07-30-2011 07:44 AM
A friend of mine just asked me how to get rid of the musty smell that sometimes comes with old furniture. She describes it as "old people funk" (sorry if you fit this description!). She says she's tried putting it in the son and putting charcoal in the drawers. What kinds of things can she do to help this?
07-30-2011 08:36 AM - edited 07-30-2011 08:37 AM
How about some mild detergent, a bristle scrub brush (natural fibers only, of course) and some good ol' fasioned elblow grease? As in: wash it. Dishes and clothes don't get put out in the sun to get themselves clean, so why would it work for the dresser?
Wood Online Moderator
07-30-2011 08:40 AM
I am assuming that she doesn't want to refinish the furniture.
How about an ozone generator? Ozone has the ability to "neutralize" odors as well as react with many organic compounds. Put the ozone generator in an enclosed area with the furniture.
07-30-2011 09:08 AM
A neighbor who purchased the home next to me had a house and furniture that wreaked of the odor of cigar smoke. The previous owner lived there over 40 years and smoked cigars constantly. Except for painting the ceilings, the odor was removed with buckets of water, detergent, sponges and lots of elbow grease.
Al Salisbury, MA
07-30-2011 09:47 AM
It all comes down to cleaning. Use a mild soap or detergent, and keep the water reasonably clean (change it out often). This may have to be done multiple times.
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07-30-2011 09:48 AM
Little tubs of baking soda may help in drawers.
Febreeze stops the dog from stinking and they supposedly spray some nasty furniture with it and blindfolded folks think they are in a nice clean environment.
For the outside of wood furniture I'd try either mild soap and water or Murphy's Oil Soap and after it dried a liberal wiping with a scented spray wax/polish...Pledge, Endust, etc
07-30-2011 09:56 AM
A lot of times this comes from the unfinished insides and drawer sides. For this, I do a wipe with denatured alcohol, then seal with a couple of light coats of shellac. I spray this shellac so it only takes a couple of minutes and dries in 20 minutes.
For funk on the outside, a wash with Dawn and water, then a wipe with mineral spirits or naphtha will do a good cleaning. For really heavily soiled (smoke, cooking grease, etc.), I used to use a product that worked extremely well, but now sadly is discontinued. From what I could tell, it was very similar to Formula 409. Spritz on a rag and wipe. Then rinse with clear water. FWIW, I've never had much luck with Murphy's, and when I have cleaned up behind it, the methods above clean up much better.
07-30-2011 10:11 AM
All the way back to my grandparents ,baking soda was kept in the refrigerators to absorb unpleasant odors.
A lady brought in an old tall sewing machine cabinet which had been in a flood and the people said trash it if I couldn't fix the smell. All I did was shut a couple of big boxes of baking soda inside for a few weeks and the smell disappeared. She was happy. Don't know if it ever returned but she never called if it did!!!