Asked on Mar 27, 2015

How do you get the smell out of a storage ottoman?

by Becky

I purchased a brand new storage ottoman and it has a smell on the inside on the fabric they lined it with. I have tried numerous cleaners, and nothing seems to work and the fabric storage boxes smell still. Anyone have suggestions on how to get rid of smell in ottoman?

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  27 answers
  • Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle on Mar 27, 2015
    Hi. I work with lots of new and used furniture pieces. There are two things that help this problem for me; Ivory soap and essential oils spray. The soap I chop up into pieces and chips; make a little net bag out of toule or old panty hose; zip tie or rubber band the top and put on each shelf or in each corner of the piece (just leave it in there).. I also use my favorite essential oil spray and occasionally spritz inside the pieces. Either or both of these work fairly well. Let us know how your use turns out if you try these :) Have a nice weekend.
  • Rita Rita on Mar 27, 2015
    A tray of baking soda?
    • Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle on Mar 27, 2015
      @Rita Baking soda is a miracle worker, isn't it? How would you suggest applying it here? Would you wash the surfaces lightly and let dry, or sprinkle it dry and let it sit in there a few days? I want to try this. Thanks.
  • Rita Rita on Mar 27, 2015
    Just put a bowl or tray full of baking soda and leave it in there closed for a while like you would in a solution to fix odor is not to replace it with another smell but as a last resort Febreze seems to work miracles...
    • Becky Becky on Mar 29, 2015
      I tried it for 2 weeks and it didn't work! Thanks!
  • Barbara LaCroix Barbara LaCroix on Mar 27, 2015
    My sister's remedy that i have tried is to put an opened can of oil based stain inside for a day. Works.
  • Linda Hite Linda Hite on Mar 27, 2015
    Have you tried white vinegar?
  • Laura Hason-Bickle Laura Hason-Bickle on Mar 28, 2015
    put an opened bag of charcoal (bbq) in the ottoman and close the lid ... I would leave it in for a few days to a week. Charcoal will absorb the odors.
  • Eglehawk Eglehawk on Mar 28, 2015
    Crumple up newspaper and S Fill it with crumpled newspaper and leave it over night it's what I use for smelly shoes
  • Linda Warrington Linda Warrington on Mar 28, 2015
    Cat litter will take up the smell
  • Chrissi Chrissi on Mar 28, 2015
    Put a bowl of coffee beans in it or ground up coffee beans
  • Moxie Moxie on Mar 28, 2015
    you can get small boxes of baking soda with removable sides like what people use in the fridge at the dollar store....they work great
  • Lee Govan Lee Govan on Mar 28, 2015
    Sprinkle the baking soda in dry, it will only absorb the odour dry. This can be uses on all surfaces and works especially well on fabrics, then just vacuum it off. I usually try to leave the object in direct sun for a couple of days and bring it in over night. If you want to use baking soda wet it makes a great non scratch cleaner if you mix with a little water to from a paste then rub in to the soiled area you want to clean with an old t shirt of any soft cloth.
  • Doreen Watson-Read Doreen Watson-Read on Mar 29, 2015
    i love the smell of my washing powder and so i sprinkle it in the bins before putting in the bag. the sell permeates the bin and lasts for ages. you could sprinkle just about any thin in there like coffee or tea , bicarb is a great smell remover so do that first and the what ever smell you like.
  • Trey Trey on Jan 03, 2017

    curious if any of these worked, I have the same problem

  • Becky Becky on Jan 10, 2017

    2-3 years same issue but less odor. Have had coffee grounds in it all this time.

    • Kate Spellman Kate Spellman on Jan 06, 2019

      Becky, did you ever solve your problem? I'm having the same luck with an ottoman for the last year and just stumbled across this feed.

  • Mare Tupper Mare Tupper on Jan 11, 2017

    spritz the inside of the ottoman with ODOBAN then stuff it full and tight with newspaper and close the lid, allow to sit for several days to a week before opening. That should at least cut the smell down if not eliminate it.

  • Kimberly Robertson Kimberly Robertson on Aug 17, 2017

    I have the same problem, it is horrible. I put mint leaves with baking soda.

    I have put essential oils, I am going to try the cat litter with some coffee beans.

  • Bobby-Sue Cooley Becerra Bobby-Sue Cooley Becerra on Sep 11, 2017

    I have the same problem. Seem to have tried everything aside from riping out the inside liner, which is my husband's remedy. The furniture store we bought it from wouldn't return because 'smells like vomit' isn't in the warrenty🤣 Haven't used coffee, so that's next. It makes me so angry because the ottoman was bought to store blankets. The one and only time I put blankets in they too smelled like vomit'.😤

  • Shirah Shirah on Sep 11, 2017

    Set a container with baking soda inside, or vinegar, for a few days.

