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Thread: Why do the Olfa cutting mats smell so bad?

  1. #1
    Super Member Butterfli19's Avatar
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    Why do the Olfa cutting mats smell so bad?

    I've recently purchases two at different JoAnn stores at separate times and had to return both due to odor. Had them in my living room and they stunk up the entire downstairs. Both were the 24x36 size. I have the smaller 12x18 and it's fine.

    I need a new one because a few years back I purged a few trunkloads of my sewing supplies and they went as well (don't ask, lol)

    Have you had this experience? Should I go with Fiskars instead? I don't want to "wait it out" because I tried that and almost got sick in the process. If I buy a mat I want to use a mat.
    Nancy

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfli19 View Post
    I've recently purchases two at different JoAnn stores at separate times and had to return both due to odor. Had them in my living room and they stunk up the entire downstairs. Both were the 24x36 size. I have the smaller 12x18 and it's fine.

    I need a new one because a few years back I purged a few trunkloads of my sewing supplies and they went as well (don't ask, lol)

    Have you had this experience? Should I go with Fiskars instead? I don't want to "wait it out" because I tried that and almost got sick in the process. If I buy a mat I want to use a mat.
    I can tell you that the Fiskars connecting mats I ordered smelled putrid for a long time. I laid them out flat and wiped down with a mixture of baking soda, vinegar and a dab of dishwashing liquid, then left them flat for a month. That was several years ago, so I don't know if the smell is gone, or if I just became accustomed to it.

  3. #3
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    I just got a 24X36 Fiskars about 3 weeks ago. No odor at all.

  4. #4
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I have one from the 90's. just hope it outlasts me!!

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    I've had 4 cutting mats and I've used them all right out of the package with no odor at all. They're all Fiskars brand but it seems

  6. #6
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    I bought a Dritz cutting mat on sale at Joann's. Not the best in the world but it works and it doesn't smell at all.

  7. #7
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    I had this same question after buying the same Olga mat. I wrote to the company and they got back to me. Said all their mats smelled and suggested I leave it out to air it out. At present mine has been in the garage for a week. Still smells. Olfa also said to wash it down with Pine Sol or something with a lemon scent. They said I might have to do it several times. I haven't decided what I am going to do. I will wash it down and see what happens.
    Marilyn

  8. #8
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    Man, you would think that Olfa would do something about their manufacturing process to eliminate this problem! It seems most everyone has had a cutting mat that smells like skunk or worse!! This problem goes back at least to 2011!! I can't even stand to walk by them in the store.
    If it was me, I would return those mats and look for something else. If it smells in the store, it will smell even worse when it gets in a smaller space. I had a couple of small ones that smelled and after two years of them living on my back porch and too many "fixes" to count, I just trashed them. Never ever got that smell to go away.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/search....rchid=13415318

  9. #9
    Super Member Butterfli19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarLeClair View Post
    I had this same question after buying the same Olga mat. I wrote to the company and they got back to me. Said all their mats smelled and suggested I leave it out to air it out. At present mine has been in the garage for a week. Still smells. Olfa also said to wash it down with Pine Sol or something with a lemon scent. They said I might have to do it several times. I haven't decided what I am going to do. I will wash it down and see what happens.
    Mar, don't bother, return them because the smell will not dissipate. One that I returned to JoAnn's had the clerk complaining! He said they get quite a few of them back because of the smell. Further, why spend that amount of money on something you can't use right away? What's the point?

    I work in manufacturing and I can't help but wonder what that factory smells like.
    Nancy

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  10. #10
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    Mine are by June Tailor. Never had a problem, and this is my third one.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  11. #11
    Super Member Weezy Rider's Avatar
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    The older ones didn't smell. I have two that I've kept for paper crafts and the other half to cut stuff on. They never smelled, but cleaning them took the lines off and I had coffee, glue and other craft stuff all over them.

    It must be a new chemical in mfg if Fiskars is smelling, too.

    I now use Martelli and they don't smell. I bought the Roundabout one which is NOT made by them and I didn't smell anything. That doesn't mean they won't have an odor in the future, though.

  12. #12
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    Mine smelled, but it didn't last long. I was just so happy to get a mat and start quilting, I didn't mind.
    Lisa

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    I guess my question is...do you buy anything else that has an offensive odor, and air it out or wash in some solution before use? Not me......not when there are other choices......jmho

  14. #14
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I bought a 24 x 36 Olfa about 9 months ago from my LQS, NEVER had a smell issue.

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    I have a couple of these: http://calibreart.com/ They are thicker, do not warp like the Olfa and do not smell. (Don't know if they can warp, but they are thicker. My Olfa warped in a not that hot car in a parking garage.)
    Last edited by yngldy; 05-13-2017 at 07:38 AM.

