how to remove musty smell from antique furniture?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cathleenc, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've got an old, old jelly cabinet that sat in the garage for 2 years - just brought it in, washed it 2x inside and out, and have it sitting, drawers pulled and doors open, a fan blowing for the last 24 hours into the interior.

    Still smells musty and a bit like mouse urine though greatly improved.

    My only remaining idea for clearing out the bad smells are to put cotton balls with some orange essential oil into the corners and maybe some charcoal odor absorbers (like litter box ones) on the undersides of the shelves.

    I plan on fully stripping/repairing/refinishing it this winter (it needs it - someone partially refinished it before) but need the storage space right now.

    Any ideas on to better control/remove the bad smell before using it?

    thanks,
    Cathy
     
  2. ryanthomas

    ryanthomas Well-Known Member

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  3. stamphappy

    stamphappy Well-Known Member

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    The mouse urine would greatly put me off from using it to store foodstuffs. Is it to be used for foodstuffs or linens?

    I'd keep working on it before I started using it.

    Maybe for a month or two, use the charcoal with bunches of fresh crushed herbs in the drawers (that you enjoy), or the essential orange oil or some fresh lavender bunches.

    Good luck to you!
     
  4. chickenista

    chickenista Original recipe! Supporter

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    Time.
    Sunshine and fresh air are great as well.
    It took a long time for the smells to build up and it will take some time for them to fade.
    The herbs and essential oils are a great bet too.
     
  5. 3ravens

    3ravens on furlough-downsized Supporter

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    Did you use some vinegar in the rinse water?
     
  6. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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    Arm & Hammer baking soda works for me.
     
  7. jlrbhjmnc

    jlrbhjmnc Ouch! Pinch you. Supporter

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    Like Chickenista, I was thinking sunshine - if it won't harm the wood/finish. A few hours of sunshine might help.
     
  8. Molly Mckee

    Molly Mckee Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They tell you to use bleach when cleaning up after mice to kill Hanta (sp?) virus. It will do a pretty good job of getting rid of mouse smell. If you are in an area that this virus is around be careful-it can kill you.
     
  9. luvrulz

    luvrulz Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'd set it outside so the sun can burn it off - the smells and all will clear up. Does it look like rain? :)
     
  10. plowjockey

    plowjockey Well-Known Member

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    +1 here also.
     
  11. braggscowboy

    braggscowboy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Washing with soap and bleach would be great to get rid of anything. For the odor of smell in old furniture, that is money. Worth more than new. I use a really nice smelling soap in each drawer and a fabric softner and it will get better, and as time goes by, it will go away. Just find a soap bar with a smell you like and put in in.
     
  12. kenworth

    kenworth Well-Known Member

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    When there are strong smells in a semi-trailer that has a wood floor, fresh ground coffee is poured on the wood to cover the smell. It sits there a while and then is swept out of the trailer.

    IDK if you could adapt this someway to your situation, perhaps some coffee grounds in out of sight places under a large plastic bag?
     
  13. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    I agree...sunshine and fresh air for as long as possible.
     
  14. Haven

    Haven ~Love Saves~ Supporter

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    I scrubbed mine down with Murphey's Oil Soap, then wiped it down with lemon oil multiple times while it aired out in the sun. Helped a lot, but I think it may be impossible to remove the antique furniture smell completely, unless maybe you seal it with a clear coat.
     
  15. where I want to

    where I want to Well-Known Member

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    I have a tiger maple victorian chest of drawers that had a bad mildewy/moldy smell. It took several treatments but I did get the smell out using a dilute bleach solution and using toothbrush and tooth picks to clean out all the cracks. I did also set the drawers out into the sun, flipping them over to expose all sides.
     
  16. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Fill the drawers with fresh pine shavings and let it sit closed up for a couple of weeks.

    A friend of mine moved into a home that just stunk from the previous tenant. They covered every floor in the house with 6" of fresh pine shavings and let it sit for a week. When they shoveled it all back out the house smelled great and the bad smell never came back.
     
  17. blynn

    blynn Well-Known Member

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    I agree with sunshine and fresh air. I had an old desk I'd got at a garage sale and washing it down, then airing it outside for several days (we had a hot and sunny stretch) Also put those charcoal odor absorbers in the drawers while it was outside. It had smelled like cigarette smoke, but I didn't notice any smoke smell anymore when I was through with all that.
     
  18. ronbre

    ronbre Brenda Groth Supporter

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    not just old furniture but new furniture, esp oak, can stink !

    what i did for a new table that smelled bad was to keep cleaning it with cleaners that had smells in them and with cleaners that removed smells ..as often as possible..it took about a year for the smell to finally go completely away..

    the smells are worse when there is high humidity
     
  19. mabeane

    mabeane doll maker/ ND goats

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    Oh this is a timely thread. We just cleaned out my MIL place and she was a person who needed to added any smell to everything. Even the furniture stinks of the perfumey smell. I love these suggestions.