Skip to Content

How to Remove Carpet and Subfloor Odors

When I moved into my first home, the carpet smelled awful. As soon as I got the keys to my new home, I learned how to remove carpet and carpet padding. Here are tips and tricks on how to pull up carpet!

Ripping Up Carpet

I thought removing the carpet would get rid of the odor, but I was wrong because the the subfloor smelled too.

Read on to find out how to remove carpet and odors from your subfloor!

Here is the final product after removing the carpet, carpet padding, and installing Pergo flooring.

how to remove carpet
After ripping up carpet and adding pergo flooring

How to Remove Carpet for Beginners

Removing carpet and carpet padding is actually a very easy DIY project, so do not be afraid to take on this project.

Before you start pulling up carpet, you should wear a mask and use a razor for this project.

I recommend starting in a corner to see if you can grip it enough to of the carpet to start pulling it up.

how to remove carpet
Find a corner!

How to Remove Carpet Padding

If the first corner of carpet does not easily pull up, try another corner or give it a cut to get underneath it.

Once you’re underneath the carpet, start pulling it back and it should peel away from the tack strip.

If the carpet is too big, you may have to cut it a few times to remove it in smaller sections.

The foam carpet padding should come up with the carpet as well, but if not peel that up the same way you pull carpet.

Sometimes the carpet padding is held down with staples, so you might have to pull hard to remove it.

We will worry about the staples later.

You might even discover a beautiful hardwood or tile underneath your ripped up carpet.

How to Remove Carpet Tack Strips and Staples

After removing the carpet and carpet padding, you will need to go along the edges and pry up the tack strips.

You could use a hammer or pry bar for this, and goggles of course.

As a tip, push the short end of the pry bar under the tack strip as best you can, then use the hammer to drive it further under the strip.

Then you will have more leverage to pull down on the long end of the pry bar and the tack strip should come up.

how to pull up carpet

Then I made sure to clean up all nails and staples.

If there are a ton of staples, you’d be better off hammering them flush into floor.

Hammering the staples flush into the floor, is much easier then trying to remove all of them.

Then sweep the floor clean and that’s pretty much as complex as it gets on how to rip up carpet.

Easily Remove Odors on Subfloor

As I mentioned earlier, I ran into a unique issue where animal urine from the previous home owners had soaked into the subfloor and smelled…bad!

I felt like my eyes were melting out of my face from the ammonia burn.

After a deep amount research about how to remove subfloor odors, I decided I was going to go with the bleach method.

carpet padding

Kilz to Remove Subfloor Odors

The other option was to cover the smell with a paint called Kilz Odor Blocker.

Kilz paint is a great option if the bleach does not completely remove the odor.

I started with bleach first to see if it would remove the subfloor odor.

Bleach Method to Remove Subfloor Odors

To remove odors from subfloor with the bleach method, you will need bleach and a firm brush.

Soak the brush in a bucket of bleach, and then start scrubbing.

The urine should bubble up wherever the bleach touches it, although it was pretty clear where the urine stains were.

Wipe up the bleach after it soaks for a minute, then repeat until the smell disappears.

I had to do this 3 times until I couldn’t smell it anymore because my subfloor was gross.

It was well worth it to use a few coats of bleach because you would never know the subfloors were soaked in pet urine.

If your subfloor is damaged then you might need to call a professional. Take a look at these tips to see when it is time to replace your subfloor.


Removing carpet isn’t hard, it just takes a little sweat equity. It’s worth the savings to do this project yourself and maybe even install Pergo flooring with these beginner tips!

AMAZON AFFILIATE is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This can include installing cookies. By using this website, you agree to  our terms of service.