Author Topic: Getting musty smell out of old furniture?  (Read 896 times)

Mrs Brightside

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Getting musty smell out of old furniture?
« on: October 30, 2019, 09:20:36 PM »
We've recently been gifted some furniture (solid wood dresser, chest, etc) that is much nicer than our particle board Ikea type furniture. The problem is the furniture had been stored in a basement and it smells very musty. Is it possible to get the smell out without totally sanding it down and refinishing it? It doesn't look moldy but there must be something deep in there. I set the drawers outside in the sun for a day or 2 but it didn't seem to do much. A friend of mine suggested Concrobium which he used for a mold problem, but I don't know if it would harm wood furniture. It's a solution in water, and I thought you weren't supposed to leave moisture on furniture.

Any advice? I'm a DIY newbie and I've never refinished anything so I don't know how hard it is.


  • Bristles
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Re: Getting musty smell out of old furniture?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2019, 10:50:03 PM »
Before considering something as much effort as refinishing, I'd scrub all surfaces inside and out with Murphy's Oil Soap, rinse, hand dry, and leave in the sun until thoroughly dry.  And I do mean ALL surfaces top & bottom, inside and out, not just the easily accessible outside bits.  Do this a couple of times and I'd be surprised if you didn't find most if not all the mustiness has gone away.

You might also want to check to see if there isn't a bit of mold on the bottom of the feet where the furniture was in contact with a damp floor.  Flipping it over to check this while cleaning all the bottom bits will give you an idea of any places mold might be lurking.


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Re: Getting musty smell out of old furniture?
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2019, 02:49:33 AM »
^ I second Murphy’s. I got a lot of furniture from a Habitat ReStore, and it took religious wiping down, alternating between Murphy’s, and vinegar (diluted with water)/citrus essential oil mix.

It just takes time to allow airflow to do its thing once it’s removed from the damp environment. You can possibly speed the process by putting desiccants in drawers and using a dehumidifier.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Getting musty smell out of old furniture?
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2019, 10:26:10 AM »
Those are solid answers. If that doesn't work and you don't want to refinish you can purchase odor blocking paints that dry completely clear. I just used some in my basement on the floor and wall where the cat misbehaved.