How to get rid of stinky smells in old furniture

As you can imagine I buy a lot of old, vintage and antique type furniture.  These pieces are timeless and I love brining them back to life.  But oftentimes they have lived for years in homes with smokers or in musty basements and the years of odor seem trapped inside them.

 Mold thrives in locations that are dark and damp, and usually appears within wooden furniture after it has been stored within an attic or basement.  When the wood sits for weeks, months, or even years at a time, this smell intensifies.


  • Vinegar and water is another option.  Use white vinegar and water in equal parts and allow the furniture to air dry after you wipe it down. You can also place a few jars of white vinegar inside the furniture. The vinegar smell doesn’t linger and it should remove the odor. Depending on how bad the smell is, you may need to leave the vinegar in place longer and repeat, as necessary
  • Baking soda is another option.  There are two ways to use it.  The first method is to mix 1 part baking soda to 10 parts water and wipe down the furniture.  The second is sprinkle the drawers baking soda in the drawers, which should absorb the odors. Let the baking soda sit for several days, and vacuum it up. You may need to try several applications. Alternately, you can place a bowl of baking soda inside each drawer. The longer it is left in, the better.
  • Let the stinky piece air out. Leave it outside in the sunshine — for days, if necessary.
  • Line the drawers with dryer sheets, and let them work their magic for several days (weeks even, if the smell is quite malodorous).
  • Pour kitty litter into the drawers and leave it for several days. It should absorb the odor. Dump it out, vacuum well and sniff. Repeat, if necessary.
  • Lemon oil works well too.  Wipe down the enitre surface including inside drawers and allow to air dry.
  • Murphy's Oil Soap is a fantastic cleaner for wood that helps rid the piece of trapped in smells.
  • Paint can sometimes mask and cover odors. If the neighbor paints the inside of the drawers, the smell may go away.
  • Once the drawers are clean and the odor has been removed, consider storing scented candles inside the chest of drawers. The candles will cover up any lingering scent that may return over time.

Hope you found these tips helpful!  Happy Thrifting!