Friday, November 4, 2011

Free Advice Friday- Getting that old, musty smell out of furniture

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.

Baking Soda: I don't know about you, but I love baking soda because it works for just about everything. Once again... put it in a container inside your furniture just like the others, but disguard when finished.
Coffee: Weird, right?! Ground, dry coffee will work as well. [Please just don't use the good Starbucks stuff... cuz' that's just wrong.]

Surely you will only need to use one or two of these methods; however, if you try every idea and it's still too funky to bring into your home... I don't know what to tell you, maybe you should take it to Goodwill and let someother poor sap figure it out ;)


  1. I find that it helps for stubborn mustiness to give an extended airing - a week or more in a protected area like a porch where the air can really get to it. Some things just take time.

  2. Hello. Saw your link over on tt&j and thought I would come have a look. I have never heard of the coffee idea, sounds like it's worth a try!

  3. I have used Febreeze spray on old things. It does help, but putting it in the direct sun has been my best solution

  4. Great ideas. Thanks. I grow lavender and ususally use that and that helps, but some of the items still have a funky smell so I think I will try one of your ideas.

  5. Great advice! Vinegar is wonderful for so many uses and the baking soda will work just like when you place it in the fridge (at least, I do).

  6. TSP, TSP, TSP!! Used it today on a REALLy smelly dresser and after two wipe downs it was golden!


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