Why do wool blankets smell like chemicals


Why do Wool Blankets Smell Like Chemicals?


Wool blankets have long been considered a cozy and natural choice for staying warm during chilly nights. However, some individuals have reported a strong chemical smell emanating from their new wool blankets. This aroma can be overwhelming and off-putting, leaving many inquisitive about the cause behind it. In this article, we delve into the reasons why wool blankets might emit a chemical odor and explore potential solutions to eliminate or minimize this scent.

Understanding Natural Odor:

1. The Scent of Lanolin:

From Sheep's Back to Your Home

Wool, derived from sheep's fleece, naturally contains a substance called lanolin. Lanolin is the waxy secretion found on sheep's wool, serving to protect their skin and fleece from the elements. During the wool production process, lanolin is often removed, but traces may still remain on the fibers. These residual traces are responsible for the natural "sheepy" scent often associated with wool products and are completely harmless.

2. Chemical Presence from Production:

Unraveling the Manufacturing Procedure

Although wool is a natural material, it goes through several stages of production before being transformed into a blanket. To clean raw wool and make it more suitable for manufacturing, various chemicals such as detergents, pesticides, and dyes might be used. In some cases, these chemicals may not be entirely eliminated during the production process, resulting in an unpleasant odor emanating from the final product.

Exploring Possible Causes:

3. Improper Washing Techniques:

The Role of Poor Cleaning Practices

Some wool blanket manufacturers may not utilize appropriate washing techniques, leading to the presence of residual chemicals that cause the chemical odor. Improper rinsing or inadequate drying of the wool may contribute to this issue. Choosing a reputable brand with stringent quality control measures can help ensure that thorough washing procedures are followed, resulting in a fresh and odor-free wool blanket.

4. Preservatives and Flame Retardants:

Balancing Safety and Consumer Concerns

To meet safety regulations and standards, wool blankets may be treated with preservatives and flame retardants during production. Although these additives serve essential purposes, they can contribute to the chemical scent experienced by consumers. Manufacturers continually work to strike a balance between ensuring the safety of their products and satisfying customer demands for blankets that are free from strong chemical smells.

Resolving the Issue:

5. Air and Sun Exposure:

Harnessing Nature's Deodorizer

Once you've identified the chemical odor in your wool blanket, one possible solution is to air it out. Hang the blanket outside, allowing it to be exposed to fresh air and sunlight. UV rays from the sun can help break down the chemicals and dissipate any unwanted smell. Ensure the blanket is kept away from direct sunlight to avoid potential fading. After a few hours or days, depending on the intensity of the smell, the blanket should smell noticeably fresher.


Wool blankets offering warmth and comfort have been trusted by individuals over generations. Although some blankets may initially emit a chemical odor, understanding the reasons behind it can help alleviate concerns. Recognizing the presence of lanolin, the influence of production processes, and the impact of washing techniques, as well as considering safety regulations and corrective measures, enables consumers to make informed decisions. By following suggested solutions such as airing out and sun exposure, you can enjoy the benefits of a chemical-free wool blanket, keeping you cozy and comfortable for years to come.


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