Home » How to Remove Musty Odors from Furniture

How to Remove Musty Odors from Furniture

Outdoor Furniture

Furniture, especially those that have been stored in an attic, basement, or garage, can develop a musty smell. Successfully eliminating the lingering odors depends on the furniture’s age and type of materials from which it is made. Following are tips to remove musty odors from various types of furniture.

Musty odors can result from furniture having been exposed to mold or mothballs. Bacteria and germs can permeate wood and create a musty smell. Antique furniture might release unpleasant odors. When aiming to keep beautiful furniture but remove the smell, a DIY approach is effective.

1. Wood FurnitureMan Assembling Furniture

Given that wood is porous, furniture fashioned out of wood materials has the tendency to absorb the smells of its environment. Wooden furniture kept in an old house or moldy basement, for instance, will take in the odors of its immediate surroundings.

Dehumidification eliminates musty smells when the source of the odors is due to where the furniture had been originally stored. Move the furniture from the old environment and into an air-conditioned room with low moisture. Run the dehumidifier for several hours over the course of a few days.

Sunlight works wonders when the furniture’s musty odors are mild. Placing the furniture under the sun is also a practical tactic when the homeowner does not own a dehumidifier or lives in a dry climate with low relative humidity. Allow the furniture to air out under a covered porch.

Sand the wood furniture’s original finish to remove musty odors. After sanding, let the furniture breathe for a short period. Keep the furniture in an air-conditioned room during this time so that the wood does not absorb new odors. Refinish the wood with stain and finish with a clear coat.

Wood soap is effective for odor removal when the cause of the smell is bacteria. Germs and bacteria develop when wooden furniture is stored in moisture-rich spaces. Wood soap cleans the wood and kills the bacteria inside it. Once cleaned, allow the furniture to dry out completely.

When cleaning the wood furniture with wood soap, take care to wipe every inch of surface space. Bacteria can hide in inconspicuous places, making it important to remove all the moving pieces. Wipe the insides and outsides of drawers, undersides of surfaces, and anywhere the wood touches air.

Household staples, like coffee grounds, vinegar, and charcoal, can absorb musty odors from wood furniture. Place the odor-absorbing substance in a bowl and let it sit inside the closed furniture drawers. After a few days, check for odors. Replenish with new coffee grounds or vinegar, as needed.

Diluted bleach also eliminates musty odors caused by bacteria. Sufficient dilution is necessary: one part bleach mixed with 10 parts water. Wipe the wooden surfaces with the solution. The wood should remain damp—but not saturated—for 30 minutes to let the bleach kill the bacteria.

Wood furniture deodorizers solve the smelly problem, too. Wood restoration kits clean the wood surface and restore the finish. Multi-purpose cleaners effectively sanitize and disinfect wood. All-purpose deodorizing sprays can be used to whisk away musty odors from wood furniture.

2. Upholstered Furniture

Outdoor Furniture

Moisture in upholstered furniture can lead to mold or mildew growth, which are common causes for musty odors. Dry out the damp furniture pieces in the sun. Using a spray bottle, apply a solution of vinegar and water. The solution eliminates the smell. Blow dry the furniture until fully dry.

Borax is an effective product that can be used when furniture smells come from the cushion foam. Remove the foam and let it dry in sunlight; the sun’s rays naturally kill odor-causing bacteria. Wash the couch fabric in the wash cycle with borax. Vacuum the foam and hang-dry the covers.

Steam cleaning also works to remove musty smells from the fabric of upholstered furniture. Steam cleaner shampoos effectively deodorize soft materials. Drying times after steam cleaning will vary from two to six hours, depending on the type of furniture fabric.

3. Leather FurnitureLeather Furniture

Lemons leave leather furniture with a fresh, clean scent. Mix one part lemon juice with one part water. Wipe down the vinyl or leather with the solution. While lemon neutralizes odors, it can also bleach the material. Rinse the lemon solution with a clean, damp cloth to prevent discoloration.

Adequate ventilation can prevent furniture from developing musty odors. Simply opening the windows increases air circulation and keeps new furniture from smelling. Freshening up old furniture can be accomplished by natural means, such as using coffee grounds, charcoal, or vinegar.

Vacuum fabric upholstery weekly to keep musty smells at bay. Similarly, wipe down leather furniture on a weekly basis as an effective odor-prevention tactic. Hiring professional upholstery cleaners will ensure the furniture undergoes a thorough, deep clean, and musty odors are no longer present.

Musty Odor Removal and Water Damage RestorationProfessional Upholstery Cleaning

As mentioned, musty furniture odors can result when a room is damp. Moisture causes mold growth, and musty odors result. When you have a moisture problem in your household, contact a professional water damage restoration company, like ServiceMaster.

Our highly skilled technicians arrive at your water damaged property and promptly begin the restoration process. We use proven techniques and advanced equipment to extract all excess moisture from the property. Working quickly, we limit the spread of water damage to other areas.

Another hazard of water damage is mold. ServiceMaster provides reliable mold removal services to rid your property of a mold infestation. Using infrared technology and powerful chemicals, our technicians locate and eliminate all visible and hidden mold colonies.

ServiceMaster technicians specialize in both water damage restoration and mold remediation. Water and mold damage can lead to structural problems; but property owners can rely on our construction capabilities for the swift repair of all structural issues caused by either.

Available 24/7

No matter what caused the water damage in your home or business, count on the expertise offered by ServiceMaster. Our specialists stand by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to respond to emergency water damage cleanup calls. We proudly serve the Lincoln, Grand Island and Omaha, NE, communities.