Best Carpet Powders

Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for best carpet powder

Cleaning your carpet to remove dirt, stains, and odors can be a time-consuming chore, but you don't necessarily need water and liquid detergents for great results. Achieving a cleaner, fresher-smelling carpet can be as easy as sprinkling on some carpet powder before you vacuum.

From neutralizing tough odors to giving your vacuum a dirt-removing boost, carpet powder is available in various formulas that work in different ways. While some contain scents that temporarily mask odors, others use deodorizing agents that banish them from the carpet's fibers for good. Multipurpose powder also has ingredients that attach to dirt, pet hair, and stains when activated and whisk them away with the help of a vacuum's suction power.

The type of carpet powder that will work best for you depends on your carpet-cleaning needs. Whether you want a fresh aroma in your room or have dirt and stains to tackle, our detailed information and product recommendations will help you find the best carpet powder for you. 

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Carpet powder is great for pet owners because it can deodorize and neutralize common odors from accidents on carpet.

Key considerations

Carpet powder can do many great things for your carpet, but there are a few concerns to consider, too. Here are the main pros and cons associated with carpet powder.


  • Eliminates stubborn odors trapped in carpet. It works on odors from many sources, including cigarette smoke, mold, pets, and cooking.

  • Easy to use. Simply sprinkle the powder on your carpets, wait a few minutes, and pick it up with your vacuum. Some brands require a special misting spray to activate, but this is also an easy step.

  • Adds a fresh, clean aroma to the carpet.

  • Helps remove stains. Some brands make dirt and stains easier to remove, and some can even soak up spills.

  • Comes in natural, plant-based formulas.

  • Uses no water. No drying time is required.

  • Economical choice. Powder is affordable, plus a little typically goes a long way to make carpet smell great. 


  • Can leave a dusty residue. Using carpet powder can leave a residue on furniture and other items in the room.

  • Some powder is left behind. Not all the powder particles get sucked up when you vacuum, and they can remain trapped deep in carpet fibers and padding.

  • Difficult to use on deep or thick carpets.

  • May not remove large, deep, or set-in stains. 

How it works

Not all carpet powder works the same way, so think about your goals and cleaning needs before you choose one. Here is a look at what to expect depending on the carpet powder you buy.

Freshen: The job of freshening carpet powder is to cover up unwanted odors. It contains perfumes or natural essential oils to accomplish this goal. Many types of freshening powder are quite affordable, but the results usually only last from a few hours to a few days before you need to reapply the powder.

Deodorize: Think of carpet powder with deodorizing properties as a step up from those that simply freshen. Also referred to as “odor neutralizing,” this powder contains additives like baking soda and enzymes that can eliminate most odors in carpet. In addition, it also adds an appealing scent that makes your carpet and room smell fantastic. 

Clean: This type of carpet powder is made to remove stains and even absorb spills. When sprinkled on a liquid, the powder soaks it up and dries quickly so you can vacuum away the mess. Some varieties work with a solution that you spray on the carpet first to activate and loosen deep, set-in stains. Additionally, this type of carpet powder could easily be considered multipurpose, because it also removes odors and may even reduce allergens and bacteria from dirt and pet hair.

How to use it

Carpet powder is easy to apply. Most products come in cans or boxes with small holes in the top similar to those found on baby powder containers that are designed for sprinkling. Using a slow, side-to-side motion will distribute the powder evenly without allowing too much to fall in one spot. Carpet powder that absorbs liquids, sometimes referred to as dry cleaning powder, is the exception. It’s often available in tubs, but it may come with a scoop or sifter for easy application. 

Once the carpet powder is applied, the wait time before you vacuum it up can vary greatly. While some products recommend vacuuming within a few minutes, others can be left on carpet for hours or even days. That’s why it’s important to follow the instructions on the product you purchase to achieve the best results. 

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Did you know?
Did you know you can use carpet powder to freshen items other than carpet? Sprinkle it in litter boxes, garbage cans, and upholstered furniture to neutralize odors.



Carpet powder comes in a variety of scents, so think about the fragrance you prefer before you choose. Floral, fruity, and spicy scents are available. 


Carpet powder works using two main ingredients: the base and the fragrance. Baking soda is commonly used as the base because of its odor-absorbing abilities. However, some carpet powder is made of plant-based ingredients like ground-up corn cobs.

Although artificial ingredients are often used to give carpet powder its fragrance, some powder is scented with essential oils derived from plants, which are suitable for consumers who prefer to use natural products.  

Some carpet powder contains additional ingredients like silica to help loosen dirt and pet hair for easier lifting and removal during vacuuming. Sodium sulfate, a compound that attracts moisture, is often found in carpet powder that is designed to absorb liquid.

Carpet powder prices

Carpet powder isn’t just easy to use, it’s also affordable. A little also typically goes a long way, so using carpet powder can be an economical way to improve the smell of your carpet and home. 

Inexpensive: You can find carpet powder for about $3 to $6 per box or canister. Buying it in single packs is a good idea if you’re trying out a particular brand or scent. 

Mid-range: If you want to commit to more than just one pack of carpet powder, you’ll save a little money by buying in bulk. For around $12 to $30 you can purchase multipacks of carpet powder containing on average three to six boxes or canisters of your favorite product.

Expensive: Carpet powder that freshens odors and absorbs spills and messes costs a bit more than the varieties that simply neutralize smells. Although you may pay between $35 and $45 for a tub or container of liquid-absorbing carpet powder, it will go a long way. Top-selling brands typically have enough product to clean as many as ten rooms or absorb numerous spills. 


  • Determine how much carpet powder to apply. Consider the intensity of the odor in your carpet before you sprinkle on the carpet powder. You’ll need to apply more for strong, stubborn odors but a smaller amount if you just want to freshen up the room a bit.

  • Apply with a consistent side-to-side motion. This method will distribute it evenly throughout the room. 

  • Be careful when sprinkling carpet powder around shelves and tables. Using a heavy hand is likely to result in powder getting on the furniture.

  • Wait the appropriate length of time before vacuuming. Waiting between 5 and 15 minutes is suitable in most cases, but it’s okay to leave the powder on longer if you have tough odors to neutralize. What’s more, some powder is designed to be left on carpet for several days before vacuuming. 

  • Follow the instructions carefully. This is particularly important if you choose a carpet powder that’s made to absorb liquid. The process may require using a spray product first, which may or may not be included. This process is useful for removing stains as well as spills. 

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Don’t give up on carpet powder if you pick one and find that you don’t like the scent. There are many options available, and one is sure to please your sense of smell.


Q. I’m sensitive to strong fragrances. Can I use carpet powder?
A. Yes, but be careful when you choose the scent. Scents that are fruity or sweet (like vanilla) tend to be a bit less overpowering than floral or spicy fragrances. Also, be sure to vacuum thoroughly within a few minutes of sprinkling it on your carpet so the lingering aroma is pleasant but not too strong. 

Q. Can I use any type of carpet powder on wet carpet?
A. You shouldn’t, because it could clump and be difficult to remove. It’s okay to use brands that are made to absorb moisture on wet areas. Otherwise, wait until your carpet is dry before applying carpet powder and vacuuming

Q. Will carpet powder eliminate odors for good?
A. Yes and no. Powder that contains odor-neutralizing ingredients like plant-based ingredients or baking soda do the best job of removing odors. However, it may take several applications to achieve noticeable results. Keep in mind that extreme odors may be more difficult to remove, and steam cleaning the area first and allowing it to dry before using carpet powder may help. 

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