How To Get Rid Of That Old Furniture Smell?

Just bought a new piece of antique furniture that is slowly overpowering your home with a musty smell? While it is not uncommon for older furniture to have an “old” smell, which may vary depending on the conditions the furniture was stored in, that doesn’t mean that you have to live with it to enjoy owning antique furniture! Luckily for antique lovers everywhere, there is a way (actually, there are several) to get rid of that “old furniture” smell.

1. Au Natural

The best way to start is by just letting the furniture air out. Do this by opening up any doors and drawers and temporarily moving any stored items. If possible, move the furniture into the sun in front of an open window or door. You can also vacuum the piece out to remove any layers of dust that have settled. While this won’t work with the mustiest of the bunch, it may help the more “vintage” pieces whose doors and drawers have just been locked up for too long.

2. Lemons

This tip was given by a professional cleaner who recommends cutting up lemons into chunks or slices and then putting them on plates and placing them (with any juice that was released) onto small plates in the drawers and cupboards. Close the furniture up and leave the lemons in place for around 24 hours (but don’t leave the lemons too long or you will end up swapping the musty smell for a moldy one!).

3. Vinegar

Mix vinegar (white distilled works best, but apple cider can also be used) and water at a 1:1 ratio (4:1 ratio of vinegar to water if the smell is very bad). Wipe down all surfaces of the furniture with the solution and leave it to dry (in the sun, if possible). Instead of using a cloth, you could also try spraying the vinegar/water solution and then using a paper towel to spread it (similar to washing your windows).

4. Baking soda / carpet cleaner (powder)

Line the furniture with paper towels and sprinkle a generous dose of baking soda or carpet cleaner/odor remover on top (or use a bowl instead of paper towels). Close the furniture up and leave it for a few days (weeks if it’s really bad!) while the baking soda / carpet cleaner goes to work. Note: If you don’t like an artificial “perfume-y” smell, it would be best to use plain baking soda or unscented carpet cleaner.

5. Use a cleaning oil / soap

Like the vinegar option, use one of these oils / soaps to completely wipe down the furniture and then let it dry:

  • Murphy’s Soap Oil
  • Lemon/Orange oil
  • Spikn’Span (use the powder and mix it with water according to the directions before using)

6. The Easy Way

Open up the drawers / doors and put one (or a combination) of the following inside:

  • Fabric softener sheets (dryer sheets, like Bounce)
  • Cedar blocks
  • Lavender sachets
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Crumpled newspaper
  • Dried coffee grounds

7. If there is moisture...

You may have a musty and a mildewy smell. In this case, the smell may be caused by bacteria. First, if possible, depending on the finish of the furniture, wipe it down with a thinly diluted solution of bleach to kill off any bacteria. If bleach is not an option, look for an anti-bacterial cleaner that won’t ruin the finish on the furniture. Make sure to clean everything very well and wipe down all surfaces. A toothbrush can be useful for getting into smaller nooks and crannies. Once the furniture has been wiped down and left to dry, you can place a sock (or socks or another cloth item) filled with one of the following:

  • baby powder
  • cat litter
  • powdered drywall
  • plaster of Paris

This method will absorb any remaining moisture. If you are afraid to use a bleach or antibacterial solution, you can just use one of the first 6 methods along with the filled socks.

Hopefully one of the above methods will help rid your antique / vintage furniture of that old “musty” smell! Let us know in the comments section if you have had success with one of the methods or if you know of another one that was not mentioned above!

Image posted by a Guest

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.

Add Your Own Comment:

By clicking 'Submit' you agree to the Site Terms
By entering this site you declare you read and agreed to its Terms, Rules & Privacy and you understand that your use of the site's content is made at your own risk and responsibility. Copyright © 2006 - 2018 My Antique Furniture Collection