It's Free Advice Friday time... woo-hoo! Today's question is from Heather who wanted to know how to get rid of that old, icky smell that so often accompanies salvaged furniture.
Well Heather, I did a little research and here is what I discovered: first of all, don't bother with the furniture polish. Using that to get rid of odor is like spraying perfume on yourself after running a marathon [ewww.]. Instead, use Murphy's Oil Soap according to directions to clean the wood thoroughly. Then put it in a dry location and let it really, really dry-out [setting it out in the hot sun is best]. Now, in "the land of perfect" that will do the trick and your salvaged piece will have a fresh, lovely scent. However, I don't live in that land... [in fact, I hardly ever even get to visit it] so if you're like me that musty smell will hang-on and you'll have to continue working. Here are a few more extreme approaches to try:
Pine Sol: 2 gallons water with 1/2 cup Pine Sol.
Bleach and water: Wash it down again using 1 part bleach to 2 parts water, or you can dilute it more if you aren't comfortable with that strong of a solution... just be safe & smart.
Vinegar and water solution: Washing it with this solution is less harsh than the bleach but it is still effective.
Charcoal: Place unused charcoal briquettes [yup, like you use to grill] in a bowl and place inside your piece. Keep all drawers & cabinets shut for at least 24 hours for best results. You don't even have to throw them away after you're done- they can still be used [Not sure I would though. My mind would trick my mouth into thinking that the chicken tastes musty...]
Kitty Litter: Natural clay kitty litter to be exact. Same drill as the charcoal: just don't throw it on the grill when you're done.
Coffee: Weird, right?! Ground, dry coffee will work as well. [Please just don't use the good Starbucks stuff... cuz' that's just wrong.]