New Carpet Smelling? Causes & How To Get Rid of Smell

By Samuel N •  Updated: 07/08/23 • 

Carpets and rugs bring comfort to another level by providing a soft and comfortable underfoot. They also improve the beauty and aesthetics of your home. If you’ve just bought a new carpet or had one installed, you may experience an unpleasant odor smell.

The unpleasant odor from a new carpet is usually toxic fumes, also known as VOCs, and they can be hazardous to your health. What causes these VOCs? How do they affect your health? And how can you get rid of the smell? In this article, we’ll discuss all that to help you make your carpet safer and better smelling.

What Makes a New Carpet Smell?

Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are chemical contaminants found in most manufactured products. Apart from new carpets, You’ll find VOCs in new furnishings, clothing, paint, cars, and cosmetic products.

Three main things make a new carpet smell. These are the fibers of the carpet, the carpet backing, and the adhesives used. You can find different types of VOCs in new carpets, but the common is 4-phenyl cyclohexene (4-PCH). 4-PCH is a result of using synthetic latex as the backing of a carpet.

Styrene, which is also used as carpet backing, is also a popular source of VOCs for new carpets. Adhesives used that contain urea-formaldehyde can also be a source of VOC emissions for new carpets.

Does New Carpet Smell Affect Your Health?

While there is no strong evidence that exposure to VOCs from a new carpet can cause long-term health issues, they can cause short-term effects. If you’re exposed to higher concentrations of VOCs, you might experience nausea, headaches, dizziness, throat irritations, or shortness of breath.

New Carpet Installed

New Carpet Installed

The symptoms of the effects of VOCs will vary depending on the age, health conditions, and chemicals you’re exposed to. Asthmatic or people with respiratory problems may be at a higher risk, so they should avoid being exposed to VOCs.

How to Get Rid of New Carpet Smell

1. Improve Room Ventilation

Ventilation is the best way of getting rid of a new carpet smell. Because gassing can last for a longer time to come, the simple way is to let time and airflow do their thing. Once you’ve installed the new carpet, open your door and windows to let the room air out. Keep the window and doors open for a longer time if possible.

Opening Window to Air Out New Carpet

Opening Window to Air Out New Carpet

Fans can also be used to improve air circulation around your home. Use a floor air circulator or box fan, like the Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator Fan, to help move air around. Keep the doors and windows open and place the fans to blow air outside.

Turning on your air conditioner or heater will also improve air circulation and ventilation. This can help you warm up your home while removing the carpet smell.

Removing a new carpet smell will take time, so keep the room or your home ventilated for about 72 hours to reduce the smell. With enough ventilation, the odor should fade away and become less noticeable.

2. Vacuum The Carpet

Cleaning the carpet by vacuuming it can also reduce the smell. Before vacuuming your carpet, sprinkle baking soda and let it sit for a day or two. Baking soda is great for absorbing odors and can help reduce carpet odors.

Vacuuming Carpet for the First Time to Remove Debris and Odor

Vacuuming Carpet for the First Time to Remove Debris and Odors

After letting it sit for a day or two, vacuum your new carpet, and that should reduce the odors. However, if you still smell strong odors, sprinkle baking soda for a second time, give it more time, and vacuum it.

3. Use an Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is one of the most effective products for odor control. Unlike normal charcoal, activated charcoal undergoes heat and chemical treatment, which makes it very porous. This makes it better at adsorbing odors and other allergens from the air.

BISSELL Air320 Smart Air Purifier on Carpet

BISSELL Air320 Smart Air Purifier on Carpet

To use activated charcoal to remove odor, use activated charcoal odor absorber bags, like the Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag or an activated charcoal air purifier, like BISSELL air320 Smart Air Purifier with Carbon Filters. Let the bags or air purifier sit near the carpet and absorb the odors from your carpet.

4. Steam Clean The Carpet

Steam cleaning is expensive because you might have to rent a steam cleaner or pay a team of professionals to do it. However, if the smell of your carpet is stronger and persistent, cleaning it with steam will get most of that odor out.

When steam cleaning, you can use vinegar to help remove lingering smells. However, avoid using detergents on a new carpet because they might leave residue behind that can stain or damage your carpet.

Samuel N

Samuel N is the founder of Improve Floor and has been in the flooring industry since 2005. Since then, his mission has been to make flooring easier for everyone. He helps countless people with flooring installation, finishing, maintenance, and repairs each year.