Author Topic: How to get smell out of wood furniture?  (Read 472 times)

Villanelle

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How to get smell out of wood furniture?
« on: May 30, 2021, 05:12:53 PM »
We just bought a dining set (table and chairs) from marketplace.  It's lovely, but it smells very strongly of cooking spices.  I plan to reupholster the chairs, but even the wood smells.  The chairs are upstairs and the table in the basement and the table definitely smells, strongly enough that you can smell it when you come down the stairs even though it is about 20 yards away.  I've carefully wiped it down with cleaner, and it definitely still smells.  I'm hoping for a sunny day so I can set it outside, but a sun bath might not be enough.  Any other suggestions? 

Frankies Girl

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Re: How to get smell out of wood furniture?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2021, 05:38:30 PM »
Depending on the finish, I'd try using a mix of water and vinegar (ALWAYS test in a hidden spot before proceeding). I have also heard of denatured alcohol and water (not sure of ratios).

If you wiped it down on all surfaces, even the underside, with cleaners, then next step is airing out if you can. The longer it can be outside in the fresh air and sun, the better.

Could also clean well and put in a smaller space with a dehumidifier. Sometimes it's moisture that traps smells. Big time step up: may also try renting a small ozone machine but do NOT operate when any people or pets are around, and air out space very well after usage.

socaso

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Re: How to get smell out of wood furniture?
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2021, 09:32:47 AM »
A few years ago I bought a car that was previously owned by a smoker. After doing a bit of research I bought a product called Ozium. Left it in my car and within a few days the smell was gone. I continued to leave it in my car for a few more months until it dried out and I tossed it away. The car has never smelled like smoke since.

GuitarStv

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Re: How to get smell out of wood furniture?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2021, 01:17:48 PM »
I've had little experience getting smells out of wood furniture, but have had a lot of experience getting weird smells out of old acoustic guitars - which is a real bitch when the smell is from inside the sound hole.

- First take a damp cloth (just damp, not dripping) and scrub every inch of the wood (top and bottom).  Smells often stick in dust that works its way into every crevice and nook.  Mechanical scrubbing will remove the lion's share of this.
- Next stick the stuff out on a hot summer day in direct sunlight for several hours.  Do this several days in a row and make sure that you have different angles of the object in the sun (front/back/top/bottom).  The UV rays and heat will both help to kill bacteria, and bacteria can cause/enhance smells.
- Take some baking powder and puff some all over the wood, making sure that it gets into any fine cracks.  Let it sit for a day or so, then vacuum it up.  This powder can get into nooks and crannies that you can't easily fit your rag and will absorb smells.
- After all of the above I'll take a damp cloth with some vinegar and water and rub it all over the stuff one more time.
- Usually this will dramatically reduce stink . . . but in some persistent cases I'll take a single drop of cedar essential oil and rub it into a non-obvious part of the wood somewhere.  This will wear off in a week or so, and usually after this period of time the smell should have largely worn off.

Villanelle

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Re: How to get smell out of wood furniture?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2021, 01:26:29 PM »
I've had little experience getting smells out of wood furniture, but have had a lot of experience getting weird smells out of old acoustic guitars - which is a real bitch when the smell is from inside the sound hole.

- First take a damp cloth (just damp, not dripping) and scrub every inch of the wood (top and bottom).  Smells often stick in dust that works its way into every crevice and nook.  Mechanical scrubbing will remove the lion's share of this.
- Next stick the stuff out on a hot summer day in direct sunlight for several hours.  Do this several days in a row and make sure that you have different angles of the object in the sun (front/back/top/bottom).  The UV rays and heat will both help to kill bacteria, and bacteria can cause/enhance smells.
- Take some baking powder and puff some all over the wood, making sure that it gets into any fine cracks.  Let it sit for a day or so, then vacuum it up.  This powder can get into nooks and crannies that you can't easily fit your rag and will absorb smells.
- After all of the above I'll take a damp cloth with some vinegar and water and rub it all over the stuff one more time.
- Usually this will dramatically reduce stink . . . but in some persistent cases I'll take a single drop of cedar essential oil and rub it into a non-obvious part of the wood somewhere.  This will wear off in a week or so, and usually after this period of time the smell should have largely worn off.

