How to Remove Carpet and Odors on the Subfloor

When I moved into my first home, I knew that I was going to quickly learn how to rip up carpet and remove odors on the subfloor because it smelled terrible.

I thought ripping up the carpet would also get rid of the urine smell – wrong!

For this job you should need goggles, a razor, and a mask.

At virtually no cost, this is something you can easily do yourself, and quickly.

Removing Carpet

Ripping up carpet is actually a very easy DIY project, so do not be afraid to take on this project.

Before you start removing 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.

before removing carpet, How to Rip up Carpet
Find a corner!

How to Rip Up Carpet

If the first corner that you try does not easily pull up, try another corner or give it a cut in order to get underneath it.

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

How to Rip up Carpet

If the carpet is too big, you may have to cut it a few times to do it in smaller, more manageable, pieces.

The foam pad should come up with the carpet as well, but if not peel that up too.

how to remove carpet and remove subfloor odors, How to Rip up Carpet
Here is a view of the room before ripping up the carpet

Sometimes the foam 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.

Removing Tack Strips and Staples

After ripping up the carpet, 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.

I then 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 sub floor 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.


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.

Bleach Method

To remove odors from subfloor with the bleach method, I just needed 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.

After ripping up carpet and adding pergo flooring

To learn more about how to install peel and stick flooring, view our post here!

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5 thoughts on “How to Remove Carpet and Odors on the Subfloor”

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  2. We ripped up our carpet and foam and nails and whatever else. We ripped it up due to cat and dog urine. My husband scraped the floor and took a huge amount of coating stuff off the floor. Now the floor is soaked with something! It just keeps coming through the wood! There are no leaks that we can see anywhere in the house. We have a fan blowing on it but it doesn’t work. It looks wetter in fact but still smells like urine. Any advice????

    1. Hi Kelly, I’m not sure if you’re still having this issue but if water or liquid just keeps materializing on your sub floor, I’d definitely consult a professional. It sounds like a leak of some kind, but a professional should be able to figure it out for you. Good luck!

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