Why Do Moroccan Rugs Smell? [Explained]

Moroccan rugs are renowned for their exquisite craftsmanship and unique designs that can instantly transform any room. However, for some, the enchanting allure of these rugs may be accompanied by an unexpected issue: the Moroccan …

Why Do Moroccan Rugs Smell?

Moroccan rugs are renowned for their exquisite craftsmanship and unique designs that can instantly transform any room. However, for some, the enchanting allure of these rugs may be accompanied by an unexpected issue: the Moroccan rug smell.

If you’ve ever wondered why your Moroccan rug emits a distinctive odor or how to tackle this concern, you’re not alone. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the reasons behind the Moroccan rug smell, offer practical solutions to eliminate it and share real-life experiences and advice from Reddit and online forums.

We’ll also address whether Moroccan rugs are challenging to keep clean. Let’s get started!

Why Do Moroccan Rugs Smell?

Moroccan Rug Origins and Materials

To understand why Moroccan rugs sometimes have a distinct odor, it’s crucial to grasp their origins and the materials used in their creation.

Moroccan rugs, also known as Berber rugs, are handwoven by skilled artisans in Morocco. Traditionally, they are crafted using natural materials, including wool sourced from local sheep. While this natural approach results in stunning, eco-friendly rugs, it can also lead to a unique scent.

Moroccan rugs craftening

Natural Oils and Dyes

The aroma of Moroccan rugs can often be attributed to the natural oils present in the wool. These oils are necessary for the preservation of the wool fibers and play a vital role in the traditional dyeing process. In addition to the wool’s natural oils, the dyes used in Moroccan rugs can contribute to the distinctive smell.

Natural dyes, such as those extracted from plants and minerals, may have a subtle scent that is different from chemically processed dyes.

Storage and Transportation

Another factor that can influence the smell of your Moroccan rug is the way it is stored and transported. During long journeys from Morocco to your home, rugs may be exposed to various environmental conditions, which can affect their odor.

Furthermore, storage in a confined space, such as a shipping container, can cause the rug’s smell to become more pronounced.

Aging and Patina

Over time, Moroccan rugs may develop a distinct patina, a sheen that forms on the surface of the rug due to wear and age. This patina can also affect the rug’s smell, as it may trap dust, odors, and other particles.

It’s essential to consider that some people find this patina charming and part of the rug’s character.

How Do You Get the Smell Out of a Moroccan Rug?

If you’ve recently acquired a Moroccan rug or have noticed a lingering odor in your existing one, don’t worry – there are effective ways to address the issue.

1. Airing Out Your Rug

One of the simplest methods to reduce the Moroccan rug smell is to let your rug breathe. Take it outside on a sunny day and lay it flat in a well-ventilated area. The fresh air and sunlight will help dissipate odors naturally. Be sure to flip the rug to ensure both sides are exposed to the elements.

2. Vacuuming

Regular vacuuming is a key part of Moroccan rug maintenance. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently remove dust and debris from the rug’s surface. This can help reduce the intensity of the smell, especially if the odor is caused by trapped particles.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile and natural odor absorber. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda evenly over your rug’s surface, let it sit for a few hours, and then vacuum it up. The baking soda will absorb odors, leaving your rug smelling fresher.

4. Professional Cleaning

If the smell persists or you prefer a thorough cleaning, consider enlisting the help of a professional rug cleaner. They have the expertise and equipment to deep clean your Moroccan rug safely, removing both odors and stains.

5. Use of Natural Air Fresheners

To maintain a pleasant aroma around your Moroccan rug, you can use natural air fresheners. Place bowls of dried lavender, cedar chips, or other fragrant herbs near the rug. These natural scents can complement the rug’s unique odor and create a harmonious atmosphere.

My Moroccan Rug Smells – What to Do: Reddit and Forum Advice

Reddit and online forums are treasure troves of advice and shared experiences.

Let’s take a look at what the community has to say about dealing with the Moroccan rug smell.

