How To Remove Smell From Quilt Without Washing (Old-Musty)

The washing machine and even tubs filled with water have been the go-to method for getting rid of musty odors. But if the quilt is not dirty, then using water may just be a waste of time. Then you have to wait till the quilt dries before moving on to the next stage.

There are different methods of getting rid of that musty odor you hate without washing. One option is to use your dryer and throw a dryer sheet or two in with the quilt. Then you can spray lemon juice all over the quilt and let the material dry in the sun or the wind.

To learn more methods on how to get rid of that musty odor from quilts, just continue to read our article. It explores the issue so you have techniques you can use when you face this situation. Take a few minutes and get some new strategies to clean up this issue.

Why Does My Quilt Smell?


There is a very good reason why quilts will smell, even if you hang them out in the sun to dry. Quilt materials are usually thicker than normal fabrics. This environment provides a great place for bacteria, germs, microorganisms, and so on to find a home.

Once they do, they can release an odor that is not pleasant to yours or anyone’s nose. Another reason would be all the dyes and fragrances that laundry detergents, dryer sheets, and other cleansers have.

These perfumes can add up and combine together and produce a smell that is also not very attractive. Sometimes quilts will get the musty smell when they have been stored for too long in a case or box that does not allow for good airflow.

This happens to all fabrics and it is also not a pleasant odor to take in. When this happens you do need to find a good method to get rid of that odor quickly. These situations always seem to arise when you have company coming for a few nights.

Do Duck Feather Quilts Smell?

You may get differing opinions on this topic. There will be some defenders of duck feathers who say that if done properly those feathers should not smell or get any odor.

Then there are those who claim otherwise. They say that the fat from the ducks who contributed their feathers to make the duck down quilt is the culprit. Their suggestion was to return the item if it was still new and unused.

On top of that, if you do wash the quilt to get rid of the smell, you have to wait until it is completely dry before using it again. If you don’t then you should end up with a wet bird odor.

Do not confuse the new purchase smell with the duck oil odor. The two are not the same. The new purchase smell should disappear once the quilt has had a chance to air out. Just give it a few days to air completely before using it.

If the quilt is wet then it is the oil or the feathers that are causing the odor and you would need more than airing out to clear that smell away.

Wool Quilt Smells Like Sheep


The problem with wool quilts is the same as any wool fabric item. It is possible it will shrink if you wash it and you do not want to ruin an expensive quilt just to get rid of an odor that may return later on.

Wool quilts can smell like sheep and it is not a pleasant smell to have reach your nose unless you grew up on a farm and miss all those different odors. The odor you smell doesn't really come from the wool per se. It is there but it is the lanolin in the wool that causes that odor.

If the manufacturer is any good, they will scrub the lanolin out of the wool and clean the fabric so that the material will not smell once you place it on your bed. There may not be a non-wash option to get rid of that smell if it is the lanolin that is the cause.

In addition to that, it may also be any leftover grass, dirt, etc., that did not get washed off at the time of manufacturing. For these sources, you should be able to use non-washing techniques to get rid of the odor.

Old Quilt Smells Musty

People like to store their quilts in old trunks, sometimes called steamer trunks. Then they make a great storage place for many different items. The only problem is that is the source for many musty odors on fabrics including quilts.

It is not the quilt but the glue, wood, and paper found inside the trunk that causes the odor. Then because those items have some acid like ingredients, those odors leach onto the fabric. Also, that acid will ruin the fibers in the fabric often causing discolorization.

If you are going to store quilts in an older trunk, you need to line the trunk with a cotton sheet. Then that cotton sheet should be washed every few months to make sure that acid doesn’t reach your quilts.

Once the stains and damage creep in, it is very difficult to reverse the process and restore the quilt to its original condition. Lining the trunk will protect your quilt from the odor as well as the damage. Just remember to wash that cotton sheet from time to time.

New Quilt Smells


This is normal and you have smelled it before. It comes with many ne3w fabrics including car seats and door fabric linings, car carpets, and fabrics on the ceiling of the vehicle. as with that new car smell, the quilt smell should disappear in a little while, once they have been taken out of the packaging.

