Settling In, Or Not, As the Case May Be

We’re still trying to sort ourselves out in the new house. We found a bit of mould on the ceiling in the master bedroom and the wall of the spare bedroom. Nothing major and probably mostly the result of having the carpets cleaned in the middle of a particularly damp winter before moving out and shutting up the house for three weeks. (The previous owner kindly, but as it turns out, ill-advisedly, had the carpets in every room commercially cleaned for us.) But enough that I don’t want to move into the master bedroom until we’ve had it painted. My plan was to live in the smallest room while that happened but that was stymied by the mould we found in there. (I’ve since discovered that a northerly blows rain right through the caulking around the old wooden window frames in that room – no wonder it was a tad damp. The northerly is our prevailing wind.)

We cleaned the spare room with exit mould and slept where we could (in the lounge or snuggled up with Petra) while we waited for the ammonia smell to clear. It has, but the room is still choking me.

I couldn’t figure it out until we dragged some furniture around in the lounge and scuffed up the carpet causing both Travis and me to sneeze and wheeze. The damn solvents they used to clean the carpets are the choking culprit. I’m not quite sure what to do about it, short of lifting the carpets and either replacing them or sanding the hardwood floors.

The internet tells me to vacuum often and suggests that vinegar might help as might baking soda, and warns me that if the smell doesn’t lift, the carpets will have to go. Oh yay. New carpets stink and are expensive. And sanding and varnishing floors adds mess as well as smell to the mix.

I’m spritzing vinegar around today and crossing my fingers that it will eat up the smell. And once it’s dried and I’ve vacuumed again, I might sprinkle baking soda around the place to see what it can do.

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2 Responses to Settling In, Or Not, As the Case May Be

  1. iamroewan says:

    In Florida, an extremely humid and moldy place with icky smells lurking everywhere, people put aluminum pie plates with pieces of charcoal in closets and dresser drawers. I don’t know if charcoal (e.g., bbq brickets) will absorb solvents but it does wonders with bad smells and mold.

    That said, if I were you and I had the budget to do it, I would get new underpad and reinstall the (dried out) carpet on top. It`s probably the old underpad that`s holding on to the cleaning solution and won`t dry out. You can get underpad that’s impervious to moisture or has a moisture barrier on top. It won’t absorb stains or cleaning solutions so that makes it much much easier to clean the carpets themselves. In Canada you can get carpet that’s certified to conform to certain minimal levels of VOCs. (

    Or, assuming you are able to get the carpet and underpad dry but there`s still some sort of lingering smell, you could try spraying with an anti-bacterial spray such as Febreeze.

    • Janettes says:

      Bbq brickets – good idea. I kept reading about activated charcoal and not being quite sure what form that might take or where I’d get it from. I’ll get some and put it in the wardrobes and cupboards as a prophylactic.
      The carpet is improving after lots of vacuuming and liberal application of vinegar in the high traffic areas and baking soda in the rooms we’re not using at the moment. I’m hopeful that a few more applications will entirely remove any lingering solvent smells.

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