There are a few things that I can't help buying when I'm at the grocery store. No matter what, I always end up buying sour cream, cream cheese, and cream of chicken soup. Lately I have added baking soda to my list of staples. Why? Oh, why NOT!! I have now potty trained four children and our poor carpet has taken such a beating as a result. But it wasn't until a few months ago that a friend of mine turned me on to a different way of dealing with peed on carpets and rugs.
On Saturday we had a little accident on our practically brand new carpet in the basement family room. My friend's 2 year old just couldn't hold it so we found a puddle on the floor. The old me would have panicked because it's NEW and EXPENSIVE carpet. But the new and educated me didn't mind at all. The old me would have ran for a bottle of Resolve and some wet rags. But the new me just sent Cody upstairs for a box of baking soda.
You see, carpet has a few enemies, and one of the biggest enemies is water. Seems pretty harmless, right? Water is a killer of carpet pads and carpet fibers. The second killer of carpet is soap. Any kind of shampoo cleaner leaves a nasty residue on the carpet which over time, attracts more and more grime.
So in the case of peed on carpet (which let's face it....it's gonna happen with small children in the house!) the very best thing to do is find the area as QUICKLY as you can, and pour a lot of baking soda on it, straight from the box. The properties of baking soda are simply amazing. In this case it acts as a sponge and an odor neutralizer. After you pour it on, within seconds you can see it becoming soaked with liquid. And in the case of urine, light yellow liquid. It can't help but absorb every bit of moisture within it's reach. I don't believe that any carpet cleaner or steamer could do the same job as good old fashioned baking soda.
It's the easiest fix. Leave it on for at least 24 hours, and then vacuum away. Because the soda is so fine, you will want to do a very thorough job of vacuuming. Make sure you get all the pee soaked (and now dried) particles of baking soda up. And then comes the fun and kind of gross part. Stick your nose all the way into the carpet and take a deep breath. What do you smell? You should smell NOTHING. And the great part is that it's not a superficial fix. There will be NOTHING left behind. You see the above picture? Two days ago there was a sloshy puddle off tinkle on that area. Now you can't even see an outline of where it used to be, because there is nothing left behind!
The same exact concept can be used for vomit on carpets and upholstery. The difference is that vomit usually carries some sort of virus or bacteria, whereas urine is sterile. Smells and looks nasty, but you can actually drink the stuff. Puke, on the other hand....it's just gross and will make you sick. If a child throws up on an area, clean away as much as you can with rags and a little bit of Resolve. Sometimes there's just no way around using shampoo on carpet. But after it's as clean as you can get it, throw a box of baking soda on it and let it sit for a day or two.
A few months ago Garrett had a stomach bug and threw up for a week. And that boy, for whatever reason, has the most sour smelling vomit! The smell stays on anything is touches, even after being washed on hot two times. He threw up all over our carpet upstairs and for the life of me, I could NOT get the smell out. One day I bought some new pillows for our bed and somehow they got dragged out to the floor and they were sitting on the spot where it smelled so bad. An guess what? Those pillows ended up in the garbage because they never smelled good again!
And that's about the time that my friend told me about the baking soda method. Even though the vomit had long been cleaned up and the carpet was dry, the smell still remained so I doused the whole area with three boxes of soda. Two days later, there wasn't a hint of the smell anywhere!
Oh, and I should add that this applies to mattresses as well! This afternoon Devin napped on our bed and had an accident. Luckily I caught it as soon as he did it. Ha ha, this actually happened right after I got through vacuuming the pee spot on the downstairs carpet from this weekend, thus being the inspiration for this delightful post. So I stripped the bed and threw a bunch of soda onto our $1,300 mattress. And I'm not even worried about it!
And there's what I have to say about baking soda. It's on my favorite household items list!
So inexpensive, so easy, and so affective!