All you need to do is just hang it on a line outside and let the air and sunshine take care of the problem. it is free so take advantage of that method when you can. You are going to find that new quilt smell on almost all quilts you buy no matter the material it is made from.

It is the packaging and the lack of airflow combined with the newness of the fabric that creates the odor. It should not be permanent and if it is, then it is not a new quilt smell. You may have another odor causing the problem on your hands.

One of the non-wash methods should relieve you of both odor situations.

How to Remove Smell From Quilt Without Washing

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of methods you can use outside of the washing machine to clear away those musty or other foul odors. Generally, quilts can be quite large, and manipulating them to get the odor out may be too difficult. That is why there are so few options.

If you did use your washing machine, then baking soda and vinegar are two natural ingredients that should clear away most smells from your quilts. But, like the dryer, quilts can be too large for the machine to handle thus you need some non-wash methods to achieve your objective.

1. Use the dryer - when the quilt fits, put a dryer sheet or two inside, and then add your quilt. The perfume on the dryer sheet should help eliminate the bad odors. There is no set time to leave the quilt in the dryer and it is up to your judgment as to how long it will need to run before the job is done to your satisfaction.

2. Spray Febreze - some people do this step with their washer but if you let the Febreze dry you should be able to smell the difference. This option is also up to your judgment and you can do some trial and error to see if it will work.

3. Vinegar - this solution seems to be the fabric care miracle option. It handles a lot of fabric problems for you and removing the foul or musty odor from quilts is just one of its abilities. Just put it in a spray bottle and spritz your quilt and let dry. You can repeat this method if your sensitive nose still picks up a scent of foul odors.

4. The air & the sun - great for when you have a new quilt and you just removed it from the packaging. Fresh air and the warm sun does wonders to get that new quilt smell out.

5. The grass method - it seems that the chlorophyll found in the grass is a great odor remover. It is capable of absorbing foul odors and helps get your quilts smelling like they should. Just lay out a sheet on the grass and then spread your quilt over it.

On top of the quilt lay another sheet and wait. Just make sure to anchor those items so they do not blow away on you.

How to Get a Musty Smell Out of a Quilt


The best way to do that is to pick one of the 5 methods already described in the previous section. If one doesn’t work, you can always try one of the others. The fresh air and sunlight option is going to be one of the cheapest methods you can try.

All you have to do is hang the quilt on your wash line and pin it in place. Then if you use the vinegar or lemon juice method, you do not need to spray a lot on the quilt. A little will do the trick for you. Just make sure to let it dry outside so the air can help clean out the foul odor.

How to Make a Duvet Smell Fresh

The best method would be the lemon juice option. It always seems to add a fresh scent to fabrics when it is used in different laundry cleansers. Going all-natural should make that lemony smell even better and fresher.

You do not need your washer to get that fresh smell either. You will if you use the baking soda option. Baking soda does not spritz very well and a paste won’t clean the quilt without a lot of water. Using this option does require your washing machine.

Air drying out in the sun is always a good way to get that fresh smell. As long as it does not rain and you do not live in a polluted city.

Wool Quilt Smells After Washing


This can be difficult as when wool gets wet those same foul odors will return time and again. One of the solutions is to just let the quilt air dry completely. This may take several days and if you have the time it is well worth the wait.

When you are air drying make sure you flip the quilt over so both sides get plenty of sun time. The key to keeping that odor away is to make sure you do not wash the quilt a lot. Only do it when it is necessary to do or you may have to keep that wool quilt outside more than you keep it inside.

You can also spray them with vinegar or lemon juice but again you should wait till the wool dries and then spray. This will add to your drying time but it may be worth it.

Some Final Words

Those musty odors are not pleasant. Sometimes they are caused by the chemicals added by the manufacturer. Getting rid of those odors takes a little time but the good thing is you do not have to use your washer all the time.

You can give it a break and use one of these non-wash methods to get your quilt smelling nice.

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