You’d think that with a title such as “will wet carpet smell go away” a simple yes or no would suffice, but as with many things in life, that all-too-vague answer of “it depends” certainly applies. Depends on what, exactly? 

How Long Has the Mould Been There?

If you’ve been out in the yard taking in the sun only to come back and find that your carpet has sustained water damage from, say, an overflowing bathtub, the problem may not be so severe. Time is working against you when it comes to water-flooded carpet, so the longer you delay, the more your carpet will be at risk of developing black mould that’s difficult to remove.

Generally speaking, a few hours’ of exposure can be harmless if and only if the stains are removed as soon as possible and without delay. Anything upwards of 24 hours, however, is cause for concern, and 72 hours of exposure will most inevitably lead to a completely ruined carpet depending on the scale of the damage.

What’s the Extent of the Damage?

Although it may seem obvious, a small spill from a cup of water isn’t much cause for concern (again, provided that it’s blotted up quickly), but is the water working its way across the entire carpet? Half the carpet? Is the damage coming from a broken pipe or backed up water? This is where you’re at a tipping point of a nasty smell developing no matter how much baking soda and vinegar you throw at it.

Have You Tried Treating It?

A quick and handy solution that can be used for less serious damage is baking soda and white vinegar. Try both solutions individually and see if the smell begins to go away after a few hours.

For baking soda solutions, sprinkle a little baking soda evenly over the top of the carpet’s damaged surface area and a little beyond as well (mix in some essential oils too for a more pleasant smell). Allow to set for 15 minutes and vacuum up the baking soda.

Vinegar, alternatively, is a great way to kill mould as it begins to accumulate. Mix a tablespoon of white vinegar with two cups of water into a spray bottle and apply as a mist evenly over the carpet. Using a stiff-bristled brush, work the bristles deep into the carpet piling and allow the vinegar to eat away at mould and nasty smells.

Bring In The Big Guns

Baking soda and vinegar are two excellent, cost-effective solutions for smaller, less serious smells and stains, but they won’t suffice if the carpet has been considerably stained for a day or longer. That’s when you’ll need to consider having sections of the carpet (or the entire carpet) replaced altogether. Carpet replacement doesn’t have to be a hassle, however, as many qualified water damage remediation companies can assist you with effective carpet replacement and safely salvage perfectly good parts of the carpet whilst replacing the backing (often prone to irreversible damage).


If your carpet has sustained water damage and/or has a foul odour from pet urine, stains, or who-knows-what, don’t hesitate to contact the water damage remediation experts at Electrovac to get your carpet back in all of its lush comfort and without that nasty smell.