Why does my manila rope have an odor?
The production of Manila rope in The Philippines involves the addition of cordage oil to the fibers in preparation for being twisted into rope. This high viscosity mineral oil is very light. However, the lighter the oil, the more the oil smells, yet the easier it is for the oil to absorb into the rope fibers.
The cordage oil doesn’t goes away, but the oil will dry into the rope and that’s when the smell dissipates.
Rope from The Philippines that is made in the spring, when it’s very humid, will have a stronger smell. The humidity prevents the oil from drying into the rope efficiently. Rope made in the drier months will not smell as much because the oil has dried into the fibers faster.
If the rope mill is using a batch of fibers that is dry, it means more cordage oil needs to be added prior to production. Dry fibers that are heavily oiled in a high humidity month can result in a very smelly rope when the oil smell mixes with the fiber smell.