How to Remove Odors From Silk Sarees and Scarfs (9 Tips)

Must odors go hand in hand with humid regions. Doesn’t matter the country, humidity levels do contribute to those odors you do not like. It doesn’t matter the fabric, those odors have a way of attaching themselves to materials you want to work with, even silk.

How to remove odors from silk sarees: If you do not want to go natural, you can use a product called Oxyclean. All you need is 2 or 3 scoops in some water and soak the silk saree overnight. By morning the musty odor should be gone. But only use this product with light colors as the dark ones tend to fade.

To learn more about how to handle musty odors on silk sarees and other silk materials, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can have a clean smelling fabric all the time.

Tip #1: Spray a little vinegar mixed with water and lemon juice and spray the silk material lightly. There is no need to overspray and make sure to cover the tiny areas as you will smell the mold, etc., long before you ever see it.

Tip #2: Hand washing in mild soap and water can take most of the odor away. Just make sure to dry the material completely before putting it away.

What Does Silk Smell Like?

This is actually hard to say as silk can be treated with different chemicals that change the odor. Some people have smelled a gas-like scent on chemically treated silk material. It takes a lot to rid the material of that odor.

Then some silk fabrics smell like a wet dog covered n grease when the material gets wet. You will find that different silk fabrics will smell differently. When it is burnt, the silk will have an odor similar to burning hair or burnt chicken feathers.

Then if you go to different fabric stores, the odor could be the formaldehyde that is used to keep the fabric folds in place. The problem with this action is that the odor clings to the fabric and gets into the fibers. It is also a little difficult to get rid of.

What silk smells like to you will depend on the manufacturer and what they have treated the material with.

Tip #3: If the dry cleaners do not get rid of the smell in silk, then hang the material out in the direct sunlight. This option may take a week but in the end, it will save you money and you will be rid of the musty odor.

Does Silk Absorb Smell?


The answer to this question is yes it will. The types of odor this fabric can absorb are unlimited. You will find the above-mentioned chemical smells and those odors can be a bit difficult to get rid of.

Then silk can absorb body odor and even smoke from cigars and cigarettes. If you know you are going to be entering a smoke-filled room that is full of sweaty bodies due to the broken air conditioner, then it is advisable not to wear silk.

If you follow the different tips given throughout this article, you should be able to wear your favorite silk clothing items anywhere worry-free. That is because you know how to get rid of those odors quickly.

There is going to be little you can do to avoid the material from absorbing different odors, so it is best to learn how to handle the situation when it arises.

Tip #4: Since silk is a protein fiber, you can use shampoo and conditioner on it. Plus, you can add a little vinegar to the shampoo stage to get the odor out. Condition afterward and rinse well. The vinegar odor will disappear in a day or so.

Does Silk Smell When Wet?

Yes, it does and some people claim that it smells like a wet dog. If you have bathed your pet or had one pass by you after a night in the rain, you know exactly what that smells like.

Then the amount of smell this material will have depends on the quality of the fibers. Low-quality silk fibers tend to smell very badly, even when wet. If the silk was made from the mulberry silkworm then chances are the fibers will not smell a lot even when wet.

Or, the water or moisture may trigger a chemical smell once it reaches the silk fibers. The chemical has been there all along but you didn’t notice because the odor was not set off by another active agent.

You never know when your silk items will turn up with a foul odor as you may not know all the different treatments or conditions it was kept in before you bought the item.

Tip #5: When removing the odor from silk, be careful Avoid aggressive, harsh movements or actions. Those actions will only serve to damage the material and not help with the odor removal. Silk will dry fast if laid flat or hung up to dry.

Why Does Silk Smell Bad?


Have you heard the phrase, ‘it is not you, it is me’? Well with good quality silk, it is not the silk but what has been done to it. If the fibers come from the mulberry worm then there should be a very low odor coming from the fabric.

Chemical treatments, like the aforementioned formaldehyde, are used for different purposes. These different chemicals seem to come with their own odor and some are delay action smells.

Then, the silk gets wet or is stored improperly and the musty odor makes itself known.

But if the material is low quality, fake, or not made from the mulberry worm, then chances are the odor is not only from the silk but from chemical treatments, long storage periods, stored in bad conditions, and so on.

