I know many of you are thrift store, yard-sale junkies like myself (high-five to that!) and you’re probably always bringing home random pieces of furniture that need some love and TLC. And let’s be honest–there’s a good chance that furniture probably has a funky smell. Well this post is your solution for that problem my friends! Today I have 5 ways to remove that musty smell from old furniture. You know what I’m talking about–the stale, funky nursing home smell that so often accompanies the most beautiful vintage furniture. It’s ain’t good. And no amount of hot, soapy water or time in the sun will even come close to removing it. I was actually talking to my mom about this the other day and she mentioned a few old-fashioned tricks that work really well to eliminate that musty smell. So today I’ve combined her tips with a few things that have worked for me in the past. These should help whether you’re dealing with something a little stinky or extra stinky. I’ve got you covered for all levels of stink! Let’s get to it, shall we?
This is the easiest tip of the bunch and it works well if the smell you’re dealing with is about a four out of ten on the yuckiness scale. It’s not going to take the smell away, but it will certainly mask it. If you have an old dresser just line the drawers with dryer sheets or if it’s a vintage trunk just find a way to stash a few of them inside. This is a really great little trick for lots of yucky smells!
Baking Soda or Carpet Powder
Again, this one is for more mild to moderate smells. Grab some good old-fashioned baking soda, put it in a bowl and place it in the furniture. The bigger the piece the more baking soda you’ll need. For example, if you’re working on a dresser you’ll need a bowl in each drawer. Close it up and leave it for at least a week. Probably two if you’re dealing with a more serious smell. The baking soda will absorb it up like magic. You can also try using one of those odor eliminating carpet powders like this one. Use it in the exact same way as the baking soda.
Vinegar & Water Solution
This is an old-school trick that works well for those really, really funky smells. White vinegar will work the best, but if you don’t have that on hand you can try apple cider vinegar as well. Just mix water and vinegar together using a 1:1 ratio and thoroughly wipe down your piece of furniture, then allow it to air dry. Or you can also fill a spray bottle with the solution and spray it down, whichever your little heart desires. This stuff definitely works. Vinegar is a great natural cleaner and will do the trick just fine!
Murphy’s Oil Soap
Have you guys heard of Murphy Oil Soap Wood Cleaner? This stuff is the bomb and works wonders for actually cleaning wood and removing funky smells. And it’s so easy to use–just pour some on a clean cloth and wipe the piece down really well. Easy peasy for the win and it’s really effective.
Paint with a Powerful Primer
This is the one that works best for those really strong odors that just don’t want to go away. When I bought this old dresser from Salvation Army last year it had that classic musty smell. The whole thing smelled awful actually. I painted it using this KILZ Multi-Surface Primer and I was seriously ammmmmazed at how well that primer blocked the smell. It’s like it sealed it all in and gave me a fresh canvas to start from. If you’re willing to paint the piece of furniture, even if it’s just the inside, I’d definitely consider giving primer a try. This works really well if your furniture has a serious smell problem going on. It sure worked wonders for me!
Well friends, those are my five best tips and tricks for removing musty smells from old furniture. I know it’s not the most glamorous topic to talk about, but it’s definitely something that comes along with having a lot of vintage furniture. And you gotta deal with it! I sure hope this post was helpful. Especially with yard sale season officially underway, you might want to keep this list handy for the next time you bring home a beautiful old dresser that smells like it made a trip to Funky Town, USA. I’d also love to hear what tricks you use. I am sure you’re all full of wisdom and great ideas too, so please don’t hesitate to share with me. I’d really love to hear it!
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