How to Remove Sour Milk Odors from Carpet


Chris asked: How do I remove the smell of sour milk from car carpet? I just bought a car, and the back seat carpet has an awful odor of spilled milk. I have tried washing it with a Bissell carpet cleaner, vinegar in a bowl for 24 hours, and rubbing baking soda into the fibers. Still have odor.

Sour milk leaves a strong odor that can become overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a variety of items that can be used to remove the odor quickly and nearly effortlessly.

Coffee Grounds Method

  • Sprinkle fresh (unused) coffee grounds onto the carpet. Allow it to set for at least a couple of hours. Then vacuum away.

Vinegar Method

  • Set a bowl of vinegar in the odor-filled area for a several days. It also works to spray the vinegar directly onto the carpet. Blot it up with a clean cloth or remove with a steam cleaner. There will be a slight vinegar odor, but it will dissipate as the carpet dries.

Carpet Deodorizer Method

  • Carpet deodorizers (Ex: Carpet Fresh for Pets) designed for pets are made to absorb odors. Sprinkle some over the affected area and allow it to set for a day or so. Vacuum away when the smell is gone.

OdoBan Method

  • OdoBan is a commercial odor-removal product. It is readily available at Wal-Mart, etc. Follow the application instructions on the package to remove odors from all kinds of surfaces.

Peroxide Method

  • Regular hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove odors as well. Before spraying on the entire carpet check a small area first. Only use regular household peroxide. The kind used to bleach hair is too aggressive and will bleach the carpet. Spray it on and allow it to set until it stops “fizzling.” Blot it with a clean cloth or remove it with a steam cleaner or wet vac.

Enzyme Cleaner Method

  • There are products available, such as Nature’s Miracle that are designed to remove the proteins that leave odors, such as cat urine. Milk odors also come from proteins left in the carpet. Applying these enzyme-based products will help to eliminate the odor. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Any of the above methods can be repeated until the odor is removed.


  1. Fiona says:

    I have tryed coffee and it was a nightmare because it was wet a little bit. The coffee melted and it has made it worse. Someone else must know of a better idea to get rid of a bad odor?

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