Smelly Moroccan rugs!

<p>I got 2 beautiful inexpensive rugs in Morocco in December and have had them in my house since then, one in an upstairs bedroom and one in our basement mudroom. A few days ago, I noticed an odd, unpleasant smell in the basement mudroom. I finally narrowed it down to the rug. The one upstairs has a much lesser odor, but I still don't like it. A friend suggested it might be from the humidity but didn't know what to do about it except to try dry cleaning the rugs and getting a dehumidifier.</p>

<p>Any other suggestions on this? I was told they are mostly wool with a little silk and died with natural vegetable dye.</p>

<p>Have you tried Febreze?</p>

<p>I was wondering about Fabreze, but then I was wondering if it might damage the colors. I was also wondering about sprinkling on baking soda and then vacuuming it up, but then I thought I might create a real mess.</p>

<p>Baking soda got a pretty rank smell out of an old "vintage" blazer that my S picked up somewhere, but he soaked it in water and baking soda. Wouldn't recommend that with the rug, but why not try the sprinkle/vacuum idea? Also, hanging them out on dry, sunny days might help kill any mold growing on them as well as any other odor causing bacteria.</p>

<p>Oh, the sunlight is a good idea, maybe not on a humid day like we've been having, but if the air ever dries out. I guess with the baking soda or Fabreze I could just try it on a little patch on the back side of the rug.</p>

<p>I have read that most rugs that come from the middle east are scrubbed with soap and water before they are shipped, because the western market prefers a more muted pallet. So I don't think the Fabreze would bother them. And I don't think the baking soda would make that much of a mess. I've sprinkled it on carpet and vacuumed it up before and had no trouble. I used to have several rugs from the middle east and I would take them out on the driveway and scrub them with Ivory soap and a brush, rinse them with the hose. They get very heavy with all of that water in them so I would take the hard plastic tubes from the vacuum and roll it over the rugs to squeegee the water out. I would leave them to dry on the drive way or pull them up on a car. Took about two days to dry. I learned to do this from a guy on PBS who had a show about rugs.</p>

<p>Thanks srw--these are so non-muted I wondered how they would work in our house. They also have no backing. They are just woven fabric and I dont think I could leave them on my driveway--they would mold in this climate--but maybe drape them over our deck railings.</p>

<p>I have had silk shirts from other parts of the world that have a very funny smell too. Call a professional carpet cleaner----my brother has a dry extraction carpet cleaning business (no water used) they may have ideas!</p>

<p>Wow, iloved college (I did too!) we do have a company like that here--White Magic Chem dry or something. But I suppose I still need a dehumidifier.</p>

<p>The smell probably is from mold. With hot humid weather and no sunlight in the basement, it's the perfect breeding ground for mold. It probably needs to be washed and dried under the sun (disinfectant effect).</p>

<p>Natural-fiber rugs can be washed with soap and water. Woolite would work.</p>

<p>If you dry them in the sun, turn them upside down so the colors don't fade.</p>

<p>Places that sell Oriental rugs also typically will clean them, in case you don't want to try washing it yourself. The guy who sold us one said that stains will come out, except for "the urine of the dog."</p>

<p>No dog here, Hunt. I really appreciate all of these suggestions!</p>

<p>I just used Eucalan (Home</a> | Eucalan) to wash a vintage wool hooked rug. Even though it is billed as a no-rinse product, my rug was so incredibly dirty that I had to soak, rinse under running water, and soak again overnight. I then rolled the wet rug in several old towels to draw out some of the water and then I laid it on a drying rack in the basement, a basement that has a dehumidifier running from mid-June through mid-September. ;) The rug dried completely within a day and a half and looks and smells great. Well worth the effort.</p>

<p>The website suggests you test that the rugs are colorfast and don’t dry in direct heat or sunlight.</p>

<p>You can get a sample pack on Amazon.</p>

<p>eeewww.....this reminded me of a very smelly leather duffle I bought in Morocco years ago. Somehow, I didn't notice an odor until after I brought it home. I had to leave it outside in the rain for weeks until the odor went away. The treatment didn't seem to harm the leather texture. Maybe they used the same dying agent for your rugs. As I recall, it is horse urine. The dye vats are in one of the stinkiest places I've ever been.</p>

<p>silvervestermom--that might explain a lot! Horse urine?! It took months for a smell to emerge though and it does seem to be related to humidity.</p>

<p>this is all coming back to me now - urine is a mordant used in dyes. Wo cares whether it's human or horse. When I first read this, I thought maybe your rugs had been sprayed with insecticide. I don't know whether this is routinely done, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was done before or after shipping - maybe someone working in Customs would know.</p>

<p>You might post your question on a spinning/dyeing/weaving website. Wool is washable in water and some recommend you use whatever you'd use for your hair - the Ph for hair is suitable for wool. The big no-no is a change of temperature in the water (say, going from warm wash to cold rinse). Besides the make-up of the rug (wool and silk) you've got the dyes to contend with, so cold water is always safest and as they say, test a small patch first. If you do hang your rugs outside, avoid direct sunlight - some dyes are fugitive, that is, given to running. (Same is true if they're on the floor in a sunny spot.)</p>