Finding the perfect wool sweater may be a dream come true, but the smell of it can be a nightmare. If your wool product has a sheep smell, it can be frustrating. Wool already needs to be cleaned differently than other garments. So, how can you get the smell out?

Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to eliminate the odor. These tips will work on wool clothing, rugs, and yarn to keep your home from smelling like a barnyard.

sheep divider 2Why Does Wool Smell So Bad?

Sheep secrete an oily, waxy substance called lanolin. This gets trapped in their wool and gives it an odor. Lanolin smells metallic, grassy, sweet, and a little sour.

Even if your wool is processed to remove the lanolin, some of the smell can remain. Lanolin gives sheep their waterproof coat. For this reason, the lanolin smell is more pungent when the wool is wet.

dorset sheep
Image Credit: Pixabay

sheep divider 1

The 6 Tips to Remove Odor From Sheep Wool

If your wool item is smelly, read on for tips to remove the odor.

1. Use Fresh Air

Take your wool clothing, rugs, or blankets, and hang the items on a clothesline outside. Direct sunlight, fresh air, and a breeze can help remove the sheep smell and any other musty odors.

You can also lay your wool items on the grass in the sun. Weigh it down, and let it sit for a minimum of 2 days. The sun’s rays and chlorophyll in the grass will work to get eliminate odors. You may want to rotate the items so both sides get exposed to the grass and sun.

sheep eating grass
Image Credit: Piqsels

2. Use Wool Cleaner

Soak your wool items in lukewarm water mixed with wool-safe detergent. After 3–5 minutes, squeeze the excess water from the wool. Avoid wringing or twisting the wool. Use a towel to gently sop up any remaining water. Shape your item and let it dry flat.

If you prefer to use a washing machine instead, make sure your garment can be machine washed. Some wool items are dry clean only. Also, only use detergents that are made for use on wool.

3. Use Baking Soda & Vinegar

If your wool can be machine washed, add 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle along with your regular wool detergent.

If you have a smelly wool rug, sprinkle baking soda liberally all over the top of it. Let it sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming it up. The odor should dissipate, but if it’s not completely gone, repeat the process as many times as necessary.

Vinegar and Baking Soda
Image Credit: JPC-PROD, Shutterstock

4. Use Talcum Powder

Sprinkle unscented talcum powder all over your wool garment. Let it sit for a couple of days while the powder absorbs the sheep smell. Once most of the odors have been absorbed, take it outside, and shake or beat the excess powder out. Make sure to use unscented regular talcum powder and not baby powder.

If the smells remain, repeat the process. Do note that the powder can remove lanolin, but once the lanolin is gone, the wool won’t be waterproof anymore.

5. Use Activated Charcoal

Place your wool in a drawer or bin with briquettes or sachets of activated charcoal. Let them hang out together for a week before checking to see if the smells are gone.

If the smells remain, you may want to repeat the process with more activated charcoal. If you only have activated charcoal powder, you can make your own sachet by scooping it into pantyhose and tying it closed.

This is a good method for getting sheep smell out of wool yarn.

Activated Charcoal
Image Credit: Pixabay

6. Use Cat Litter

In a plastic bin, lay out your wool garments and cover them liberally with kitty litter, which is made to be absorbent and deodorizing. Cover the bin and let it sit for a week.

Regular clay cat litter should be used. Avoid anything with added fragrances or a clumping litter. Non-clumping litter is more absorbent than clumping litter.

sheep divider 2Conclusion

It might take a bit of work, but you can get rid of the sheep smell from your wool garments, yarn, rugs, and other items. Some of these methods might need to be repeated until the odor is gone, but in time, your wool will smell better. We hope that you’ve learned a few new ideas to try today to improve the smell of your closet.

Featured Image Credit: Vinding, Pixabay