How To Deodorize Old Furniture


Old wooden furniture looks amazing and feels awesome to the touch. They are also expensive and often become family heirlooms. However, they can also get a nasty musty smell that makes the room inhospitable. If that happens to your old wooden furniture or if it’s broken, you can search for “furniture repair near me” and hire a professional. Otherwise, you can take things into your own hands and try removing the smell. Here’s how:

The Methods

  1. Wood Soap – Musty smell is usually the end result of germs and bacteria inside the wood surface. If you’ve left the old wooden furniture in a humid environment for a long time, it may have been invaded by bacteria and germs. To get rid of them from the wood surface, you need to clean the furniture. However, regular soap won’t get the job done.

Instead, you need to buy wood soap specially designed for this purpose. Get a wood soap from a reputed brand that is effective at the job. For instance, Murphy makes amazing products for cleaning wood furniture. You can get Murphy’s oil soap and clean your wood to get rid of the germs and the funky smells.

Pour some of the wood soup on a clean microfiber cloth and wipe the wooden furniture. Take your time and rub the wooden surface. Repeat until the smell is removed. You can also remove grease, dirt, and grime from all kinds of wooden furniture with wood soap. It is also an extremely affordable product. A gallon would cost you a few bucks at most.

  1. Use a dehumidifier – Wood is a porous material. When your wood furniture gets old, you need to maintain and reseal it so that it doesn’t absorb things around it. If your old wooden furniture hasn’t been sealed and finished in a long time it may have absorbed the moisture, air, and all kinds of bad smells around it. Especially so if the furniture has been sitting in the attic or basement for a long time and you’ve brought it out recently.

To fix this issue, move the furniture away from the smelly room and keep it in an air-conditioned room with relatively low moisture. Get a humidifier and place it close to the furniture. Turn it on and close the door of the room. Doing this for several hours over a few days should get rid of the smell.

  1. Bake in the sun – You may not have a dehumidifier if you live in a relatively dry climate. If that’s the case, you can simply take your old wooden furniture out and let it soak in the sun. however, don’t put it directly under the sun which can damage the finish of the furniture. Instead, you can keep the furniture under the porch. You can also get a tarp and place it on the surface of the porch before you place the furniture outside. If the smell isn’t too severe, this method would work well.
  1. Sand and Refinish – When wood absorbs different smells or has a musty smell, it’s usually on the surface. Otherwise, you’d be able to spot clear signs of damage and would need to take your furniture to a repair store. When the smelly agents are on the surface, sanding them away can get rid of the problem.

Get a sanding machine and sand the furniture with the appropriate grit surface. This will get rid of the original finish. After that allow the furniture to sit in an air-conditioned room and let it breathe. Don’t put it back in the smelly room. After that, you can stain the furniture with a few coats and allow each coat to dry properly before you apply the next one. Finally, seal the finish with a clear coat so that it stays protected from moisture and air.

  1. Dryer Sheets – If the smell isn’t too awful, you can also use dryer sheets to get rid of the nasty odor. Dryer sheets don’t just work as anti-static agents for your clothes, but the same property also makes them highly absorbent to smells and odors. Rub the furniture with dryer sheets and if there are drawers you can line them up with a few dryer sheets to cover the surface. While this won’t get rid of the smell completely, it can mask it very well.
  1. Baking soda – If the smell is moderate on the stinky scale you have to get some household baking soda. Put the baking soda in a bowl and place it on the furniture. If it’s a cabinet or a drawer, get smaller bowls with baking soda and place them in each compartment. The size of the furniture is directly proportional to the amount of baking soda you need.

Leave the baking soda with the furniture in an air-conditioned room for a week. This should get rid of most of the smell. You can also use odor-eliminating carpet powders like those sold by Arm and Hammer.

  1. Charcoal and coffee grounds – For furniture with deep compartments and tricky nooks and crannies you can also get charcoal or coffee grounds. These are great products that are good at absorbing smells. For compartments and drawers, you can place them in bowls and leave them for a few days.

Otherwise, you can use them to scrub the furniture surface and get rid of the smell. However, don’t use force while cleaning the furniture. Dap a clean cloth with some crushed charcoal or coffee grounds and rub it gently in a circular motion on the furniture. Finally, you can clean it with a wood soap and allow the furniture to dry off.


There are several ways of getting rid of the foul smell of old wooden furniture. From using a water and vinegar solution to letting it rest in the sun or even using wood soap. If you’re still unable to get rid of that foul smell or if your furniture is broken, you can search for “furniture repair near me” and hire a professional to do the job.

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