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Friday, May 30, 2014

Odor Removal From Old Furniture

My thrifted dish cabinet smelled of a musty old house and worst of all cigarettes. 
It was stained with nicotine inside and out.

Dawn soap, white vinegar, and coffee grounds


  1. Clean entire surface of wood with warm water and Dawn soap. Dawn is an excellent degreaser.
  2. Go over entire surface of wood with warm water and vinegar. This may need to be done multiple times.
  3. Place used coffee grounds in containers inside furniture in multiple places. Change coffee grounds frequently. The grounds absorb odors.
Charcoal briquets could be used in place of coffee grounds.

A reader of this blog also suggested crumpled up newspaper inside the cabinets.

 The back wall of the piece is particle board. 
and therefore almost impossible to wipe down.
Because of this I only removed about 75% of the odor but that is still a vast improvement.
 I could replace that board and remove a lot of odor.
 On a fine solid wood antique this process would be more effective.

It is almost impossible to remove mold and mildew odors from furniture. 
I do not buy furniture that smells like mildew or that has water stains.

The English roses I am allowing to dry inside the cabinet are leaving a lovely natural rose scent.
 So dry some scented flowers inside your malodorous furniture too.

joy and peace


  1. I would have never guessed coffee grounds would work. I'm more of a baking soda gal, but I'll bet the coffee has an extra kick to it that works.

    Thanks for the education on Sinkology 101.

  2. I have never heard of coffee grounds for smells!!! Fantastic! Now I can buy all the stinky stuff I see at the thrift stores!

  3. Olive,
    I knew about newspaper but not coffee grounds which I can come up with in abundance, newspaper not so much anymore. Love your cabinet, great find!

  4. Oh, thank you, Olive, for telling us how to do this. I hope you don't mind as I Pinned this so I would have it! Thanks for popping in to see me and have a great weekend.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  5. Love you dish cabinet! I have been using the Dawn and Vinegar treatments but have not heard of the coffee grounds. I have a lot of those that I will begin to use.
    Thanks for the tips

  6. I love your cabinet and your pins. I'm following you on Pinterest. Stop by!
    Rita @ MAY DAYS

  7. Those are great tips, Olive. Don't laugh but you can also spray that particle board with Freebreeze-extra strength and the particleboard will "take" the scent. It helps a lot. xo Diana

  8. Great tip Olive. There is nothing worse than an old vintage piece with that musty smell. That is such a sweet cabinet.

  9. That is such a splendid piece! I have dine all but the coffee grounds.

  10. Olive, I use vinegar for a lot of cleaning. It refreshes things and it very thrifty. I like that cabinet. xoxo,Susie

  11. Those are all such good tips. I've never had that problem before but it's good to know if I come across something I love that needs to be freshened up.

  12. what a great cabinet. Dawn is unbelievable for so many things. A few years ago my neighbor bought a old ceramic top stove she could not get the grease off I gave her my dawn spot wash in the pump and yes it worked!

  13. Thanks for the info Olive . . . good to know!

  14. Thanks for the great tip!!


  15. I have heard and tried each of these methods, Olive. I find that sitting the piece in the sun also helps some - charcoal has worked best for me. Hope you are well. I've finally crawled out of my blogless

  16. World. Ann. Guess I need practice leaving comments. Lol Ann

  17. Thank you so much for the tip...I have a couple pieces of furniture to try it on! Perfect timing!!

  18. Thanks for the tip, my daughter loves old furniture and she has an old cabinet that is musty smelling. We tried several containers of baking soda which helped some. She has resorted to keeping a fragrant plug-in in that room and I don't notice the musty smell. Will pass on your information.

  19. What a handy tip! I'll definitely pin this for future reference.

  20. Love old furniture ... And now I love that you pinned this ! I will definitely try this. Have a great day! :)

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I adore your comments. They are like finding unexpected chocolates. olive