How to Get the Musty Smell Out of a Wool Oriental Rug

Wool Oriental rugs can be a beautiful addition to any home. They are distinctive and bring a touch of sophistication and flair to a room unlike many other kinds of decor.

Finding an unusual oriental rug is fun and easy to do at a flea market or an estate sale. Unfortunately, something that often accompanies these lovely rugs is musty odours.

A rug with a musty smell can quickly fill a room with unpleasant odours. There are several methods to try to remove musty smells from wool rugs. All of these options are natural and free of toxins as well!

Place ten plain charcoal briquettes in an old pair of nylons to prevent the charcoal from coming into direct contact with the rug. Place the folded rug and the charcoal into the large garbage bag and seal it tightly. Keep the rug sealed in the garbage bag for several days and the odours should dissipate.

Place 2 tsp of pure tea tree oil and 236ml of water in a clean spray bottle. Spray the front and back of the rug well but do not saturate it. Tea tree oil has a strong smell so it is recommended to keep children and pets away while the rug is wet. The strong smell will fade with time.

Hang a musty rug outside on a clothesline in the sunshine. Alternatively, the rug could be spread on a tarp in the sun as well. Allow the rug to have direct sunlight for approximately two hours on each side. A hot and sunny day is best, but avoid a day with high humidity. The UV rays in sunshine will zap mould spores hiding within the wool.

Sprinkle a mixture of equal parts Borax and baking soda on the rug. Allow it to sit overnight and vacuum the rug well the next morning.

Kitty litter that contains clay is effective for absorbing odours and moisture. Sprinkle kitty litter on the rug and allow to sit overnight undisturbed. The next day either vacuum or move the rug outside and shake off the kitty litter. Vacuum the rug well once it is returned to the house.


Wool rugs can often be washed successfully. However, it is recommended that a professional be consulted first to avoid damage to the rug.

Things You'll Need

  • Plain charcoal briquettes
  • Old nylons
  • Large plastic garbage bag
  • Tea tree oil
  • Strong clothesline/clothespins
  • Borax
  • Baking soda
  • Kitty litter
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About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.