The best carpet powder
The next time your furry friend has an accident on the rug, grab some carpet powder to neutralize odors, get rid of stains, and freshen up your space. Unlike hardwood floors, carpeted surfaces require an extra dose of TLC. Vacuuming alone can't eliminate deep-seated odors and stains. A quality carpet powder, like our top choice, Capture Carpet Dry Cleaner, is an additional tool for keeping your home fresh and clean. Read the following shopping guide for tips on finding the right carpet powder for you.
Considerations when choosing carpet powders
Why a carpet powder?
Carpet powder can eliminate stubborn, trapped odors from such things as cigarette smoke, cooking, and pets. It's easy to apply: Just sprinkle the powder on your carpet, wait a prescribed period of time, and vacuum the area. Some products are scented and leave behind a pleasant aroma, and some fight stains in addition to odors. There's no water needed, so you won't have to wait hours for a soaked carpet to dry. And carpet powders are an economical cleaning choice.
On the other hand, a few "negatives" to keep in mind: An application of powder can leave behind dusty residue, and powder isn't always completely sucked up by a vacuum. Carpet powder may not clean carpet with dense fibers thoroughly enough. And finally, very large stains or ones that have been hanging around a while are no match for carpet powder.
How carpet powders work
Depending on the type of carpet powder you buy, the product may perform a variety of functions. A powder that freshens is designed to cover up unpleasant smells, usually with perfumes or essential oils. Fresheners are inexpensive but merely cover up odors and don't neutralize them. Deodorizers, on the other hand, neutralize odors using additives such as baking soda and enzymes that physically remove smells from carpeting.
Some powders also clean carpeting and are capable of removing stains. Cleaning powder is usually paired with deodorizing properties.
Using carpet powder
Apply carpet powder by sprinkling it directly onto the carpet's surface. Try to distribute the powder evenly. Check the packaging for instructions on how long to wait before vacuuming up the residue -- in some cases, you may have to wait a few days.
Be sure to choose a scent that you find pleasant. Scented powders typically have a strong smell, and it'll be tough to live with if you hate it.
Baking soda is a common base ingredient in carpet powder because it's excellent at absorbing odors. Some carpet powders utilize plant-based ingredients like essential oils (to mask odors) and ground corn. Silica is sometimes included in carpet powder formulas as it helps lift dirt and pet hair from deep inside carpet fibers. Some stain-fighting powders meant to tackle fresh spills contain sodium sulfate, which absorbs liquids.
Carpet powders cost between $3 to $45 depending on the brand and format. A single canister won't cost you more than $6, while a large tub that freshens, deodorizes, and removes stains can cost up to $45.
Q. Will carpet powders work on a wet rug or carpet?
A. Some carpet powders are designed for use on wet surfaces (e.g., to absorb spilled liquids), but most should be applied to a dry carpet for maximum effectiveness.
Q. Will this type of cleaner remove odors permanently?
A. It can take several applications before odors are neutralized completely. Note that a product that masks odors will not remove smells permanently.
Carpet powders we recommend
Best of the best: Capture Carpet Dry Cleaner Powder
Our take: An effective odor-lifting spot cleaner for stinky, grubby carpets around your home.
What we like: Safe for use on a variety of carpet fibers, including wool. Suitable for tackling pet stains, too.
What we dislike: May require an additional spray product for removing tough stains.
Best bang for your buck: Glade Carpet and Room Powder
Our take: A pleasant-smelling powder ideal for masking everyday pet odors.
What we like: Long-lasting scent coverup in a calming lavender, vanilla scent. A little goes a long way. Takes almost no time at all to work.
What we dislike: Leaves some residue.
Our take: A soft-scented citrus powder that's designed for pet stains and odors.
What we like: Freshens, deodorizes, and absorbs liquids with ease. Takes only a few minutes to smell noticeable results.
What we dislike: Container is small, so it doesn't last very long.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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