Main Points
– Suggested washing the rug in cold water after spot-checking for dye bleeding.
– Recommended using white vinegar to wash it to “set” the color and remove odor.
– Noted an improvement in the rug’s smell after airing it out.
– Mentioned that the smell was not noticed initially but emerged after unpacking.
– Advised airing the rug for a week and dusting it with baking soda, then vacuuming.
– Shared their experience of soaking the rug and using water and vinegar, which reduced the smell.
– Asked if the individual had tried using Febreze.
– Shared a successful experience using baking soda for odor removal.
– Suggested hanging rugs on dry, sunny days to kill mold and bacteria.
– Mentioned that rugs from the Middle East are often scrubbed with soap and water before shipping.
– Indicated that Fabreze and baking soda may not harm the rug.
– Recommended calling a professional carpet cleaner.
– Speculated that the smell could be due to mold. Suggested washing and drying the rug in the sun.
– Advised washing natural-fiber rugs with soap and water, recommending Woolite.
– Mentioned that places selling Oriental rugs often offer cleaning services.
– Shared a successful experience using Eucalan to wash a vintage wool hooked rug.
– Noted the importance of testing colorfastness and avoiding direct heat or sunlight.
– Speculated on the use of insecticides on the rugs.
– Recommended posting the question on a spinning/dyeing/weaving website.
– Suggested using Febreze or similar products.
– Encouraged embracing the initial smell as part of the rug’s authenticity.
– Proposed that the odor would eventually subside as the rug acclimates to the household.
– Advised sprinkling the rug with baking soda and vacuuming it.
– Suggested avoiding unorthodox cleaning substances.
– Supported David’s advice of using baking soda to neutralize odor.
– Emphasized the importance of unrolling the rug to allow it to breathe.
– Cautioned about potential reactions between baking soda and rug dye.
– Recommended trying the trick on an inconspicuous edge first.
– Suggested hanging the rug outside if rain was not imminent.

These comments provide various suggestions and insights into dealing with a smelly Moroccan rug, ranging from washing and airing out the rug to using odor-neutralizing products like baking soda and Febreze.

Are Moroccan Rugs Hard to Keep Clean?

Moroccan rugs, while stunning and unique, do require some care to stay in excellent condition. Let’s explore whether they are challenging to keep clean.

Materials Matter

The materials used in Moroccan rugs, primarily natural wool, can make them more susceptible to staining and soiling compared to synthetic fibers. Wool fibers can absorb liquids quickly, so it’s essential to address spills promptly.

Maintenance Is Key

Regular maintenance is crucial for keeping Moroccan rugs looking their best. Vacuum your rug at least once a week to remove dust and debris. If your rug is placed in a high-traffic area, more frequent vacuuming may be necessary.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

When cleaning your Moroccan rug, avoid harsh chemicals and cleaners. Opt for mild, wool-safe detergents and test them in an inconspicuous area first. Harsh chemicals can damage the wool fibers and alter the rug’s color.

Professional Cleaning

For deep cleaning and stain removal, consider professional rug cleaning services. They have the expertise to clean your Moroccan rug without causing damage. Professional cleaning can also help refresh the rug’s colors and remove accumulated odors.


The unique smell of Moroccan rugs is often attributed to their natural materials, dyes, and the journey they undertake before reaching your home. While the odor may initially be noticeable, it can be managed and even embraced as part of the rug’s character.

By following the tips mentioned in this guide and drawing inspiration from the experiences shared on Reddit and online forums, you can enjoy the beauty of your Moroccan rug without being bothered by its distinctive scent.

Additionally, keeping your Moroccan rug clean and well-maintained will ensure it continues to grace your home with its timeless charm. So, don’t hesitate to add a touch of Moroccan elegance to your decor, and let your rug’s unique scent become part of your home’s story.

About the Author

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Helga is writing here all about carpets and rugs in our lives. She puts her own expertise of an ordinary human being, looks for challenges we all face in the world of carpets, does research, and puts the most valuable parts of information together to help homeowners and business owners maintain clean, fresh, and inviting spaces. We believe that a well-maintained carpet not only enhances the aesthetics of a room but also contributes to a healthier living or working environment.

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