Sisal fibers are natural fibers that are known to be very strong and durable. They are used to make different home decor items, like baskets and rugs. Sisal rugs make for good decor additions to the house because they have a rustic look that adds warmth to any space.
One downside to having a sisal rug is the smell. These rugs tend to have a musty and earthy smell, which is similar to how rope or burlap smells.
Here is how much sisal rugs really smell:
Sisal rugs have a certain distinct smell that is quite similar to the smell of burlap or rope. It is not the worst smell but it is not exactly pleasant either. You can overcome this smell by taking the rugs outside when you clean the house.
Table of Contents
Do Sisal Rugs Smell More Than Other Rugs?
If you would compare sisal rugs to other types of rugs such as polyester, polypropylene, nylon, and wool, other rugs smell less.
Sisal rugs tend to smell more compared to other rugs because their fibers are highly absorbent. They can easily absorb moisture and liquids, and they can trap dirt and stains.
Given this fact, sisal rugs can hold and trap odor molecules better and longer compared to other types of rugs.
What Are Typical Reasons Sisal Rugs Start To Smell?
There are a few reasons that cause the unpleasant smell of sisal rugs.
One of the most common reasons that sisal rugs smell is that they are brand new. Brand new sisal rugs tend to have that new rug smell that is similar to the smell of rope or burlap.
These natural fibers have a distinct natural smell, that tends to get trapped in the fibers while they are tightly wrapped in their packaging.
While in their packaging and in the holding area before they are sold, sisal rugs do not get enough ventilation.
The natural earthy smell of the sisal fibers just tends to linger there until they are unwrapped and unrolled.
Another typical reason that sisal rugs start to smell is moisture.
The fibers of sisal rugs are naturally absorbent so if they are placed in an environment where they get exposed to moisture or liquid spills, the rugs would start to smell.
Sisal rugs also start to smell when they are stored in an enclosed space with little or no ventilation. When the rugs are not being used, they tend to get stored in cabinets or closets that trap moisture in the air.
This will cause the sisal rugs to become smelly.
This is one drawback to having natural fiber rugs: they tend to be very absorbent, so they would start to smell at any point that there is moisture in the fibers.
Do Brand New Sisal Rugs Smell More?
Before sisal rugs are sold, they are usually in a tight plastic packaging and this packaging does not give the fibers enough ventilation to air out the rug.
Because of this, sisal rugs tend to smell more when they are new.
When they are inside the packaging, the rug fibers do not get enough ventilation so the odor gets trapped in it and just sort of lingers.
This creates the smell that you get whenever you unwrap a brand new sisal rug from its packaging and unroll it to put it in place.
Does The Smell Wear Off With Time?
While the unpleasant smell of brand new sisal rugs can be annoying, it is not something that you should be concerned about in the long run.
This new rug smell eventually wears off with time.
The smell usually wears off in a day or two, when it gets enough ventilation.
Upon getting and unwrapping your brand new sisal rug, it is recommended to be taken outside where you can air the rug out for a couple of hours.
You can also lay the rug out under direct sunlight. Sun exposure is actually not harmful to sisal rugs. Laying out the rug under the sun will refresh it and can even kill bacteria that is trapped in its fibers.
By doing the steps above, the smell of the sisal will start to wear off in a few hours. In a couple of days, the smell should have completely disappeared.
How Do You Remove The Smell From Sisal Rugs?
If you have a sisal rug that is not brand new but has a smell, it means that the rug has been exposed to liquid or moisture.
It may also have dirt and bacteria trapped in its fibers that help create a musty smell, that can be quite unpleasant.
Plus, damp rugs are potential breeding grounds for bacteria that can pose a health risk to you and other members of your household.
Here is how you can remove the smell from your sisal rug:
1. Sprinkle baking soda on the sisal rug.
Baking soda is known to be very effective for cleaning and disinfecting.
So if your sisal rug starts to smell, sprinkle baking soda generously on both sides of the rug, and just let it sit for fifteen to twenty minutes.
The longer the baking soda sits there, the better.
Doing so should help remove the unpleasant musty smell from your sisal rug.
2. Shake the sisal rug.
After letting the baking soda sit for quite some time on your sisal rug, lightly shake the rug off outdoors to remove the baking soda.
Doing this will also help remove any loose dirt in the. rug fibers.
3. Vacuum the sisal rug.
Use a vacuum cleaner thoroughly to remove all of the baking soda from the sisal.
Make sure to go over the sisal rug multiple times to make sure that all traces of baking soda are gone and has been suctioned into the vacuum.
When you vacuum the rug, remember to use the appropriate setting for your sisal rug so you do not risk damaging it.
4. Spray vinegar on the sisal rug.
Take some undiluted white vinegar and put it in a spray bottle.
Generously spray the sisal rug with white vinegar.
The vinegar will help remove the unpleasant smell from your sisal rug.
5. Let the sisal rug dry.
After all the steps above, let your sisal rug dry.
You can air it out to dry or lay it under the sun – either of the two helps and will not harm your rug. If your rug still has a smell, repeat steps 4 and 5, until the smell is completely gone.
How Do You Avoid Small From Sisal Rugs?
Sisal rugs have a distinctly unpleasant smell when they are brand new but eventually wear off with time. But if they are not given the right care and attention, they can start to smell after a few months of use.
If you want to keep your sisal rugs free from any smell once it is past the brand-new stage, here is what you can do:
Think carefully about where to place your rug.
Rug placement is very important especially for natural fiber rugs, like sisal rugs.
Avoid placing them in areas that are not well ventilated. Avoid placing them in rooms that get a lot of moisture or rooms with a high risk of liquid spills, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
As much as possible, you would want your sisal rugs to not be exposed to liquid or moisture, so they do not become damp and start to smell.
Vacuum your rug regularly.
Vacuum your sisal rug at least once a week.
Vacuuming regularly helps keep dirt off your sisal rug, and helps prevent the build-up of bacteria or mold. In turn, it will also help prevent your rug from becoming smelly.
Lay out your rug under the sun.
A little sun will do wonders for your sisal rug.
Laying out your sisal rug under direct sunlight for at least six hours every now and then can help air it out and remove the humidity by drying it out.
Sun exposure will not harm your sisal rug. It can kill any bacteria growing in its fibers, and it can even refresh the rug.
Place a dehumidifier in your room.
Reduce the humidity indoors by placing a dehumidifier.
This is not necessary but it is very helpful as dehumidifiers help control moisture in the air. Placing a dehumidifier in the room will decrease the moisture, so you can prevent your sisal rugs from having a bad smell.
A range of 30% to 60% humidity would be good for your indoor spaces.
Keep your house clean.
Always keep your house clean. Keeping your house clean minimizes the growth of bacteria, which will help prevent your sisal rugs from becoming smelly.
The smell on brand new sisal rugs is completely normal and it eventually wears off. Just remember to take good care of your sisal rug and give it the attention that it needs so it does not become smelly over time.
Sisal rugs can be expensive and are a good investment, so proper care and maintenance are important to keep them looking and smelling fresh and clean.
This will also help them last longer.