Getting Bad Smells Out of Wood Furniture


If I'm allowed to toot my own horn for a minute, I'm pretty darn awesome at finding good stuff on Craigslist (toot toot!).  I know the places to look, I know how to negotiate, I know what things are truly worth and I know how to be safe about it.  Furthermore, I'm pretty darn awesome at knowing the right questions to get the best furniture... err, well, usually.  Alas, sometimes I miss something.

In the case of my gorgeous nursery dresser, I missed a pretty major question in the negotiation process.  "Does it come from a smoke free home?"  Yeah. Oops.

So, I found myself with a piece of wood furniture that I planned to put my baby on...that smelled like nicotine.  Not cool.

Luckily, there are ways to get smoke/pet/food odors out of furniture.  These handy tricks are good to know if, like me, you enjoy recycling and up-cycling old furnishings (and occasionally your brain goes on vacation during the discovery process...)

Bad Smell Killers

#1. Baking Soda
Yes, the does-it-all kitchen staple does this too.  Fill a small bowl or cup with baking soda and place in each drawer.  Close the drawers and leave it there for 1-2 weeks.

#2.  Furniture Cleaner with Orange Oil 
After using the baking soda, give the entire piece a good wipe down with citrus based furniture cleaner.  Orange oil is comprised almost entirely of limonene, which is not only highly scented, but also a very effective solvent.

#3.  Sunshine!  
If possible, set your furniture outside on a sunny, low humidity day (Amazingly, sticking it out in the rain will not do you any favors...).  Open all of the drawers and allow the sun to bake the piece for a few hours.  The sun will kill off any mold or mildew that may be adding to the problem and the air circulation will help air out the porous material. 

#4. Shellac That Puppy
If your furniture STILL has an odor, shellac can be used to seal the wood and squelch the smells.

#5.  Sachets & Scented Drawer Liners 
When the smell is gone (or all but), add sachets or scented drawer liners for a much prettier scent.  Cedar blocks also have a wonderfully woodsy smell and keep moths away.

For my dresser, I was amazed at how well the baking soda and orange oil worked (I may not have even needed the orange oil, but I figured a good cleaning couldn't hurt anyway).  I did wind up adding mildly scented drawer liners, but that was mostly because they were gorgeous!

I'm not likely to forget to ask that question again, but it's good to know there are solutions if I do!

Do you have any nifty tricks for getting rid of unwanted smells in furniture?

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