How to Remove VOCs from Carpet: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to maintaining a clean and healthy indoor environment, addressing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is essential. VOCs are chemicals that can vaporize into the air, potentially leading to indoor air pollution and health concerns. 

Carpets, often found in homes and offices, can harbor VOCs, releasing them over time. In this guide, we’ll explore effective methods to remove VOCs from carpets, ensuring a safer and more comfortable living or working space.

Important information: Best Air Purifier in The Market

How to Remove VOCs from Carpet

How to Remove VOCs from Carpet?

Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are emitted as gases from various household products such as paints, cleaning agents, and carpets. 

These compounds can contribute to poor indoor air quality, leading to health issues like headaches, dizziness, and respiratory problems. VOCs are known to “off-gas” over time, and carpets can be a significant source of VOC emissions.

The Importance of VOC Removal from Carpets

Removing VOCs from carpets is crucial for maintaining a healthy indoor environment. Prolonged exposure to these compounds can be harmful, especially for children, the elderly, and individuals with preexisting health conditions. 

By effectively removing VOCs from carpets, you can reduce the risk of indoor air pollution and its associated health impacts.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

Before you begin the VOC removal process, gather the following tools and materials:

  • Vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Activated charcoal
  • Steam cleaner
  • Commercial carpet cleaner (low-VOC)
  • Clean, white cloth
  • Fans or open windows for ventilation

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing VOCs from Carpets

We’ve put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you effectively remove VOCs from your carpets. This guide not only outlines natural and DIY methods but also offers insights into commercial solutions and professional services. 

Step 1: Preparation – Clearing the Area and Ventilation

Before tackling the VOC issue, it’s essential to prepare the area properly. Clear the space around the carpet to ensure easy access. Open windows and use fans to facilitate proper ventilation. Adequate airflow will help disperse VOCs, reducing their concentration in the air.

Step 2: Vacuuming – Removing Loose Particles

Start by thoroughly vacuuming the carpet using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. This process will eliminate loose dirt, dust, and particles, including some VOCs that may have settled on the surface of the carpet fibers.

Step 3: Natural Remedies – Baking Soda and Vinegar

Create a natural cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of baking soda and water in a spray bottle. Spritz the mixture onto the carpet and gently scrub using a clean, white cloth. 

Baking soda serves a dual purpose: neutralizing odors and absorbing VOCs. To further enhance the effect, follow up by spraying a solution of water and white vinegar onto the carpet. Vinegar helps eliminate odors and contributes to the removal of VOCs.

Important information: Does Vinegar Absorb VOCs?

Step 4: Activated Charcoal – Absorbing VOCs

Strategically place bowls of activated charcoal around the room or directly on the carpet. Activated charcoal’s porous structure makes it highly effective at trapping and neutralizing VOCs. Allow the charcoal to sit for a few hours or overnight to maximize its absorption capabilities.

Step 5: Steam Cleaning – Thorough and Effective

Using a steam cleaner, give your carpet a thorough cleaning according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Steam cleaning not only lifts dirt and debris from the carpet fibers but also helps to remove some VOCs that may have adhered to the surface. 

This method is particularly effective in deep-cleaning your carpet and improving indoor air quality.

Step 6: Commercial Carpet Cleaners – Reading Labels and Proper Usage

If you choose to use a commercial carpet cleaner, opt for a low-VOC product to minimize the introduction of additional chemicals. Carefully read and follow the instructions on the label. 

Before applying the cleaner to the entire carpet, perform a patch test in an inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage.

Step 7: Professional Cleaning Services – When to Consider Them

In cases of stubborn VOC buildup or uncertainty about the best approach, consider enlisting the help of professional carpet cleaning services. 

These experts possess the knowledge, tools, and equipment necessary to effectively remove VOCs and restore your carpet’s freshness. They can assess the situation and recommend the most appropriate treatment to ensure your indoor air quality is significantly improved.

Important information: What Are Vocs In Paint?

Preventing Future VOC Buildup in Carpets

Now, we’ll explore effective strategies to prevent future VOC buildup in your carpets.

1. Choose Low-VOC Carpeting Materials:

One of the most proactive steps you can take to prevent future VOC buildup in carpets is to make informed choices when purchasing new carpets. 

Opt for low-VOC or eco-friendly carpeting materials. Carpets made from natural fibers, such as wool or cotton, tend to have lower VOC emissions compared to synthetic options. 

Look for carpets that have been certified by reputable organizations for low VOC emissions, such as GREENGUARD or Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus program.

2. Implement a No-Shoes Policy:

Outdoor pollutants, including VOCs, can easily find their way into your home via shoes. Implementing a no-shoes policy indoors can significantly reduce the introduction of these pollutants. 

Designate an area near the entrance for shoes to be left, and provide comfortable indoor slippers for family members and guests. 

This simple practice not only prevents VOCs from accumulating in carpets but also helps maintain a cleaner and healthier living environment.

3. Regular Vacuuming and Cleaning:

Regular maintenance is key to preventing the buildup of dust, dirt, and potential VOCs in carpets. Vacuum your carpets at least once a week using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. 

This will help remove particles that can trap VOCs and contribute to indoor air pollution. In addition to vacuuming, schedule periodic deep cleanings to thoroughly eliminate any accumulated pollutants.

4. Maintain Proper Indoor Air Circulation:

Proper ventilation is essential for maintaining good indoor air quality and preventing the buildup of VOCs. Open windows and use fans to ensure adequate air circulation throughout your home. 

Ventilation helps disperse indoor pollutants, including VOCs, and promotes the exchange of fresh outdoor air. Consider using exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms to further enhance airflow and reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants.

5. Use Air Purifiers with VOC Filters:

Investing in an air purifier equipped with VOC filters can provide an added layer of protection against indoor air pollutants. These specialized filters are designed to capture and remove VOCs from the air, helping to maintain a healthier indoor environment. 

Be sure to refer to our related article, “Best Air Purifiers for VOCs and Formaldehyde,” for recommendations on effective air purifiers that can complement your preventive efforts.

6. Proper Storage and Cleaning of Household Products:

Many household products, such as cleaning agents, paints, and solvents, can emit VOCs. Properly store these products in well-ventilated areas and seal containers tightly to prevent leaks. 

When using such products, ensure proper ventilation by opening windows and using exhaust fans. After using VOC-emitting products, promptly clean the area to prevent residual buildup on carpets and other surfaces.


Removing VOCs from carpets is a vital step toward creating a healthier indoor environment for you and your family. By following the outlined methods and preventive measures, you can significantly reduce VOC levels in your carpets and improve overall indoor air quality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are VOCs, and why are they harmful?

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that can vaporize into the air and contribute to indoor air pollution. Prolonged exposure to VOCs can lead to health issues.

Can I use any type of activated charcoal to absorb VOCs?

It’s best to use activated charcoal specifically designed for air purification. Regular charcoal may not have the same porous structure.

Is professional carpet cleaning necessary, or can I do it myself?

While DIY methods can be effective, professional carpet cleaning services have the expertise and equipment to ensure thorough VOC removal.

How often should I steam clean my carpets?

Steam cleaning carpets every 6 to 12 months, or as needed, can help maintain a healthy indoor environment.

Are VOCs only found in carpets?

No, VOCs can be emitted from various household products, including paints, cleaning agents, and furniture.

Kristen Park - Specialised Content Writer for Caresh Fresh

My name is Kristen Park and I am a senior writer specialising in how-to guides and home cleaning information at Cares Fresh. As a researcher, I take pride in digging deep to find every small detail on a topic and explaining it in a way that is easy for the reader to understand.