Thanks!  This is mostly what I've been doing (chairs out out baking in the sun as I type, for the third day) but includes a few things I haven't tried.  The smell is definitely still there, and strong enough that when we set them in the living room overnight, the room smells even after I carry them back outside.  But--and maybe this is just wishful sniffing--I think maybe it is at least decreasing a bit. 

 I think it has been cleaned about as well as I can clean it.  It has some fairly ornate carvings so getting into them was difficult.  When in doubt, I squirted the cleaning product into those and let it run out and down, several times, then squirted with water and blotted, so as to hopefully get out any particles that might be stuck in the deeper carvings. 

I've got an orange cleaning product arriving tomorrow and after I clean with that, I'll try the baking powder bath. 

I knew that buying used upholstered items carried this risk, but it never occurred to me that wood might, especially wood that appears clean and generally well-carried for. 

GuitarStv

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Re: How to get smell out of wood furniture?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2021, 01:31:23 PM »
I've had little experience getting smells out of wood furniture, but have had a lot of experience getting weird smells out of old acoustic guitars - which is a real bitch when the smell is from inside the sound hole.

- First take a damp cloth (just damp, not dripping) and scrub every inch of the wood (top and bottom).  Smells often stick in dust that works its way into every crevice and nook.  Mechanical scrubbing will remove the lion's share of this.
- Next stick the stuff out on a hot summer day in direct sunlight for several hours.  Do this several days in a row and make sure that you have different angles of the object in the sun (front/back/top/bottom).  The UV rays and heat will both help to kill bacteria, and bacteria can cause/enhance smells.
- Take some baking powder and puff some all over the wood, making sure that it gets into any fine cracks.  Let it sit for a day or so, then vacuum it up.  This powder can get into nooks and crannies that you can't easily fit your rag and will absorb smells.
- After all of the above I'll take a damp cloth with some vinegar and water and rub it all over the stuff one more time.
- Usually this will dramatically reduce stink . . . but in some persistent cases I'll take a single drop of cedar essential oil and rub it into a non-obvious part of the wood somewhere.  This will wear off in a week or so, and usually after this period of time the smell should have largely worn off.

Thanks!  This is mostly what I've been doing (chairs out out baking in the sun as I type, for the third day) but includes a few things I haven't tried.  The smell is definitely still there, and strong enough that when we set them in the living room overnight, the room smells even after I carry them back outside.  But--and maybe this is just wishful sniffing--I think maybe it is at least decreasing a bit. 

 I think it has been cleaned about as well as I can clean it.  It has some fairly ornate carvings so getting into them was difficult.  When in doubt, I squirted the cleaning product into those and let it run out and down, several times, then squirted with water and blotted, so as to hopefully get out any particles that might be stuck in the deeper carvings. 

I've got an orange cleaning product arriving tomorrow and after I clean with that, I'll try the baking powder bath. 

I knew that buying used upholstered items carried this risk, but it never occurred to me that wood might, especially wood that appears clean and generally well-carried for.

Worst case scenario if nothing else works, it might be worth spraying the wood over with a light layer of lacquer (you've already got it stripped).  This way you can lock in whatever stink remains.  You would need to be careful to test in an unobtrusive area to make sure that it's compatible with the current finish, and would also probably need to do some buffing/polishing after spraying.  It might be worth it though, depending on how much it bothers you.

SunnyDays

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Re: How to get smell out of wood furniture?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2021, 02:27:47 PM »
I don't know how it might affect the finish, but mustard is also a good odor remover.  You need to make a paste with mustard powder (not the bottled condiment) and smear it on.  The longer you can leave it the better.  Then just wipe it off well.  Retreat if necessary.