Carpet Smells Like Corn Chips—What To Do?

Is there a lingering smell of corn chips on your carpet, and you want to know how you can get rid of it? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.

Sprinkle baking soda on the affected area of your carpet. Work the baking soda into the carpet fibers using a soft-bristled brush. The more baking soda you use, the better it will get rid of the odor.

Let’s talk more about the right way to clean your carpet in the succeeding sections. Learn how to get rid of odors early before they become a bigger problem down the road.

Read on!

Pulled Back Carpet and Padding In Room of House - Carpet Smells Like Corn Chips—What To Do

How do odors work?

Odors or scents come from substances that release molecules. Some substances release molecules easier than others. This molecule releasing ability is referred to as volatility.

The more volatile a substance, the more easily it releases molecules into the air. The more molecules a substance releases, the stronger its smell.

Volatile substances can easily change part of their composition to a gaseous state. Non-volatile materials, on the other hand, like most metals, have very little or no smell at all.

The diffusion process allows the molecules of odors to travel through the air. Scent molecules and air particles move freely in different directions because of diffusion.

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How do humans detect smells?

The human nose has around six million olfactory sensory neurons for detecting smell. There is always a thin layer of mucus over these neurons.

Water-soluble scent molecules can easily attach themselves to this layer of mucus.

Once the odor molecule finds its way to the mucus layer and latches there, the neurons will send a message to the brain about what the molecules smell like.

The human sense of smell is more sensitive to biological sources. Examples of these are decaying organic matter or food. The human brain considers organic scents more important because they could be an indicator of illness or injury.

Smelly Emotions

Because of the human brain’s anatomy, the area of the brain that handles memories is connected to the part of the brain that processes the different odors. What this means is that the scents that we smell take the superhighway to the regions of the brain that handles memory and emotions.

What this means is that the different odors that we encounter every day can make us feel specific emotions. Bad odors can make us feel negative emotions, while good odors can make us feel positive emotions.

Thus, if your house has a bad smell, your mind can remind you of things that are close to that smell, like rotting food, dead animals, mold, etc.

How to remove bad odors from the carpet?

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Now that we understand more about how odors work and why you should immediately get rid of the lingering smell of corn chips from your carpet, you can plan how to remove the corn chip odor from your carpet.

Your carpet can have two types of odors:

  1. The first type of odor is surface odor. It is the odor that the surface fibers of your carpet absorb from light spills that you clean off right away.
  2. The second type of odor is the deep odor. Deep odor is the type of odor that penetrates the fibrous layer of the carpet and gets to the primary and secondary fiber backing at the bottom of the carpet.

Deep odors are harder to remove because the source of the odor can get to the carpet padding, which prevents the liquid from passing further. This helps the source to accumulate at that level.

How to remove the surface odor?

Baking soda is effective at removing surface odors from your carpet.

Use Baking Soda

Locate where the odor of corn chips is strongest. Start working the baking soda into that area, massaging it into the fabric of the carpet with a soft toothbrush or with your hand. Just remember to wear gloves before using your hand to spread the baking soda.

Add more baking soda around the initial spot until you neutralize the odor of corn chips in your carpet. Once you get rid of the odor, use a vacuum to remove the baking soda from the carpet.

Use Vinegar

If the odor is still at the same spot after applying baking soda, then the source of the odor could be deeper, and the baking soda can no longer reach the source of the remaining odor.

Mix equal parts cleaning vinegar and water into a sprayer. Spray the area with the solution. Don’t worry the smell of vinegar will eventually go away once it dries.

Soak the area in the solution for around 20 minutes. Place a clean dry cloth over the area to soak the excess solution and help dry it.

If you still have the smell of corn chips after the area dries, repeat the process of applying and soaking with the cleaning vinegar solution.

Lucy’s Natural Distilled White Vinegar is available on Amazon through this link.

How does baking soda gets rid of odors?

Close-up of baking soda in a glass jar. Bicarbonate of soda.

One of baking soda’s properties is the ability to change the state of odor molecules. Powerful odors mostly come from strong acid compounds or potent base compounds.

Baking soda can change the acidic or basic state of the molecules into a more neutral state. The odor molecules lose their odors at this state.

Baking soda can eliminate the smell of corn chips on your carpet, even in its powder form. You don’t have to mix it in water, although it is still effective even when you mix it with water.

See Millard baking soda on Amazon through this link. 

How to remove deep odors from the carpet?

Deep odors in your carpet often come from liquid sources. A liquid source can quickly reach the bottom of your carpet and soak that area. The odor becomes hard to remove unless you can reach the source of the odor.

You can start with the solution above and place it in a steamer. Steam the area and let it soak. Follow it up with isopropyl alcohol on the steamer.

Repeat the steps above until you get rid of the odor.

If the odor problem comes with mold issues, you will need to call a professional carpet cleaner to help you with the situation.

What are the signs of mold and mildew on carpets?

A musty odor on your carpet is the most common sign of mold or mildew. Look for any sources of dampness. Moisture can come and go, these sources aren't necessarily permanent.

House plants can be a source of dampness whenever you water them. If some of the water from the leaves or pot finds its way to the floor, it can get your carpet wet. However, this is not a permanent source if you do not water your plants daily.

Another thing to look out for is discoloration. Light-colored carpets can have visible discoloration, which is a sign of moisture. Touch the area and check for dampness or moisture.

Unfortunately, discoloration might not be noticeable on dark carpets.

Unexplained allergies in family members can be a sign of mold in the carpet. Chronic coughs and colds are possible reactions to molds in the carpet.

Getting Rid Of Mold In Carpet

Pulled Back Carpet and Padding In Room of House.

You can handle a mold problem yourself if your carpet is less than 10 square feet.

However, you should consult the EPA for water damage or mold issues in an area beyond 10 square feet.

It is best to hire a professional to get rid of carpet molds. Hire a professional that can also check for possible water leaks and damage to your floor.


Natural odor removers like baking soda and vinegar are effective against corn chip odors in carpets. It's a good idea to remove odors, not only for your comfort, but also to ensure a clean well-maintained carpet.

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