Make Your Own Deodorizing Carpet Powder

carpet powder

I don’t do it very often…but sometimes it’s nice to boost the “clean smell” of the house by sprinkling the carpets with a little “carpet deodorant”.

I can only imagine that if you had pets it would be more of a NECESSITY than a NICETY.

But when I happened to look at my $5.00 container of carpet powder recently and saw the ingredients….

Benzyl Benzoate

Sodium aluminosilicate

Sodium sulfate


…..I figured there had to be a better alternative.

Of course there was….and not only is it made from all natural ingredients (Yes! Borax IS a “natural” ingredient!) it’s also made with products easily found in your local grocery store and is fairly inexpensive!

So now you can keep your carpets smelling fresh without bringing unnecessary chemicals into your home.

Natural Carpet Powder

1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon your choice of essential oils (sweet orange oil is a natural flea repellent)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cloves (cloves help deter moths)

  • Combine borax and baking soda in glass or plastic bowl.
  • Add about 20-25 drops of essential oil OR a teaspoon of cinnamon or ground cloves.
  • Stir to combine until the mixture is free of lumps.
  • Transfer powder to an empty container (an empty cheese container would work nicely.)
  • Shake the powder onto your carpets at let sit for 15 to 20 minutes before vacuuming.

Tip #1:  Don’t use ground cinnamon or cloves if you have a lighter colored carpet and you’re worried about potential staining. You can use cinnamon or clove essential oil instead if you still want to incorporate their scent into your carpet powder.

Tip #2: If you or someone in your family is sensitive to smells, use plain baking soda only for your carpeting. It is effective in neutralizing the odors in the room.

Enjoy your fresh carpets! 



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  1. Deedee says

    I know you said orange oil is a natural flea repellent but are the other ingredients pet safe as well? I have a Jug…half Pug and half Jack Russell so he’s close to the floor. I LOVE your tips and ideas and use MANY of them!

  2. says

    This is a great post—but let me tell you my story, if I may:
    I had to get new carpet and when the carpenters pulled it up I couldn’t believe all the powder I saw
    from the carpet powders I used over the years—I love having fresh smelling carpet but the carpenters
    told us that it’s not good to use powders on your carpet because they sink all the way down to the floor and the vacuum cleaner cannot/will not pick it up—BUT I think if you have a good vacuum cleaner that has powerful suction will do–WELLL, mine is good but now I’m questioning if I should get a better vacuum—your thoughts on this please—-and thank you!

  3. Melissa says

    Jillee, do you think this would work on upholstery? We recently bought a couch from a friend who was moving, and though it’s in great condition, it still smells a little like her dogs.

    • Zoquara says

      Yes! I recently used a baking soda/scented oil mix on the part of my couch that’s under the cushions because it smelled like cat litter (not dirty, just that dusty, open cat litter bag smell). I let it sit about 20 minutes, then vacuumed it up, and it smelled SO much better! (the rest of the couch is leather, so I didn’t use it on that part).

  4. Karina Olsen says

    I have a recipe for a wonderful deodorizer. When my cat lost the fight with a racoon he got even with me for taking him to the vet – by spraying the back of my sofa. I used this once, let it dry, used it again and eight years later still have the same sofa. I use this on everything and have never had a problem.

    12 oz peroxide
    1 t baking soda
    1/2 t Dawn

    Mix in a spray bottle and use as necessary. It’s that easy!

  5. April says

    I know this isn’t “natural” by any means, but I do this all the time when I want some fragrance, but don’t want to keep re-purchasing glade carpet freshener every time I turn around. Once the carpet freshener container is empty it still has an incredibly strong scent in the container. Once I have used all the carpet freshener, I pop the top off the container and refill it 3/4 of the way full of baking soda leaving the extra room to give it a good shake and let it sit until the next time I want to use it. The baking soda takes on the leftover scent and viola! a new container of carpet freshener. You can do this several times before the container actually loses it’s scent and even once it does, you still have a shaker container for plain baking soda.

