do wool carpets smell

Do Wool Carpets Smell?

Do wool carpets smell? When it comes to carpets, wool is one of the my favorite materials. It’s also one of the most popular materials manufacturers use, and the benefits are extremely hard to ignore. Wool carpets are environmentally friendly, feel and look luxurious, and are resistant to problems like fire and dust mites. When looked after properly, they will last in your home for many years to come. But there are times when wool carpets can start to smell. And, although this problem is fairly easy to fix, it can steer people away from choosing wool carpets for their homes. Today, I’ll explain why wool carpets might start to smell and the best ways to get rid of odors, so you can enjoy the huge benefits that come along with these hard-wearing carpets.


Why Do Wool Carpets Smell

It’s no secret that wool carpets come from sheep fibers. Since sheep are animals, once these fibers get wet, they will often take on an unpleasant smell. The odor that can radiate from your wool carpet may remind you of a wet dog. And as your carpet takes up the entire floor space of your room, the stench can sometimes become overpowering and unbearable.

However, wetness is only one of the reasons that wool carpets might start to smell. Spilling things on your wool carpets can lead to long term smells if you do not clean them properly, as can accidents from pets. Let’s take a closer look at each of these potential causes in a little more detail.


One of the main reasons why your wool carpet may smell is because of moisture that has saturated itself into the carpet fibers. The moisture that is causing the significant smell could come from potted plants in the room, wet shoes, damp spaces, or even from general everyday spills.

If you’re thinking about installing wool carpets or even wool rugs in your home, limit them to rooms that aren’t highly affected by moisture. Putting wool carpets or rugs in kitchens, bathrooms, or damp basements, for example, is a huge no-no unless you actually want your house to smell like a wet dog.


Alongside moisture, another big reason why wool carpets or rugs may smell is because of your pets. No matter how much you train your animals, they do sometimes urinate on the carpet, and it may not even be an intentional thing. Pets can often get overly excited and happy pee when they see you, especially if they’re young. And although it may seem cute at first, you’ll be smelling that excitement for a long while after it happened.

Wool absorbs smells fairly easily, which in turn will cause the distinctive pet urine smell to linger throughout the room. Even if you do clean the carpet, the smell may still stick around or even intensify over time, particularly if you use the wrong products or cleaning methods. Fortunately, many wool carpet cleaning professionals are familiar with stains like this and can help to eliminate any stubborn stains from pet urine.

do wool carpets smell

Food Spills

Your wool carpets can be prone to smelly stains even if you don’t own pets. Even the most careful of us can accidentally spill things now and again. And, a major culprit of bad smells in our home is food that has gone off. If you spill a particularly messy food on your wool carpets, you may struggle to remove all of it when you clean it up. Any traces that remain will quickly start to smell, and can really spoil the environment in your room.

How to Get Rid of the Smell from a Wool Rug

Luckily if you only purchased a wool rug, then the cleaning process to remove any unwanted odors shouldn’t be too difficult. In most cases, you should be able to simply vacuum the damp rug and hang it out in the sunshine to dry. To prevent the colors from fading, only hang the rug face up for an hour or two before flipping it over and allowing it to completely dry on the reverse side.

If your rug is wet, however, leaving it in the sun could cause the rug to shrink, so you’ll need to remove most of the moisture. To do this, hang the rug up inside and set up a fan to blow air in the rug’s direction. Then, when the rug is only damp and not wet, hang it outside to dry. The fan method also works well if you live in an area with a wet or humid climate. Just keep an eye on your rug whilst it is outside. If you notice any shrinkage, bring it out of the sun.

Alternatively, to remove any moisture and smells, you can also try sprinkling cat litter over the rug. Litter can help absorb the unwanted moisture.

How to Get Rid of the Smell from a Wool Carpet

Wool carpets are a little bit more tricky to clean as you can’t just rip them up and place them in the sun every time moisture makes its way into the fibers. The best way to get rid of smells from wool carpets is to vacuum your wool carpet and ventilate the room.

As with wool rugs, many wool carpet owners will sprinkle cat litter over their carpet and leave it for a few hours or days to absorb any moisture. Then, they simply vacuum up the cat litter and reveal a fresh-smelling carpet. Ideally, opt for an unscented cat litter otherwise, your house will smell like a cat’s toilet. Borax and a baking soda in a 1-to-1 ratio also has the same effect, just sprinkle on your carpet, let it sit for a day or two, and then vacuum up the powder to finish.

If These Methods Don’t Work

Unfortunately, some spills and smells can be strong enough that the above methods don’t work. This is most often the case with pet urine. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace your entire wool carpet. And, it doesn’t mean you should grab the first cleaning products you can find and start scrubbing. Incorrect cleaning products can damage wool carpets. And, if you don’t have the best tools to remove water from your carpets, you could experience stronger smells and shrinking carpets.

For stubborn smells, I would recommend reaching out to a professional carpet cleaner. Take your time with research – read reviews and take a look at their experience. You want to choose a cleaner with experience working with wool, and see good reviews confirming this. A good cleaner will have the best tools available to fix your carpet smells, without causing any further damage to the wool or the fit of your carpet.

How to Prevent Wool Carpet Smells in the First Place

There are a few things you can do to prevent your wool carpet from producing a stench, and they include:

  • Wearing indoor shoes inside the house
  • Removing any plants from rooms with wool carpets
  • Removing humidifiers from rooms with wool carpets
  • Not allowing pets in rooms with wool carpets
  • Restricting food and drink to areas without wool carpets
  • Vacuuming your wool carpet regularly

Summary: Do Wool Carpets Smell?

All good things have their downfalls, and sadly for wool carpets, that downfall is an occasional wet dog smell. Removing the odors from wool carpets is a relatively simple process, and once your carpet is completely dry, the odor will usually no longer be an issue.
If you’re having odor problems with your carpet, there are professionals who know all the tips and tricks to remove and prevent them from happening again.

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