet does not look dirty, and having your carpets periodically professionally cleaned should help keep odors at bay. You may also consider that the source of odors is something other than the carpet. Try using a HEPA filter in your HVAC system and make sure your home is properly ventilated, leave shoes in a mudroom or outside, keep your pets clean, and investigate any other potential odor sources.

Baking Soda

Nahcolite is a mineral commonly known as baking soda. Sprinkling your carpet with baking soda is essentially the same thing as sprinkling your carpet with minerals or sharp little rock ingredients. The potential abrasive damage is comparable to that of powdered carpet deodorizers. Baking soda is popular for DIY cleaning, and rightly so, because it can be highly effective, but it is not ideal for regular use on carpets.

If you choose to use baking soda on your carpet, we recommend that you only use it mixed with water to spot clean a small area. Once you are finished, you will also need to clean the treated area to remove any residual mineral particles. Apply enough plain water to moisten the treated area (do not saturate), blot dry with paper towels or a white cloth, and repeat this process several times. Once the carpet is completely dry, vacuum the treated area thoroughly.

Pet Odor Treatments

Sometimes, even after thoroughly cleaning a pet accident, odors persist. The uric acid in pet urine binds tightly with absorbent substances like carpet fibers and backing, and in the worst cases, the padding. Foot traffic or any change in humidity can reactivate the odor. The best way to get rid of persistent pet odor is to have your carpet professionally cleaned. Ask your carpet cleaning technician to do a spot treatment in trouble areas. If a pet accident penetrates too deeply into carpet padding, the odor can only be removed if the padding is replaced.

Spot Cleaners

If you choose to use a spot cleaner for your carpet, be sure to select one that is appropriate for your type of carpet by comparing details from the carpet manufacturers information with the spot cleaner product label. Use the appropriate amount, because too little can be ineffective and too much can leave a film that attracts and traps dirt and contaminants. This extra layer of residue can be unsightly and cause premature wear.

Anti-Static Treatments

The ingredients in anti-static treatments on carpet fibers can act like dirt magnets. Use a humidifier instead.

Harsh Chemicals and Abrasive Cleaners

Any product not specifically designed for carpet cleaning and care can cause damage. If you are going to use a chemical or cleaning product not specifically designed for carpet cleaning, be aware that you are taking a risk. White vinegar, mild dish detergent, peroxide, and OxiClean™ may be appropriate in some circumstances, but always test the product in an inconspicuous area first.

Carpet care products can cause carpet damage or premature wear. Follow the tips in this article to help preserve the life of your investment. For more information on carpet care, download our free Carpet and Interior Textiles Care Guide, and we are always just a phone call away.


This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.