Why Does My Carpet Have a Wet Dog Smell After a Deep Cleaning?

a puppy sits on the carpet | mendota carpet cleaningDid you just go through all the work of renting a steam cleaner to give your carpet a deep cleaning only to have your carpet smelling worse? Or do you have the greater frustration of paying a professional carpet cleaning service with the result of a worse-smelling carpet? When you’re expecting it to smell great and be super clean, that bad carpet smell is very frustrating. The good news is that this smell may be normal and it will clear up. Or it may need a little intervention. Possibly it could be bad news, but let’s hope it’s one of the first two possibilities before we talk about that.

When the “wet dog smell” is not a dog problem

The number one reason why a carpet may smell worse after a deep cleaning is that it is the carpet and/or backing is not fully dry. Some carpets smell worse than others when wet, and many people say that woollen carpets do have a wet dog smell when damp. The solution? Get the carpet dry. Open windows. Run fans. Roll in the dehumidifier. Keep running fans directly on the carpet for a day or more after they seem to be dry. If the backing is left damp, mildew could develop and that is going to make it smell even worse! So be sure to get the carpet dry.

If deep cleaning is leaving your carpet wet for a day or two, this is likely a problem. Perhaps the rented steam cleaning machine did not have powerful enough suction. If the professional carpet cleaner was not using a truck-based cleaner, their machine may not have been powerful enough. It could be that too much water was put on the carpet (especially in stained areas). But higher humidity or problems with air circulation can also prevent proper drying.

When the “wet dog smell” is a dog problem

The other reason why a carpet could smell worse after a deep cleaning is that the cleaning re-activated an odor from a deep stain. Maybe the stain is no longer visible, but the odor is still trapped in the backing under the carpet. Sometimes this type of odor will stop when the spot is dry again. Sprinkling baking soda on the carpet or leaving out a box or two of baking soda can absorb the odor.

If you are aware of the location of a particularly bad spill or stain, even if the carpet now looks clean, you may want to do spot cleaning and let it soak through the carpet down into the backing. If the family dog (or cat) had an “accident” on the carpet, clean that area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner (see your veterinarian).


If drying the carpet and spot cleaning after “Spot” has not eliminated the bad smell, it could be that your carpet is too old (or too stained) to come clean. If a good truck-based professional deep cleaning does not eliminate the odor, it’s probably time to replace the carpet. If you’re looking for more information, give your team at Triple Service a call today!

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