How to Get Rid of the Musty Smell From Vintage Rugs and Old Furniture

Marlen Komar Marlen Komar Marlen is an author first, a vintage hoarder second, and a donut lover third. If you’re a fanatic about finding the top taco spots in Chicago or want to chat over Doris Day movies, she believes a coffee date is the way to go.

Shopping for antique or vintage pieces can add charm to your house. It allows you to mix and match vintage pieces with modern ones by combining more contemporary elements with designs from past times. However, finding vintage furniture in good condition is not straightforward (or cost-effective).

If you’re purchasing furniture, rugs, dressers, or couches, lots of furniture smells funny after you bring it home. The musty smell could result from how the table was kept, the years of neglect, or even dirt and grime accumulation. However, regardless of your item’s condition, one thing is sure: We all want to rid ourselves of that smell.

I first experienced this issue when I purchased a Turkish rug on Etsy. The seller told me it was spotless; however, most likely because of its old age and storage alongside other woven rugs, the carpet smelled extremely musty.

This prompted me to take an in-depth study on how to clean old pieces. Here are a few suggestions to take into consideration.

You can use some vinegar or coffee grounds and baking soda if it smells dirty

If you have stumbled across a vintage rug from the flea market or a vanity desk from Marketplace that smells a bit smelly, get rid of the odor with tried and tested products that can eliminate odor. Vinegar, grounds from coffee, and baking soda are all used to neutralize the smell. The acidity of vinegar can help offset the odors of alkaline, and baking soda can help bring the molecules responsible for the scent to a lower level and eliminate their smell. For beans, the nitrogen contained in them assists in neutralizing any offensive odors.

To eliminate smells from drawers and furniture, you can fill a bowl with either of these choices and place it inside every drawer. By the strength of the odor, it is possible to leave the bowls in place for anywhere between one night and two weeks. If the smell doesn’t stop just within the drawers, it’s also lingering on the exterior pieces; clean the wood using the cleaning solution made up of equal parts vinegar and water.

To clean carpets for rugs, sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and allow it to rest for anywhere from 8 hours to a night. Clean the powder, and the odor will be neutralized. But, this method will only work for mildly musky pieces. You’ll have to test an alternative approach if you notice more powerful smells, such as mildew or heavy dust,

If a smell persists, refinish or deep clean the area

If the smell persists on the wood, It is because it has penetrated the wood. The only way to eliminate it is to eliminate the finish or stain absorbing the odor. (The same applies to any lining within.) Remove the paint with sandpaper. Allow the furniture piece to breathe for a few hours; wash it with wood soap to eliminate any bacteria that may cause the smell. When it’s dry, then you can put it back in place.

If you’re dealing with a smelly rug, you may need to scrub it thoroughly with water and soap to get rid of the dirt and grime that has been absorbed into the rug’s fibers. The first step is to vacuum all over the surface of the carpet. Then, flip it and clean the bottom, even if it’s not equipped with the thickness of a pad. Afterward, get your carpet cleaner portable and scrub the rug thoroughly using a pH-balanced shampoo.

If you notice a strong smell, Call the experts

If you’ve tried all these methods, but the smell remains, Then it’s time to get the help of a professional. That’s how I ended up accomplishing the scent of my Turkish rug. The rug was not my expertise or the space. To deep clean using the shampoo or buckets of water (and the easy fix of baking soda did not work, neither did baking soda.) Once they had the musty smell gone, I’ve kept it going by cleaning it every year using a carpet cleaner. Fortunately, the scent didn’t return.

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