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How To Remove a Musty Odor From a Rug

Updated on December 5, 2011

Finding a beautifully detailed area rug at a flea market, thrift shop or grandma’s attic can come with an unexpected drawback, namely a musty odor. Where there is a musty odor there is mildew. Mildew emits a musty odor that ends up spreading throughout your house. You can get rid of the odor and keep your rug.

Drag your musty smelling rug outside on a sunny day. If you are lucky, there will be a breeze, which helps to dispel the smell.

If the rug isn’t overly large or heavy, hang it over a clothesline with the rug back facing up. If the rug is too heavy for a clothesline, lay it flat on a patio, driveway or outdoor table with the back of the rug facing up. Wait until the morning dew has burnt off.

Flip the rug every two to three hours.

Bring the rug back inside the house when the sun begins to set. Place the rug in a dry area of the house. Set up a dehumidifier in the room, which will help to draw dampness out of the rug.

In the morning, if it is sunny, bring the rug back outside and lay it flat or over a clothesline. Flip the rug every two to three hours. Bring the rug back in at sunset and put it back in the room with the dehumidifier. Depending on how heavy the musty odor is, you may have to repeat this process anywhere from three to 10 days to kill the mildew.

After the three to 10 day period, lay your rug flat with the finished side facing up.

Pour a 1 pound box of baking soda into a lidded container large enough to hold all of the baking soda and add 20 to 24 drops of lavender or cedar essential oil. If you don’t have a disposable container large enough, pour half the baking soda into the container and add 10 to 12 drops of essential oil and repeat.

Put the lid on the container and shake it to distribute the essential oil evenly throughout the baking soda.

Poke holes through the lid with a sharp nail or ice pick.

Turn the can over and shake the scented baking soda over the rug.

Let the scented baking soda sit on the rug overnight.

Vacuum up the baking soda to restore a fresh smell and kill the mildew odor.


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