Tips and Tricks

How to Remove Smells From Furniture

You just picked up your flea market find of the year! It’s beautiful and you have the perfect spot for it. You can’t wait for it to be that perfect conversation piece. Except every time you go near it, it stinks! You clean it front and back but it still just smells. Some furniture can get a musty smell or even cigarette smell to it. We have some tips on how to rid that beautiful piece of the stench. I am going to teach you just how to remove smells from furniture. 

How to remove smells from furniture

I worked in disaster restoration for 15 years. We took furniture from homes covered in smoke and sut we cleaned them right up in almost every case we where able to remove the smoke smell from the furniture. Check out below on how to remove smells from furniture.

The Process

  1. First start by cleaning with mild dish soap and water. If you think you need something a littler stronger you can try denatured alcohol and water. Clean the front back underneath inside outside. It is always best to check the finish by first rubbing your cleaning solution on a small area before going forward. You solution can be up to 50/50 of each but for older pieces of furniture I would suggest 40% denatured alcohol 60% water. If your solution has too much denatured alcohol is can make the finish white- which is the reason you always test first. 
  2. If you have access to a small ozone machine like this one I got from amazon. Put the ozone air purifier in a very small room with the furniture leave in there for a few days.
  3. Then I have used febreeze but I personally like the norwex odorizing spray. Spray the deodorizing spray on all the RAW wood sides. You don’t want to spray this on anything with a finish it could damage it.
  4. If you do all of that and you still have some stink you can also buy some cedar liners for the inside of cabinets or drawers.

Final Step (If the above doesn’t work)

So if all of that fails consider shellac now depending on where the smell is coming from you can seal the RAW areas with shellac. It comes in an aerosol and its easy to spray on. Pull out drawers spray the drawers inside and outside same with inside the cabinet and underneath. If the smell is coming from the top or outside you may want to consult a professional on restoring the finish.

NOTE: An antique piece you will want to make sure that the  finish that is put on it will be the same as the existing. Or contact your local restorer to preserve it for you.

Thanks again for reading this week! What do you have that you love that just stinks? Let us know if you try any of these tips and tricks.

Happy removing smells from furniture,

Tara Lou

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how to remove smells from furniture

Tara Lou

Mama, wife, furniture connoisseur, small business owner, nature-lover, homebody, hunter.

2 thoughts on “How to Remove Smells From Furniture

  1. Any help for the finish if you used too much denatured alcohol and it turned white? Thanks for a really informative article. Trying to reclaim my smoky-smelling dressing thrift store find!

    1. Wendy, More than likely it is an old lacquer finish. This is very common and happens to me often. If you are painting you might want to just remelt that lacquer by rubbing a little lacquer thinner on it with a lint free rag. After the lacquer and finish is completely dry you can continue on with your prep-work and sanding. If you are trying to restore the finish look up and purchase amalgamator.

      Hope that helps please let me know how it turns out!

      Tara Lou

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