Ten tricks that work- and those that don't
Many antique lovers have bought a soon to be cherished item only to discover a problem the first time they go to use it. A creepy musty smell that permeates everything, from clothing to the air, often ruins the pleasure people wish to take in their wood furniture. There are several good ways to get rid of that smell.
1) Murphy's oil soap-works sometimes
Follow directions on the can. After using the soap the other methods mentioned in the article can be tried if the smell still persists. Be sure to cover all of the wood, the corners and the outside and even under the handles. The smell is thought to come from the bacteria growing on the old wood, and everyone loves to use soap on germs, especially to get rid of bad smells.
2) Ground dry coffee-works sometimes
Not just for drinking. Take a bowl or plate of dry coffee grounds. Any coffee grounds, and let sit for twenty four hours, at least. Though people say the coffee can be used I don't recommend. If the smell is that bad and the coffee picks up the flavor I can't imagine it tasting good.
Charcoal is plentiful, even for people without wood stoves. Borrow ashes from a neighbor or buy a small bag of charcoal briquettes. If you insist on making your own ashes be careful not to burn your house down. Of course, let all ashes cool before inserting into wooden smelly object. Let them sit twenty four hours and dispose of them however you wish, even toss them back on the barbecue.
4) Febreeze-off and on
This one would appear to be a no brainer but most people think of this wondrous product for carpet, not to remove the old smell from wood. Yet, this is supposed to kill smells and bacteria caused smells which is where the smell is suppose to come from. Use in a well ventilated area as it well probably take a lot to remove the smell and let the wood dry thoroughly before closing drawers or shutting doors.
5) Wadded newspaper-not really
This is probably the cheapest. Old libraries have newspaper. Coffee shops have extras lying around. I don't know how much wadding, exactly, is needed, or why they can't just be laid down and picked up, but use plenty. It might help.
6) Place in the sun-haven't tried it
Oh this sounds like fun. Who ever said it clearly did not live in the northwest. With luck, you might have about five days. Otherwise, be ready to dash out and grab it back before it rains. Obviously, wet wood really doesn't help the smell much. When possible, though, this is might kill of those smelly little germs, however, I fail to see how sunlight would reach every nook and cranny, and odor causing bacteria can be really small, and fit in really small crannies.
7) Skunk odor remover-couldn't find it
This is a product (not the actual name, by the way,) that is sold in pet stores. Ask around and see if you can find some, or borrow some form someone with hunting dogs. Wash and spray and keep doing it along with the charcoal, coffee, or newspaper.
8) Bleach water-works well, on some wood
Make about a fifty fifty solution. That means for every drop of water, use as much bleach, not more. Spray liberally and let dry. Very dry before using. Bleach might be easier to spray into corners but be careful spraying on finished wood or other high end products. If needed, spray a very small part and see if it discolors or blisters the wood. Be careful to soak the wood lightly, not drown it. You want clean smelling antique furniture, not something that appeared to have floated through a flood.
9) Hydrogen peroxide-works okay on some wood
Water a small bottle down. This is actually a cheap product sold inmost grocery stores and used for first aid, dental hygiene and many other uses. Mix with water and carefully wipe down every surface, inside and out and corners. Dry thoroughly.
10) Commercial product.-usually pretty good
Look online for products specifically made for removal of smell from the wood. There is no way to name them all, or even kept rack of what works. Like many products these change frequently, depending on if it works and who makes it and for how long. Price is also an object with products like this. You can try asking at old furniture stores and other places for recommendations on cleaning products for wood.