There are several reasons why silk smells and the basic underlying factor is that it is a protein fiber. It will attract smells like your hair attracts the fragrance of your shampoo or conditioner.

Tip #6: Prevention is worth a pound of cure. To avoid having to spend time removing foul odors from silk materials, make sure to store the fabric correctly. Avoid containers that do not allow the fabric to breathe right and keep the material away from smelly objects or where the humidity level is quite high.

Why Does Silk Smell Like Fish?

There could be any number of reasons why silk shirts or other clothing items smell like fish. We doubt that the material was stored next to a container holding different types of fish in it.

According to one source, that fish smell may be nose specific and while you smell it, no one else can. That remains to be seen but one person had a husband who had a fish smell on his silk shirts.

After dry cleaning and washing, the smell, according to him, disappeared. But she could still smell it. But then she smelled the shirt when it was still wet. So like the wet dog smell, this odor may only appear when the silk material is wet.

A few washings and the odor should disappear for good.

Tip #7: If you like to drink alcoholic beverages, one solution will be in your liquor cabinet. Mix a 1 to 1 ratio of vodka and water in a spray bottle and spritz the area of silk that has body odor on it. This solution seems to only work on body odor.

Silk Smell After Washing


As you have read, the silk fabric may take on a variety of odors. There is the wet dog smell and sometimes that odor is accompanied by the odor of grease. Then there is the fish smell which appears to only a few people, much like Bigfoot or aliens.

Or it can be the chemical reaction when water hits those chemicals and triggers a powerful but bad smell. Your results may be different depending on the type of cleansers you use when you clean your silk items. The smell will also be different due to the different qualities of silk you can purchase.

Tip #8: Another way to remove the odor from silk is to use your steam function on your iron. Or you can use an independent steamer with a wand holding it a few inches away from the silk material.

How to Remove Odors From Silk Sarees

This removal act will depend a lot on the quality of silk in that saree. if it is a low-quality material or even a fake silk fabric, you can hand wash the item in cold water using neutral or special laundry soap.

Those elements should get rid of the odor on the first try. If not, repeat the process or return the item to the store as it is fake silk. Or if you know the silk is real, try a Woolite and vinegar wash.

The key is to be gentle as you wash the material and make sure not to wring it out hard or in a tight ball.

Tip #9: for a mothball smell, all you need to do is find an area with good airflow and let the material air the smell out. Keep out of the direct sunlight. Or you can try putting baking soda on the material and leave it for the night.

Removing Smell From a Silk Scarf


Baking soda sprinkled on the silk scarf and left overnight should do the trick. Baking soda is known for absorbing all kinds of odors and it doesn’t matter where you use the baking soda.

Or you can try the Woolite and vinegar bath to see if that is strong enough to remove any foul odors. Since silk is silk, any of the above methods already described should work on this accessory item.

The key is to be gentle and when getting the material wet, make sure not to be aggressive when agitating it and do not wring out. Lay between two towels to get dry.

Best Way to Remove Odor From Silk Garments

The best way is the method that will not damage the material. That is why you should try dry cleaners or handwashing first. These are gentle methods you can use to make sure it is only the odor that disappears.

The vodka method works well on body odors and it can be done in a minute or two. Just spray it on and leave it. Or you can use the natural method of vinegar, water, and lemon juice to rid silk of that musty odor.

If the odor lingers after you have tried different methods, chances are the silk material isn’t real. A burn test will confirm its identity.

How to Make Silk Smell Better


One way is to make sure you follow all storage instructions properly. Placing the silk item in the wrong container, or placing it in the basement is not going to keep the odors away.

You can try spraying a nice perfume fragrance on the material or you could place drops of essential oils in key areas to help the silk smell better. But those work best when you are wearing the items or displaying them.

Then, you just need to remove the musty or other foul odors from the material. That is the simplest way to do it.

Some Final Words

Silk material is an elegant material that makes most people look sophisticated and dashing. But when the fabric gets a musty or other foul odor, you just need to use one of the tips mentioned above to rid the fabric of those odors.

The only problem is, you may find out that you bought fake silk.

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