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How to eliminate burlap curtain odor

How to eliminate burlap curtain odor? Burlap definitely has an odor! Yes, and it’s not always easy to get rid of. I have posted two different burlap curtain panel tutorials in the past two months and I cannot believe how many people have emailed me asking if it has an odor and how to eliminate it.

Why does burlap smell bad?

Burlap is made from Jute, which is a natural material that has an odor to it. Usually airing it out in fresh air solves the odor problem but if not, try my solution below.

Thank you too for all the comments and emails on the DIY burlap curtains I made for the 10 windows in the living room. They came out amazing and the cost savings were huge! It’s always a nice feeling when readers love  your project and it trends on pinterest and google! 🙂

how to eliminate odor from burlap

When I made the burlap curtains for our family room below, the smell was not as overwhelming as some had described but none-the-less, it was there.

I am sure there are many ways to eliminate the odor of burlap but for me, it’s very simple.

how to eliminate burlap curtain odor

Burlap Curtains {picture courtesy of This Old House}

Are you ready? My simple remedy is water and hot steam. Yes, that is it.

how to eliminate burlap curtain odor

How do you get the smell out of burlap?

I cut each curtain panel, placed them on the floor and ironed on the highest setting.

My iron allows you to spray water and steam at the same time but if you do not have this option, simply use a spray bottle (spray the burlap but don’t soak it) and iron on the highest setting.

Here is a shot of me ironing the hem on the sand colored burlap curtains.

how to eliminate burlap curtain odor

Once the burlap curtain panels were hung, I used the water bottle to lightly spray the panels.

In my case, this helped eliminate the burlap odor. The water also cut down on the fuzz that burlap produces. Yes, it can have an odor and make a mess!

I usually work with burlap fabric on the floor so that I can just vacuum it up easily when I am finished. It’s not really a big deal.

Burlap curtain ideas

Below are the curtain panels I made from an off white natural colored burlap fabric and I glued jute twine that I created circles with to add a fun design to the curtain panel.

how to eliminate burlap curtain odor

White Burlap Curtains

Many of you have also asked how I get the curtains to hang with the pleats at the top.

As I mentioned above, once the curtain panels are hung, I lightly spray them with water. Yes, they get wet again, well spritzed!

 I then pin the inside of the curtains (up top near the rod) with clothes pins for a day or so. Once you unpin your burlap curtains (wait a day) they will be creased and look beautiful.

Be sure to check out the tutorial on how I made these curtains because the size of your rod hem also plays a role in how they hang. I chose to make these a deep pocket, wide hem at the top. I am sure there are many other ways to eliminate burlap curtain odor but for me, this simple water and steam method worked like a charm.

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9 Comments

  1. Love it Jess! I’m so going to copy you, thanks! When are we doing coffee again? 😉

  2. Thanks for this!! I will hopefully be sharing photos of my own burlap curtains very soon!

  3. Hi Jessica, I was wondering what the odor comes from? Could it be pesticides? Or flame retardants. I have a quilt I purchased that I love & can not get rid if the odor. It smells very strong like a chemical. I put it in the sun for many weeks in addition to washing numerous times. I am ready to give it away. Items coming from overseas especially China are very problematic with odor! You are talented beyond belief!

  4. I hate to say this, but the odor is formaldehyde. Google formaldehyde free burlap and you can find great burlap (yes, it costs more, but your not breathing formaldehyde) to make curtains with and not risk your long term health. :/

  5. Hi! Your decorating style is impeccable. Would like to know where I could purchase the rug and the television console. Hoping my room comes close to your lovely design ! I will be following you from now on 🙂

  6. Thanks for the info. It has been very helpful.

  7. I have burlap runners for my granddaughters wedding tables .. I have them hanging outside with wind and sun.. is this going to help at all with the odor…I can’t wash them because they have lace sewed down the middle of each one. I have 9.. Please give me quick suggestions to elemanate the smell if you can. Thanks

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