Odors in general
It is not unusual for a new carpet to have a slight odor for the first several days. Remember, you are bringing a large item made of organic matter into your home, perhaps into a small room with little ventilation. Carpets are sometimes treated with a moth repellent to prevent infestation, particularly if they have been in storage or in a showroom location. Most "acceptable" (new smell or moth flake) odors emanating from a rug should dissipate after two or three weeks at most. You can speed up the ventilation process by taking the rug outdoors for sun and air exposure. If odors continue, there may be another issue or the rug may need use a deep cleaning. If it comes to needing your rug washed, have your rug "plant washed." Do not use in-home services or carpet machines as their results are inferior and may damage your investment!
Rubbery smells / "Electrical" Odors hand tufted Rugs
Unlike oriental rugs, hand tufted rugs are constructed with glue. While most hand tufted rugs will provide many years of good service, some (not all) may have a moderate to heavy odor of glue which emanates under certain conditions, and may even leave dry, white powdery residue on your floor. The odor of this glue may be accentuated if: 1 you have radiant heat, 2 the carpet is brand new (most common), 3 the rug is wet and or has mildew/mold or 4 the rug is deteriorating (2nd most common.) Radiant heat coming up from the floor often can activate odors from your tufted rug. If you have radiant heat, you may want to consider putting a fiber padding (usually intended for wall-to-wall) between the rug and floor if you have not done so already. Other types of non-skid padding with rubber may also create an odor if exposed to heat. If the rug is brand new, wait for several weeks, as it may have been rolled tightly prior to delivery encasing the odors. Let the seller know immediately about any odors so they may do something about it. You should document this communique should you need to return the rug. Finally, if the carpet is beginning to deteriorate, there is not much you can do about the odor.
We do not suggest you wash these hand tufted rugs other than a simple face wash. For quick treatment, we have heard of sprinkling a little baking soda between the back of the rug and padding. Here at Rug Rag, we have never tried such a thing, and don't advocate it. Sprinkling baking soda on your rug will do very little if the odor is from a pet stain or structural deterioration and will only be a hassle to clean up. Do not try this technique on an Oriental Rug, as baking soda granules can be very abrasive to your rug's pile and structure. Finally, hand tufted rugs have a shorter lifespan than hand knotted rugs. If the odor is too much to handle, you may want to simply consider replacing the rug as often the case, people spend more time attempting to unsuccessfully eliminate these odors than expected. For more information about hand tufted rugs, click here.
burnt smells (Oriental Rugs)
Much older carpets (60+ years old) may have an odor not unlike that of a "burnt smell" or "old wool" odor. Don't be alarmed. Old wool often takes on this unusual odor after storage over an extended time period. Simply allow the carpet to air out for several weeks and the smell should go away. We do not suggest you use baking soda to absorb odors in your hand knotted rug as this is both messy and harmful: the fine granules of can be very abrasive to your rug! Ideally, bring the rug outdoors, lift it from the ground and allow it to have soft Sun exposure on both front and back. If the odor persists, inquire at your local rug retailer for cleaning options or shampooing the rug as some of these odors come from deep inside the rug. Again, never use in home cleaners or machines!
Mold and Mildew (All rugs)
If you rug was exposed to water or a very humid environment, it may take on a mold / mildew odor. The best treatment for this is direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time (several sessions of 8+/- hour exposure). After the carpet has been exposed to light, you may try using the suggested cleaning method from our Stain Removal Guide. If the odor persists, consider having the rug shampooed at your local rug washing plant. A professional will have specialty subversive washes which can effectively treat these problems (excluding hand tufted rugs.)
It's still there...
After the carpet has had sufficient time airing out either indoors or out and the odor is still prevalent...
Confirm what the odor is, and where it is coming from. Check other possible sources in your house: the padding underneath the rug may be giving off an odor, or even the flower pot in the corner of the room that gets over-watered could be the culprit. Remember, if you decide to spray any odor treatments on your rug be sure to test the treatment on an inconspicuous area of the rug for color fastness, and allow to dry thoroughly prior to setting the rug back into place. We do not recommend the use of odor treatment directly sprayed on Oriental Rugs. If your rug does have a strong odor persisting for more than two or three weeks, take it to your local rug retailer and ask them for options to solve the problem.