  • Lisa Lisa on Dec 20, 2017

    Same issue! I tried baking soda, coffee grounds, scrubbing with vinegar, scrubbing with dawn and even in desperation, burned sage  NOTHING is working. I, also, bought this huge king size ottoman for blankets. I paid a ton of money and can't return. I do love it tho. Has anyone gotten rid of the smell in their fabric ottoman? I believe it comes from the carboard that the lining is stapled to. Other than tearing that out (which I don't want to do) I am at a loss...


    fabreeze for fabric

  • Ada33573103 Ada33573103 on Jun 07, 2018

    It isn't the fabric, it's the particle board off-gassing and none of the remedies listed here will work at all. The glue used in particle board and chipboard offgasses for decades, the halflife is something like seven years. Hot temps make it offgas the quickest but it also smells worse when heated. Try chucking the base boards as although nice to have they are made of particle board and will be the chief offender.

  • Jay Jay on Jun 29, 2019

    Hi all, did anyone find solution to this issue. I am facing same problem.

  • Robin Robin on Jan 04, 2020

    I have all of the same problems only mine originated with me spraying inside our blanket storage ottoman with peppermint essential oil, (which I use everywhere) just to freshen up the ottoman. Once I closed the lid, NOT letting the mist dry beforehand, once opened again, everything smells sorta sour. Can't get it out, tried Charcoal & Baking Soda to no avail. Will try Lemons, Kitty Litter & Coffee, but thinking I'll end up with one of the other commenters suggestion, Bobby Sue's husbands remedy, and just tear out my liner.

  • Florida Florida on Dec 30, 2020

    Like you, I purchased a new storage ottoman that had a horrible, musty smell in the storage area. I found something that worked for me, but I recommend using extreme caution if you try this at home.

    STEP 1: I rubbed baking soda all over the inside of the unit--100% coverage. To get it to stick to the upright sides, I sprayed a light mist of lemon essential oil in water. I let it dry with the unit in the open position for 3 hours, then vacuumed out the inside. Unfortunately, I could still smell the musty smell.

    STEP 2: (where caution is needed) I carefully placed a long stick of incense on a long, narrow incense tray so that all the ashes would drop in the tray. While sitting in the room and checking on it a few times, I burned the entire stick of incense in the unit with the storage lid down. This helped a lot, but still didn't smell quite right for storing quilts.

    STEP 3: I took an essential oil diffuser (one where you put the essential oil in the top bowl and light a tea candle underneath it). Since the tea candle was safely encased by the diffuser, I put lemon essential oil in the diffuser and burned it inside the storage area with the lid down, checking it every 10 minutes or so to make sure there was still oil in the dish, I rotated the dish within the unit from the far left, to the center, to the right, back to the center, then to the left, etc. for about an hour---10 minutes in each position. I kept the lid of the storage unit down the entire time except for when I was moving the diffuser.

    STEP 4: I removed the diffuser and left the lid down on my storage ottoman all night.

    The next morning I checked it and OMG, all I could smell was lemon!!! :-D Bottomline: I'm not sure you would have to go through steps 1 and 2, but the smell of my storage ottoman was so musty smelling and I know those steps helped get to the end result. Maybe just a longer time burning the lemon essential oil would have done the job in one step? Not sure, but am totally relieved it smells good now! Hope this helps.

  • Kristen Kristen on May 24, 2023

    Currently dealing with this as we speak. I just bought a beautiful boucle ottoman to store blankets off of Facebook Marketplace. Tags still on. You can tell that the previous owner did use it because it did have some stains that I was able to clean out with my carpet cleaner, but as soon as I opened the ottoman I was shocked by how fishy it smell inside. It was like fishing mildew? Was really bummed.

    I placed one of those odor absorbers inside that is supposed to absorb mildew or any additional liquid. The ones that are a little hardcore, and to be honest it didn't work as good as I thought it would. The most recent thing I've done is place it outside in the sun with baking soda inside and that has helped a bit. But the smell is Still Remains.

    I ended up buying zero odor Pro off Amazon because I read that it has helped a lot of people with pesky smells. Somebody said that it even took the smell of cigarettes out of a car she bought.

    I also purchased some shoe deodorizer as well that I plan to put in the ottoman in clothes. I'm hoping that these help.

    Currently with the state of the smell I won't be able to store blankets in the ottoman which was the purpose of me purchasing. So I'm really hoping that I can get the smell out and I will keep you updated!

  • Debra Moore Ewing Debra Moore Ewing on Jun 05, 2023

    Kristen, I am going to try the one above yours and am anxious to hear how your method worked! I also read to put rosemary sprigs in shoes that had a strong odor and it worked! Living in Arizona there is a plethora of rosemary bushes along the street so I don't have to butcher my plant used for roasting. I will check back and let you know. Blankets currently in the dryer! :(

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 07, 2023

    Put it inside a large plastic garbage bag with a opened bad of charcoal. Check after a few days and leave it in the bag longer if needed.