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    The factories in China, where most of the mats are made, are heavy on the use of chemicals. The odor penetrates the mats and remains for a long time.

    I had to replace my 1990s Fiskars (no odor ever back then) a few years ago and asked on here first for recommendations, and kept reading about the heavy odor. So when I finally decided I wanted an Olfa mat, I ventured to JoAnn and went to the very back mat hanging on the peg. I figured it had been there the longest. I smelled it and it was okay (although I was put off by the ones hanging on the front end. I took off the 7 or 8 in front (must've looked funny to anyone around, but who cares?) --which isn't exactly easy--but then put the mat in my cart, replaced the others on the peg, and drove around the store to test the mat for odor. It was only faint. I brought it home, poured vinegar on it, set ii out in the sunshine for a day or two, and it was fine.

    That said, if I had to replace it again, I would certainly look into what yngldy suggested--the Calibre Art ones. Never heard of them, but I trust what I read. It'd be worth the extra money to me, considering you have a mat for a LONG time, so the price difference over years is negligible for the price of your lungs.

  17. #17
    Super Member Ariannaquilts's Avatar
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    I bought my current cutting mat at Walmart a couple of years ago no smell and I believe it cost me 29.99. I really like it because it is 2 sided and has a square up area in the center of it. I have never had a problem with the Olfa cutting mats that I bought in the past with odor, must be something new since I switched brands.
    Maria
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  18. #18
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    You will never meet anyone more sensitive to smells than me. Something as small as burnt toast makes me nauseous and headachy. I have 4 Olfa mats and 2 Fiskar's mats purchased as long ago as 15 years ago to as recently as last Christmas and none had/have slightest smell. All my mats came from Walmart so I wonder if the fact that they are hung in a large open space for who knows how long helps to get ride of any smell the mat may have.

  19. #19
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    My DH ordered 2 large Olfa mats for me for Christmas, he got them on Amazon, and neither one had a smell. They were shipped in large thin flat boxes (I know since he wrapped them in the shipping boxes.) I'm another one that can't be around perfume and other chemical type combinations.

  20. #20
    Super Member Sync's Avatar
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    I recently bought an Olfa 24 X 36 cutting mat from my LQS, and there has been no problems with odors.

  21. #21
    Super Member Butterfli19's Avatar
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    So different, our experiences. I agree the older ones didn't smell as bad, and the smaller ones don't either. Maybe it varies from factory to factory? Obviously the larger the mat the more treatment it needs, but I guess we'll never know.

    Anyway, I went to JoAnn's and bought the 18x24 Fiskars mat and no odor. If you stick your nose right on it there is a smell, but it isn't putrid. Had it in my bedroom last night and no smell. Yay! I did check the larger size Olfa mats and could barely bring them to my face because of the smell. Must have looked funny - "check out the crazy lady smelling mats!" lol.

    Anyway, so far so good! Time to wash fabric and sewwwwwwwww!
    Nancy

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  22. #22
    Super Member meanmom's Avatar
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    My DD gave me an Olfa rotating mat for Christmas a year ago. I opened the package and it smelled awful. I figured it would be gone in a few minutes. NO! I got a headache from the smell. I put it in the room across the hall and figured it would be ok. The next day when I got home from work I could smell it all over the house. I put it down the basement for about a month and the smell is gone. You could put it in a box or bag with crumpled newspaper, that is supposed to help remove odors. I find the Fiscars mats dull my blades faster. Or you could put it in a large trash bag with one of those refrigerator boxes of baking soda.

  23. #23
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
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    Our Extension Agent bought about ten of these last September. They stunk so bad I could not stand to be near them and they still smell but not so badly. I started bringing my own. I prefer Fiskars since they are two-sided.
    Aurora

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  24. #24
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    Those mats smell so bad that I can't even walk by them in a store without getting a headache. When I asked a clerk about the smell, she said that they didn't smell??? I buy the white cutting mats. Expensive, by last a long time. No smell.
    Penny

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanmom View Post
    My DD gave me an Olfa rotating mat for Christmas a year ago. I opened the package and it smelled awful. I figured it would be gone in a few minutes. NO! I got a headache from the smell. I put it in the room across the hall and figured it would be ok. The next day when I got home from work I could smell it all over the house. I put it down the basement for about a month and the smell is gone. You could put it in a box or bag with crumpled newspaper, that is supposed to help remove odors. I find the Fiscars mats dull my blades faster. Or you could put it in a large trash bag with one of those refrigerator boxes of baking soda.
    I'd rather have a dull blade than "the house that gags".

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