Professional Area Rug Cleaners in Tulsa Tell You How to Fix Smelly Wool Area Rugs:

Wool area rugs have incredible design power that can really bring together a room’s style.  They can be made either by hand or by machines.  These area rugs are made with natural, sustainable materials. Wool is a resilient fiber designed by nature to withstand dirt and abrasion.  So as long as you have your wool area rugs regularly cleaned by a professional, they could last for ages! 

However, your wool area rug can sometimes smell like a wet dog! Because they are made from sheep’s wool, and due to their ability to absorb moisture from the air, they can take on an awful wool carpet smell.  This smell is like a wet animal smell (because technically, it is a wet animal!).

A cartoon depicting two men telling another man his area rug is smelly

Wool area rugs absorb smells easily as liquid penetrates the fibers, causing a strong, foul odor. Thankfully, there are some things you can do and steps to take to help alleviate the wet dog smell in your wool area rugs.

Steps to Keep Your Wool Area Rug Smelling Fresh:

  1. First, make sure that your rug is and stays completely dry. If your rug is holding any moisture at all you need to remove the wetness from it.
Here Kitty, Kitty!

Some people will use cat litter to remove moisture from their rugs.  They do this by first vacuuming the rug to remove dirt and debris.  Then, they sprinkle unscented cat litter over the rug, being careful to not step on the cat litter or on the rug as it could crush it into the fibers making it actually retain the musty smell worse.  After the kitty litter sits on the rug for a day or two, they take the rug outside to shake all the litter off the rug, and then vacuum any leftovers.  This process can be repeated as necessary.

Use caution when attempting the kitty litter method for removing moisture from your wool area rugs on your own.  For one thing, the smell of the kitty litter itself may not be the most pleasant, even when unscented.  You want to be careful that your area rugs do not retain the litter smell.  Secondly, if there is too much moisture in your rug, it could make the litter clump up and stick into the fibers of your wool area rug.  Making a worse smelling, bigger mess than you had in the first place.

Charcoal isn’t just for teeth whitening!

Another option for trying to remove moisture from your wool area rugs is by using a pair of women’s pantyhose.  To do this, take a pair of pantyhose and cut the legs off, as close to the crotch as possible.  Then fill each leg with additive-free charcoal pieces, leaving enough room to tie the ends closed.  Tie the ends of the pantyhose tightly so that the charcoal does not spill out.  Place the charcoal pantyhose at the top of the rug near the edge and begin tightly rolling up the rug.  Depending on how large your wool area rug is, you may want to add another pair of charcoal panty hose after a couple of rolls.  Leave the rug rolled up for a day or two.  Then, unroll the rug, remove the charcoal, and vacuum your rug as usual.  You can repeat this process using new charcoal if a smell is still present. 

rolling up a wool area rug

Again, be careful when trying this method as well.  Especially if you have a lighter colored wool area rug.  The color of the charcoal could transfer through the pantyhose and “dye” the fibers of your rug. 

Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset

You could also try hanging your rug outside in sunlight to remove moisture.  Alternate the side that faces out in order to give both sides of the rug a chance to dry.  If you live somewhere, like Tulsa, where it is pretty humid on some days, pick a day that is not so humid.  Or hang it inside somewhere with fans blowing on it. 

You have to be very cautious when putting wool area rugs in the sun to dry.  Wool area rugs can shrink!

2. Once you are certain your wool area rug is completely dry, leaving it outside on a clothesline can allow fresh air to help remove any lingering odors. Remember, be careful with your wool area rugs in the sun.  They can shrink!

3. Another method you can try for removing bad odors from your wool area rugs is to use by using baking soda. You can sprinkle a liberal amount of the baking soda onto your rug.  Let it sit for a while.  Anywhere from one hour to a few hours should do the trick but leaving it to sit overnight is the best.  Then simply vacuum up all the baking soda.  Flip the rug over and repeat this process on the back of the rug as well.  Baking soda can act as an odor absorbent and is great for removing smells!

brushing baking soda into a wool area rug

You can also try this exact same method using a mixture of 1 part borax and 1 part baking soda. Borax is another product that can be an odor eliminator and working in conjunction with the baking soda can help to make your smelly wool rugs smell fresh again.

New Wool Area Rug Smells:

It’s also completely normal for a new wool area rug to have a musty smell when you get it home and unroll it into your room.  Because they’re made from animal fibers, these natural rugs frequently come with a musty, barnyard smell.  This scent should fade over time.  If it does not, you can try some of the above methods to help the aroma dissipate.

A herd of sheep

Call the Wool Area Rug Experts at Rug Cleaning of Tulsa:

One of the most important things to remember when attempting to clean your wool area rugs on your own, is that moisture is NOT your friend.  You don’t want your rugs to stay wet for any prolonged period of time.  At Rug Cleaning of Tulsa, we have specialized equipment that helps to fully dry all of your area rugs very quickly.  This means we can do a complete deep clean on your wool area rugs, dry them quickly, and leave them looking like new and smelling fresh.  Instead of trying methods to remove smells yourself that could end up making a bigger mess, just call us today! We’ll inspect your rugs, give you an honest opinion about how they need to be cleaned, and give you a free quote.

For the rest of your home’s carpet and any tile and grout you have on your floors, call our partners at Master Clean Carpet and Tile Cleaning of Tulsa or Solid Ground Carpet Cleaning.  They specialize in all your steam cleaning needs!