How to get gross smells out of old furniture

cleaning ideas 04.11.15
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? #Bestof2012 #springcleaning

To see more:

  • Christine
    Christine Upper Marlboro, MD
    I know how to get that horrible stench out of a closed up refrigerator! You know, that dank, ick never-open-it-again smell? Crumple up news papers, throw them in and close the door for a few days. Wow and done.
  • KathrynElizabeth Etier
    There are companies that clean crime and death scenes, they are often called in by police departments to clean cars that have been "desecrated" by drunk or drugged up perps. I'll bet one of them could and would have a suggestion for getting out "dead"
  • Rose McDonald
    Rose McDonald Joliet, IL
    Lysol, the liquid in the brown bottle with the red and yellow label, not the spray. Pour a small amount on a washcloth, dab the area of the smell, if you can find it. Let the washcloth sit on the stain for a few hours or overnight. Many years ago we had
    • Sherrie
      Sherrie Nixa, MO
      The only thing that gets rid of skunk smells!
  • Debra Housworth
    Debra Housworth Virginia Beach, VA
    I've tried several things (fabreeze) that worked temporarily, but didn't last. I've found two things that work very well. #1 is called OdorBan. I get it by the gallon at Sam's club in a concentrate and mix it in a spray bottle. It's great for about
  • Jill Morse
    Jill Morse North Ridgeville, OH
    What about Thompsons water sealer?
  • Henrietta  Retired-- Love Gardening
    Henrietta Retired-- Love... Williamsville, IL
    Need primer or clear sealer on all nonpainted surfaces.
  • Diane P
    Diane P Hilbert, WI
    I kept switching out crunched up newspaper until the smell was gone. Took a few months but the paper went to recycling after.
  • Lisa Kaplan Gordon
    Lisa Kaplan Gordon Mc Lean, VA
    Spray straight vodka on the wood. It takes out odors.
  • Gail sorensen
    Gail sorensen Council Bluffs, IA
    We had a chest freezer lose power for 4 days before we caught it. The smell of rotted meat was unbearable. Cleaned it with Clorox Put an open bag of charcoal in the bottom and shut the lid. After a couple of days the smell was almost gone. Put one more
  • Lori
    Lori Canada
    Activated charcoal. Must be ACTIVATED. Get a couple of lbs or so and spread it inside the piece on a newspaper and just leave it there for a week or so. Good luck.
  • Toni Hayward
    Toni Hayward Hillsboro, TX
    In Nursing Homes I've worked in they used a Pump spray bottle of a product called "Bye-Bye Odor". It is the Most Amazing stuff! Nice smell that disapates quickly & kills all the foul urine & BM smells! It even clears C-Diff BM odor & that is horrible,
  • Bea
    Bea Copemish, MI
    We've used ground coffee that we couldn't bear the awful taste of :-).
  • Susanne Johnson-Cruey
    Susanne Johnson-Cruey Lenoir City, TN
    Anyone know how to get the smell of cedar & moth balls out of cotton quilts? I have about 30+ quilts that that my Mother made that we ruined by the odor. I've tried washing with everything normal, including backing soda, to no avail.
  • Henrietta  Retired-- Love Gardening
    Henrietta Retired-- Love... Williamsville, IL
  • Rosalie chow
    rosalie chow San Francisco, CA
    I heard that Clorox Liquid Bleach with kill the mold on wood furniture. After cleaning with Clorox, then sand it down and retained. Bring out to air it out for a long time.
Atta Girl Amy