Carpet smells after steam-clean

Mark, can you explain why nearly two year-old carpet with medium grade pad =
would smell so strongly of dog odor after being steam cleaned with the rota=
ry steamer, enzyme pre-treatment and enzyme after treatment?=20
We have two dogs but their coats do not smell. When they do start to develo=
p an odor we bathe them and it takes care of it. The odor after the clean i=
s terrible. Overwhelming dog-coat smell. The cleaners came back two days la=
ter to clean again. They did not enzyme treat after the clean initially bec=
ause there was no odor and we didn't have stains. They used the after treat=
ment the second time. For most of the day, all we could smell is the treatm=
ent. Gradually, the smell started coming through the treatment scent.
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Well, my name isn't Mark, but I can explain what's happening and why.
Basically, when a carpet smells after a bath just the same way as a dog smells after a bath, the reason is because in both cases you're providing perfect conditions for a bacterial population explosion, and it's the growth and multiplication of bacteria that causes the smell.
Dust, which is mostly organic matter (dead skin cells, fabric and paper fibers, pollen, etc) provides food for bacteria. No matter how good your vaccuum cleaner is, organic dust will eventually accumulate way down deep into the carpet pile. When you then get that carpet wet, you provide what a bacterium would consider "Heaven"; plenty of food and the ability to move around easily in the wettness in the carpet. So, when you shampoo a carpet, the bacteria in it start to multiply like crazy, and it's that bacterial population explosion that makes the wet carpet smell much the same as a wet dog, and for exactly the same reason.
New carpets and dogs that regularily get baths (like show dogs) don't smell like that after a bath because they don't have large amounts of organic food accumulated in them, so there's no bacterial population explosion when they get wet.
To eliminate the smell as quickly as possible, dry the carpet as quickly as possible. That will eliminate the bacteria's ability to multiply, thereby ending the population explosion and the smell. Maybe beg, borrow or steal a dehumidifier and set that up in the middle of the carpet.
And, what you're carpet is telling you is that it's at the end of it's life. You can try vaccuuming it vigorously, but when carpets smell after getting wet the usual cause is that there's so much organic food accumulated so deep in the carpet that vaccuuming won't get it out, and it'll smell every time you shampoo it.
When a professional carpet cleaner is hired to shampoo an old carpet that he suspects is going to stink after cleaning, he'll add a bacteriacide to the solution tank water. So, the water he sprays down on the carpet kills all the bacteria it contacts, and that prevents the carpet smell. It's not the best way of doing things, but he'd rather do that than get complaints about the smell afterwards, or explain to the customer that they really need a new carpet and not get the job at all. You can buy bacteriacide for carpet cleaning at any place listed under "Janitorial Equipment & Supplies" in your Yellow Pages phone directory, and one bottle should be considered a life time supply since your best bet now is to replace that carpet.
And now you know why regular cleaning with a good vaccuum cleaner is the most effective way to increase the life of your carpet. Regular vaccuuming removes organic matter from the surface of the carpet before it has a chance to fall deep into the carpet pile where it can't be removed, but will provide food for the bacteria.
I am also surprised that your carpet will have accumulated this much organic matter in it in only two years. Normally, one would expect that to happen after 20 or 30 years. The only thing I can think of that might explain that is the presence of two dogs rubbing on the carpet combined with a lack of effective vaccuuming.
Reply to
I guess that's a good question.
I regularily shampoo the carpets in 19 rented apartments after tenants move out, and I never have to use a bacteriacide so it's something that just never crossed my mind. Why not use a bacteriacide just in case? The chemicals aren't expensive, and if I were going to shampoo someone else's carpet, where I really didn't know the condition of the carpet, it would be smart to use a bacteriacide in the solution tank just to make sure I didn't get complaints about the carpet smelling afterwards.
But, as I say, normally if a carpet cleaning contractor suspects there's going to be a smell, he'll use a bacteriacide. But, on a 2 year old carpet, he probably wouldn't have expected that he'd need to. But, I agree, it would have been smart for him to have used bacteriacide for the few cents it's going to cost just to prevent customer complaints.
Reply to
I had Stanley Steamer clean my carpet and have had a horrible smell since t= hey had done it. Called them back and told them about the odor and they cam= e back out and redid my carpets and both times used a live enzyme deodorize= r done. My carpet still has a horrible smell and it's not from any pets. Wh= at could be causing this smell?
Reply to
Maybe the machine operator chowed down a refried bean lunch right before your job and farted his way through your house.
Reply to
Piso Mojado writes:
No idea, but then you haven't given sufficient hints.
What does it smell like?
Does anyone else agree that it smells bad?
Is it everywhere they cleaned or in a specific place?
It could be that you just don't like the perfumes Stanley Steamer uses as their "deodorizer". I suggest you open the windows and doors and turn on any fans you have.
Reply to
Dan Espen
I suspect since the original post was in May, 1998, OP's either gotten used to it or replaced them or moved by now... :)
In reality, as the posters back then responded, in all likelihood there was a previous owner with pets and the steam cleaning dissolved existing pet urine in the carpet and pad and left the residual odors therefrom for the (then) current resident...
Reply to
dpb writes:
Goodness, I missed the "Re:" in front of the post but linda seemed to be posting about a new issue.
Reply to
Dan Espen
New response to old post; I'd venture the problem is the same, however; there is something in the carpet/pad from previous owner(s) that has been reactivated by the steam cleaning that is now the source of the odor.
With time the carpet/pads will fully dry again and it'll again abate and become "the new normal"...
'Tis a risk any time you try such a procedure if you don't have complete knowledge of the past it may come back to haunt.
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