Asked on Oct 7, 2018

How do I remove a musty smell?

Robyn GarnerPatriciaCindy


I purchased some wood furniture from The Good Will. There is a musty smell in the bedrooms, from them. How can I completely remove this odor?

16 answers
  • Gk
    on Oct 7, 2018

    You can clean the wood with Murphy's Oil Soap and let it dry. Put dryer sheets in any drawers or spray with Febreze. Setting the wood pieces out in the sun for a few days would help.

  • Nan W.
    Nan W.
    on Oct 7, 2018

    Also... put a couple of lumps of charcoal in an old sock. in drawers, etc

  • Wipe the entire interior down with vinegar, then rinse. Newspaper, a box of baking soda, and charcoal in the drawers also help.

  • William
    on Oct 7, 2018

    All else fails you can seal the odor in.

    How to Eliminate Odors in Wood

    Your best hope for sealing in any odors is shellac. It makes an excellent barrier coat over all wood species, and it sticks to almost anything. Zinsser makes a great product for this purpose, called Bullseye SealCoat. It’s a clear dewaxed shellac that you can apply to those drawer interiors easily with a brush. It dries quickly and should help to diminish mice, mildew, musty, smoke, urine smell. And since it doesn’t contain wax, you can apply other finishes like lacquer or varnish over it — they’ll stick just fine. SealCoat is also handy to have around the shop as a general purpose wood finish and sanding sealer. So, I’m sure you’ll find other uses for what’s left of the quart you buy.

  • Alradborn
    on Oct 8, 2018

    Don't forget to do the bottom of the furniture as well. If you do put a finish (especially on the bottom) put furniture sliders on them so they don't "stick" to floors.

  • Janie Overton Varley
    Janie Overton Varley
    on Oct 8, 2018

    Wipe the whole piece down, using vinegar, or bleach water, or a cleaner of your choice. Allow to dry well, NOT in direct sun- it can and will damage your wood. Use a spray bottle to apply vanilla/water mix- 4parts vanilla/6 parts water, or any ratio that you like. Spray the whole piece with the vanilla, wipe excess.

    Vanilla also works on a refrigerator that is smelly!

  • Linda Couckuyt
    Linda Couckuyt
    on Oct 8, 2018


    I purchased a home in the fall and there was one room I could not get rid of a musty smell despite all the washing with vinegar, etc.

    I was exploring my new town and stopped into one of the shops where I ended up purchasing a good sized salt lamp. Bringing it home, I tested it in many places looking for a place it looked comfortable in. It ended up in the room with the smell as it didn’t fit in anywhere else.

    After a couple of weeks, I decided I shouldn’t really waste electricity by leaving that salt lamp on 24/7 so I started turning it off at night.

    In a few days, I noticed the smell again in that room. Prior, i hadn’t noticed it diminished and went away! The only thing different was the lamp. I replaced the little bulb with an led and began leaving it on 24/7 again.

    Sure enough, the smell went away again.

    Salt lamps really do purify the air it seems! I just bought it as I liked the look. Lol.

  • Musty odor, cigarette smoke residue and moth balls are really hard to get out... Here's what I would try: Remove the drawers and s pray every single side of the drawers, doors and actual piece of furniture... inside, outside, top bottom etc. with this spray. It is an actual odor neutralizer. Let it dry and repeat if necessary. If it can't remove the odor... I don't believe anything can. If you're up to a little finishing, AFTER you spray it with the odor neutralizer and it dries completely, you can spray a clear finish on everything.

  • Joette
    on Oct 8, 2018

    You can wad up old newspaper, place in and close drawers. Leave overnight or until. Trade out paper if and when necessary. Repeat until all smell is absorbed.

    on Oct 8, 2018

    set a half cup white vinegar in the drawers and a couple in the bedroom it will absorb the odors.

  • Mia Lugar
    Mia Lugar
    on Oct 9, 2018

    If you have carpet, throw some baking soda on the and leave a day or two before vacuuming up. It's cheap and usually works, but have you used a cleaner for the wood itself? Pledge (lemon) Cleans well and smells great.

  • Kmdreamer
    on Oct 9, 2018

    Try washing them down completely you with Murphy’s oil soap and a 1/4 cup bleach don’t forget inside draws

  • TNbrdnrd
    on Oct 9, 2018

    I read on a furniture painting group on FB that wiping everything down with cheap vodka completely removes musty and moldy odors. It was recommended multiple times. I have yet to try this myself. And, if it fails, you can drown your disappointment with the remainder of the vodka. 😉

  • Cindy
    on Oct 9, 2018

    I believe charcoal and/or baking soda are the best odor remedies. But whatever you choose, will take time to deodorize the musty smell. In the meantime, sprinkle some carpet deodorizer in your bedrooms. Let it set overnight. Then vacuum it up. I hope you find this helpful. Wishing you all the best.

  • Patricia
    on Oct 9, 2018

    You could rub them down with lemons. Cut one in half and rub it on the wood. It will also give you a fresh lemon scent

  • Robyn Garner
    Robyn Garner
    on Oct 9, 2018

    Home Depot sells OdoBan spray. This stuff is AMAZING! My kitty developed kidney disease and prior began to mess on the furniture! Kitty urine is one of the most odiferous things on the planet. Nothing took that stench out.

    Enter OdoBan - seriously, one good treatment of this spray neutralized the smell completely and it's a disinfectant, killing 99.99% of germs!

    I would wash the entire piece - every surface - with a vinegar water solution and allow to dry completely. You can put put furniture outdoors to air out and you should. Yes, putting ACTIVATED charcoal in drawers, etc. will help to absorb the odor but you want to remove it. Do try OdoBan - I think it will solve your issue even if you must treat it a couple of times.

Your comment...