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How to get gross smells out of old furniture

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Actually, the better title might be, "How do you get the 'dead' smell out of furniture?
But don't call the cops on me; this question came from the cops, a CSI friend of mine.
She wrote: "You can imagine that crime scene investigators like me get interesting questions. However, tonight's, though forensically sound, is more appropriate for my Atta Girls. Neighbor: "How do you get the smell of 'dead' out of furniture?" Seems a 78-year-old, sentimental chest of drawers in her garage became home to a decaying critter without her immediate knowledge. She's tried Fabreeze and bleach, which not only didn't work, but also warped a thin, wood packing crate her father used to craft the piece. Any suggestions?"
I gave my pal some suggestions for getting the stench out of old furniture and thrift store finds, which you can read on my blog, Atta Girl Says. But I also wanted to post the query here at Hometalk.
What are your solutions for removing gross from furniture?

To see more: http://www.attagirlsays.com/2012/09/06/how-to-get-gross-smells-out-of-old-furniture/

Ask the creator about this project

  • Getting the dead out can be done using Ozone. Care must be taken when using chemicals as they can damage the cabinets by warping or leaving a harmful residue behind. Things such as spays, dryer sheets etc, only mask the odor. Odors are a chemical reaction that is caused by Oxygen in the air and what ever was left behind. As time goes on this reaction creates a smell. Here are some factoids on Ozone that you might find interesting. These were copied off of one of the many web sites dedicated to this method of odor removal. Ozone, (O3), sometimes called "activated oxygen", contains three atoms of oxygen rather than the two atoms we normally breathe. Ozone is the second most powerful sterilant in the world and can be used to destroy bacteria, viruses and odors. Interestingly ozone occurs quite readily in nature, most often as a result of lightning strikes that occur during thunderstorms. In fact the "fresh, clean, spring rain" smell that we notice after a storm most often results from nature's creation of ozone. However, we are probably most familiar with ozone from reading about the "ozone layer" that circles the planet above the earth's atmosphere. Here ozone is created by the sun's ultra-violet rays. This serves to protect us from the ultra-violet radiation. While ozone is very powerful, it has a very short life-cycle. When contaminants such as odors, bacteria or viruses make contact with ozone, they are destroyed completely by oxidation. In so doing, that extra atom of oxygen is consumed and there is nothing left...no odor...no bacteria...no extra atom, only oxygen. Ozone reverts back to oxygen after it is used.

  • A Walk in the Countryside
    A Walk in the Countryside Ethel, LA
    on Sep 7, 2012

    I use charcoal. I recently redid an old footlocker but the inside was musky smelling so I sat a bowl of charcoal in it and closed it up. I orginally discovered this secret when some food spoiled in our travel trailer's refrigerator after cleaning it numerous times and still not being able to get the smell out, I tried the charcoal and it worked! It did talk longer to get the smell out of the refrigerator but eventually it was all gone!

  • Becky (J) P
    Becky (J) P Highland, IL
    on Sep 7, 2012

    another question you should have added was how to get "old people" smell out of a house! Which, in my opinion, is almost as bad. lol

  • Ellen H
    Ellen H Cullman, AL
    on Sep 7, 2012

    I haven't tried this but some people swear by vodka (the cheap stuff) to get out the old mildew smell - might work with all odors - rub down the inside with it. I saw Kirstie Alley on some show where she talked about cleaning - she uses vodka to disinfect her bathroom. Charcoal, coffee (ground but not used), kitty litter are all good things to try. Somewhere I have some notes on getting skunk smell out -I'll add that if I can find them.

  • Ellen H
    Ellen H Cullman, AL
    on Sep 7, 2012

    Found the formula for eliminating skunk smells: Make cleaning solution of 1 qt. hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 tsp liquid soap. If skunk has gotten under house, soak several old rags in ammonia, place under house. I figure if this gets rid of skunk smells, it might work on decomp odors.

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