If you have ever picked up pieces of furniture at an estate sale, garage sale, or thrift store, you may have encountered different smells inside the drawers or inside the piece that you had a hard time getting rid of. A lot of times, you don’t notice the smell until you get the piece home and you start working on it. Other times, you love a piece, but you get a hint of a musty smell or something else that makes you think you can’t rescue it. I love finding old furniture pieces that have a ton of potential. It is always such a bummer when a piece you love has a smell in it that you aren’t sure you can get out of. I have learned some tricks over the years for how to get smells out of furniture and I am sharing them today.
How To Get Smells Out Of Furniture
If you have a smell in the wood that hasn’t seeped all the way through every layer, sanding can work amazingly at getting the smell out. You sand away the top layers of the wood that soaked up the smell and reveal the layers underneath that were hopefully safe from the smells.
I have been introduced to a new line of paint. Wise Owl Paint has a salve that has been shown to get rid of smells in furniture. I can’t wait to try this option on the next piece I find that has a smell. It will be the first option I try. It says you just wipe the salve inside the drawers and it works wonders. On some stronger smells, you may need more coats of the salve, but either way, this would be so easy to do! I am excited to try it.
There have been many times that the sun has gotten rid of smells in furniture I have rescued. You need a day with full sun. Remove all the drawers and open any doors on the piece of furniture and set the piece in the direct sun for the entire day. You want the areas that have the smell to be in direct sunlight. So, sometimes I have to lay a piece down on its back after I have removed the drawers so the inside is facing the sun.
In some pieces that I have rescued, a mix of vinegar and water has worked really well. I will “wash” the piece inside and out with vinegar and water and let it fully dry. You never want to heavily soak a piece of wood furniture with a ton of water, but a good cleaning with vinegar and water has worked on some pieces.
Sometimes the smell just needs some coffee. HAHA. I have spread a good thick layer of inexpensive coffee grounds (unused) inside drawers and let them sit for a few days to soak up the smells. I am not a coffee drinker, but I do love the smell of coffee so it is a win-win. Once the smell is gone, you can leave the drawers open for a few days to get rid of the coffee smell if you want to. It hasn’t ever been a lasting smell inside the drawers for me.
This is the same concept at the coffee grounds. Spread a good layer of baking soda inside drawers and let sit for a day or so. I just use the shop vac to pick up the baking soda and coffee grounds when I am done. I have also heard that newspapers inside the drawers with baking soda helps as well. I haven’t tried it but definitely will. The newspaper absorbs the order.
This is another idea that was brought to me but I haven’t tried yet. It makes sense though. Cedar is used inside chests and closets so putting some cedar blocks inside drawers to get rid of a smell should work.
Some pieces just aren’t worth rescuing. Some smells will not come out. If the smell is really strong, I don’t pick them up anymore. I don’t want to go through the hassle and the smell usually doesn’t come out all the way. Make sure you know what you can deal with and what you can work with and know what you have to leave and walk away from. It will save you time, money, and your sanity.
I have used most of these options and each has worked for different pieces. All furniture rescues are different and each smell is different. Sometimes, just a good cleaning works. Other times, the smells have permeated deeper into the wood and you need to take some stronger measures. As you get more comfortable with flipping furniture and picking pieces to make over, you will know the pieces you can pick up and the ones you have to leave. You don’t want to waste a lot of time on a piece you love if you know the smells will never come out. Walk away. Another amazing piece will show up.
I hope these tips help on your next project that has a smell you want to get rid of. If you have other techniques you have used, please leave them in the comments. If you try one of these and it worked well, please share that as well. I am always open to learning new ways to work on projects and it will help everyone else who comes to this post.
PIN THIS POST!
If you liked these tips, you will also love these posts: