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How to get rid of musty smells from old furniture

Updated February 21, 2017

Furniture often develops a musty smell over time, especially when the furniture is subjected to a damp or humid area. This musty smell makes furniture seem old and dirty. Many times the furniture itself is in decent condition and when you remove the musty smell, the furniture can be part of an inviting sitting area where friends and family can enjoy the company of one another.

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  1. Sprinkle the furniture with a light dusting of baking soda and let sit overnight. Remove any cushions or other removable parts and sprinkle those as well.

  2. Vacuum the furniture the next morning using a hose attachment to get rid of the baking soda. Baking soda is a natural odour absorber that will have pulled most, if not all, of the musty smell out of the furniture.

  3. Spray the furniture with a 50/50 solution of water and distilled vinegar. Cover the entire furniture piece with a light mist and allow to air dry. If any odour is present after a few hours, spray on another application.

  4. Sit the furniture outdoors in direct sunlight for several hours, when possible, to air out. Fresh air often reduces or entirely removes the musty smells.

  5. Tip

    When storing furniture, store in a cool, dry place to prevent musty smells from developing. Also, collect spills as soon as they develop to prevent moisture from seeping into furniture padding, where mildew can begin to grow.

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Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum cleaner

About the Author

Mel Frank is a professional freelance writer with over 15 years of writing experience. She has completed a wide variety of writing assignments for a number of publications that include CNN and various websites. Frank received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from a prestigious university in Pennsylvania.

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