Tips For Removing Odors From Your Wood Furniture

February 24th, 2023 Blog

A person from the neck down wearing an olive-green shirt, holding a spray bottle and cloth; they’re preparing to clean

It’s no secret that wood is a porous material. And that means it tends to hold onto, absorb and emit odors.

New wooden furniture may be emitting an odor for several reasons:

  • The wood itself has a natural scent; this could be the smell you’re picking up.
  • Or, the varnish, finish or glue used in the production of new wood furniture could also emit an odor. For some, these smells are unproblematic (and may even be pleasant); for others, they’re a headache-inducing problem that needs to be solved.

Similarly, old wooden furniture can also emit smells over time. Beyond the reasons mentioned above, some of the common causes for odors in old furniture are mold and bacteria and germs which have penetrated the wood.

Fortunately, there are safe ways to remove odors from your new wood furniture and older wooden items so that you and yours can enjoy them for many years to come.

Boost Ventilation Around the Item

This tip may work on old and new furniture. Improving the ventilation around the piece is a great place to begin and may even solve the problem. If the weather is temperate, and there’s no direct sunshine or chance of precipitation, leave your furniture outside for a few hours to air out.

If taking your furniture outside is not an option — larger pieces like solid wood wardrobes might be a challenge to get down flights of stairs, or you just don’t have the room outdoors — open the windows and let a blast of air in the room for several hours each day.

Try Deodorizers to Absorb the Odor

Deodorizers like bicarbonate, charcoal and coffee beans are another relatively easy way to try to rid furniture pieces of their odors. Unlike room sprays, deodorizers don’t mask a scent; instead, they absorb it. Place a small amount of any of the above substances into jars or vessels (to save cleaning later) and place them in drawers or shelves for several days.

Test Vinegar — Two Ways

Similar to leaving a bowl of bicarbonate or charcoal in or near the furniture, a bowl of distilled white vinegar has also been known to help deodorize reclaimed wood furniture, vintage furniture, and new wooden furniture.

Failing this method, you can use vinegar on the wooden surface itself. It’s recommended you do this in an inconspicuous place on old furniture and that you reach out to the maker of new furniture before proceeding with this treatment.

Mix two parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spritz a soft, micro-fibre cloth with the mixture and gently wipe every surface area (including the inside of drawers).

One or a combination of each of these odor-eliminating methods should see new furniture scent-free. Maintaining the habit of cleaning your furniture often should keep odors at bay moving forward.

For Old Wood

For older, vintage furniture, the cause might be a little more deeply rooted (literally). In other words, the scent could be coming from bacteria and germs deep within the wood.

Wiping down the furniture with vinegar may alleviate the buildup of bacteria and germs. If this doesn’t do the trick, mixing water with hydrogen peroxide or with an anti-fungal treatment will see the odor-causing culprits gone.

While unpleasant aromas in wood can be troublesome, with some tests and troubleshooting, you’re sure to rid your furniture, and your home, of problem odors.