  6. Jacqueline says

    I have a 1 year old walking baby. Are the powders safe for him? I know I’ve heard that you shouldn’t use baby powder because they can inhale it and it cause respiratory problems. So I don’t, I use corn starch when he has a rash but I’m concerned about the possibility of him inhaling borax or baking soda or even the spices. Not sure if it’s safe. Also, don’t have the greatest vacuum ever. :(

  7. Susan says

    How did you know that I was having an old friend as a guest for 10 days and needed to freshen the carpet in that room??? My dog did a bit of spraying on the boxes in there when we were moving. Cleaned the carpet but still sort of a pet smell so I sprinkled this liberally and will be letting it sit for an hour or so.

    Be careful of citrus around cats though. Apparently they don’t like it.

    • Katie says

      Many essential oils are toxic to cats, especially citrus oils. Over time, they will cause kidney failure & other problems. Borax is an excellent treatment for flees. Left on carpet for 30+ minutes it will kill flees. But you don’t want your pets or children rolling in it, so apply while they are not around and vacuum well. Thanks for the recipe. I love the combination of Sandlewood, Sweet Orange and cloves.

  8. Mary says

    thanks we are fighting Fleas right now and the pet shop told us to put Borax on the carpet that the fleas can not breath and die. But the eggs are still there and will hatch so we will be fighting that for months to come. but my whole house looked like it snowed here in California!! thanks for the post

    • says

      Salt will dehydrate the flea eggs as well. Regardless of one’s opinion on the safety of borax and pets, the only risk with regular table salt is that the pets will get dehydrated just like the fleas (and larvae, and eggs). To combat this, be sure to put a bowl of water in each room. The fleas will be drawn to the water, so if you put a splash of vinegar in the water it will break the surface tension. Fleas drown, and the acid helps with water absorption in the animals the same as we drink lemonade or tea. You’ll want to create a safe haven for the pets to be away from the salty carpets, either by allowing them on the furniture or giving them a carpet on the floor they can seek refuge.

      A nice all-natural flea bath is to simmer citrus rinds and rosemary in water for a few minutes, allow to cool, and add apple cider vinegar. Scrub the animals with it, and the fleas will be repelled. If you can’t really scrub them to the skin, at least dip your hand in and pet them with it a few times, getting their fur as damp as you can. No need to rinse off. The mixture is great for dry skin regardless of fleas, and soothes the flea bites they have already. (I also recommend wiping your feet and ankle with this before salting the carpets, it made the fleas very hungry and they were attacking us like crazy until we wiped this stuff on our feet.) Also a great cleanser for furniture!

      We have had two different roommates, quite a while apart, whose cats brought home fleas. The combination of these methods killed even the worst infestation, one that had gone on for months without the offending roommate taking any responsibility to do anything about it. $7 for a 50lb bag of salt, $2 for a pack of rosemary, and $.50 each for a couple oranges, and for exactly $10 we had enough salt to treat the 2000 sq ft house twice (or in our case to go totally gung-ho about salting, probably used too much) and enough rosemary bath to wash all the cats and wipe down all the leather furniture to repel the fleas. Never had a re-infestation until a roommate down the line had another outdoor cat that brought them home, we re-treated and started wiping the cats every week or so with what we dubbed “rosemary tea” and despite the indoor-outdoor nature of two cats, we never had any fleas that stayed. Really, it wasn’t even a terrible hassle after the first time. Nothing more than we’d do for a good deep vacuuming anyway.

      • Heather says

        Wow Heather, I’m making this “tea” right now and hoping for the best! This dry weather has made the fleas HORRIBLE by us! My poor pups – we can’t seem to get ahead of them! What kind of measurements are you using??

  9. Helen says

    This is almost the same thing I already so, the only difference is I don’t use borax. It works great and the house smells so nice. I don’t use it every time, usually every other.

  10. Cat says

    FYI: I have been doing this for years, but the Hepa filter in my vacuum (Dyson) does not like it. When I do my normal maintenance on the filter (every 3 months) it looks like . . . well its just BAD. Just make sure to maintain your suction device after a a carpet freshening.

