How to Remove a Musty Odor from Home Furniture How to Remove a Musty Odor from Home Furniture

What You'll Need
Large trash bags
Coffee beans
White vinegar
Spray bottle
Commercial odor remover

To remove a musty odor from home furniture may require a bit of work and patience, depending upon how severe the odor is and if there is actual mildew. These smells can be extremely difficult to remove permanently in some furniture.

Step 1: Dry It Out

Musty odors are generally caused from upholstered furniture that has become wet and didn't dry out completely. The musty smell is a form of mildew and mold. The first thing you must do to get rid of this smell is destroy the mold and mildew. Move the furniture outside on a warm dry day and let it sit in the sun. If it has seat or back cushions that can be removed, remove them and air them separately. Turn them several times during the day. If by chance there is a slipcover on the furniture, remove it and launder it in the hottest water possible without ruining the fabric and line dry. You should add 1 cup of vinegar to the wash water to deodorize it. You may need to leave the furniture sitting in the sun and fresh air several days to get rid of the smell or greatly reduce it.

Step 2: Removing Odor

An important thing to remember is you want to remove the odor, not just cover it up. After you are certain the furniture is completely dry, mist it with a mixture of one quart water mixed with 1/4 cup of white vinegar and allow it to sit outside until dry again. This treatment may take several applications on heavy odors.

Another way to remove musty odor on pillows, draperies and small fabric items is, after dried out, place them in a large trash bag with a handful of coffee beans. Seal the bag and let it sit several days. You may need to put them in the sun and fresh air again for a while after this process.

Step 3: Persistent Odors

After you have taken the above steps and the odor still hasn't left you may need to purchase a commercial odor remover and use a steam type carpet cleaner to clean the upholstered furniture. Follow manufacturers recommendations on the proper amount of cleaner to add to the cleaning water. Clean the furniture thoroughly with this mixture and allow to dry. Good commercial odor removers are available at many janitorial supply houses and pet supply stores.

Some commercial odor removers come in concentrated form in small spray bottles. You may find with a strong, persistent musty smell you may need to spray the furniture occasionally with one of these products.

Step 4: Mildew Warning

Since the musty smell is caused by mildew or mold, be careful if anyone in your family has allergies as many people are very allergic to mold and it could cause them a reaction. You may want to consider getting the furniture professionally cleaned in this instance or discard the furniture.


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