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I recently had a pierced milk carton spill around 2 pints of milk into the rear footwell of my car. I have tried various things to get rid of the smell (pet urine remover, Dettol). It works for a while, but as soon as the carpet dries out again the smell comes back. Any other ideas for what I can try?

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migrated from skeptics.stackexchange.com Jun 23 '13 at 10:19

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Hi, Kath, this is the wrong site for this question. But I’ve got some bad news for you: my parents’ old car had milk spilled in it. A slight rotten smell persisted more than a decade later when they finally got a new car. –  Konrad Rudolph Jun 23 '13 at 10:19
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Likely the milk went through the carpet and pooled under it. Unless you can pull the carpet the only way to get it out is repeated extraction: Lots of water, pints, with a little bleach in it. Mush around on the carpet to force fluid through it, then sponge out as much as possible and repeat 5 or 6 times. –  Wayfaring Stranger Jun 23 '13 at 11:53
    
Have you tried a rug-doctor type machine (The kind that shoots water in and sucks it out?) An alternative method that might work would be to flood the floor well, let sit, then suc out with a wet/dry vac. Probably repeatedly. –  DA01 Jun 24 '13 at 18:09

2 Answers 2

An enzymatic cleaner such as BioKleen Bac-Out should work, if you can apply it thoroughly, let it soak a while, and perhaps do it several times.

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Soak it with Vinegar and stomp pad it dry after letting it stew. Sprinkle with baking soda afterwards to reduce the smell. Acetic acid will break down the components of milk and help reduce the smell. Though if you hate vinegar, it's just replacing one smell with another till the milk finally gives up. –  Fiasco Labs Jun 23 '13 at 16:09

My buddy had a gallon jug shoot off the seat and explode. After multiple tries we gave up any in-vehicle cleaning.

Our cure was to strip out the carpet and padding down to the floor boards, clean the floor boards, replace the carpet padding and thoroughly wash out the carpet with various enzymatic substances and let it sun dry, testing for smell after each wash. It was a custom carpet that he thought worth the effort to save. Personally, I'd have just replaced the carpet as well.

Once milk gets into the carpet pad, it's nigh impossible to get rid of. You can try a lot of water and towels to try diluting out the milk remains, but it's a Sisyphean task.

The take away from this is never carry milk in the passenger compartment. Put it in the trunk in a box so it isn't free to move.

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