  11. debbie says

    i would suggest evacuating children and pets from the area and wearing a mask while you do this. powders are very irritating to the lungs even if they are natural. i don’t mean to be a “debbie downer” because this is a good tip and i will do it wearing a mask. i worked for an eco friendly laundry powder manufacturer in the office, they mixed the powders in the warehouse, but i had major problems after only 6 weeks of working there and my doctor suggested i wear a mask daily or quit before i ended up in the hospital. i had never had lung issues before that. the ingredients were totally safe and natural. it was just the fact it was a powder that was causing all the problems.

  12. Mama T says

    I do this as well, and have for years. I just use baking soda and essential oils/fragrance oils. My favorite is Brown Sugar and Spice that is left over from a bath/beauty business. I would like to suggest that when you get ready to vacuum it up, either have a clean canister or empty bag. After vacuuming, rinse your filters if you have washable ones, or at least shake them out thoroughly.

  13. Linda says

    Just mixed up and used a batch. House smells great. Mixed an extra batch in an old Chinese take out container (like the ones wonton soup come in)that I poked holes in the top of for future use.

    • Dave says

      Borax and other borates clean and bleach by converting some water molecules to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). The pH of borax is about 9.5, so it produces a basic solution in water, thereby increasing the effectiveness of bleach and other cleaners.

      The boron, salt, and/or oxygen of boron inhibit the metabolic processes of many organisms. This characteristic allows borax to disinfect and kill unwanted pests.

      Borates bonds with other particles to keep ingredients dispersed evenly in a mixture, which maximizes the surface area of active particles to enhance cleaning power.

  14. Brittany says

    I have two dogs and two cats, I use this every other vacuuming and it makes the house smell nice and clean. I use the orange essential oil, but want to try others! I store mine in an empty Downy Unstoppable container and it works great!

  15. Kirstie says

    We got pets and usually use flea powder carpet stuff. Was thinking of getting a small bottle of this pet flea powder and add to it. this way I’m getting the flea part and the carpet fresher as one.

  16. Mary says

    A word of caution about baking soda and carpets.

    My sister in law used this method of baking soda on her carpets years ago. She had an excellent Kirby vacuum, but developed a problem over time. No vacuum is 100% effective at picking up all the baking soda or anything else in a carpet. Over time, the baking soda that was not vacuumed up remained in the carpet and continued to do its job — absorb odor. Now the odors she was trying to eliminate were trapped in her carpet and the carpet was replaced long before its time.

  17. Dawn says

    I am so,trying this tonight!! My daughter’s room smelled musty when I went in earlier, and Febreze helped a bit. I know its the carpet. As for vacuums, the rainbow vacuum beats them all. Very powerful suction, and the filter is the tub of water on the bottom. New ones are very expensive, but you can easily find older models for less than $100. Thanks for sharing this! I use a lot of your stuff. =)

  18. Felicity says

    I used sweet orange EO and my entire house now smells amazing!! Didn’t have borax and ended up using more oil then suggested.Also used a broom to really work it in ( I only have a large area rug)!! Thank you so much jillee!!

  19. CTY says

    Just looking up the suggested quantities. Since you posted about Spark Naturals EOs I can now afford to add this frilly bonus to my DIY/green cleaners.
    But are the measurements right– 1tsp of EO (that’s a whole 5 mL bottle)–just for 1 C of deodorizer. Seems like too much & overpowering.

  20. Alexander Emmert says

    Insect bites are annoying and potential threats to both humans and animals. Fortunately, flea bites are not as dangerous as many other insect bites. Although you do not need to contact your doctor as soon as it starts itching all over the body, you must still be aware of allergic reactions and rashes. Fleas can be carriers of many different types of bacteria and viral diseases, and they are known to transmit tapeworms. Even if the fleas do not have infections, flea bites can still drive both animals and humans mad when they come in big groups, and they are not easy to get rid of. I’ll show you how to treat and prevent flea bites.”^….

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  21. Dave says

    You made a mixture of Disodium Tetraborate (borax), Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda), and Fragrances (essential oils).

    How is that any better than the Sodium Aluminosilicate, Sodium Sulfate, and fragrances that you were so scared of?

    Just because something is chemical sounding on the label (as required by laws so people can know what is in it) does not make it bad. Some very normal things in the world have scary sounding chemical names, like Dihydrogen monoxide (water).

    That being said, yes, Sodium Bicarbonate is a wonderful deodorizer. I use it all of the time.

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