Incorporating secondhand furniture into our homes is a great way to keep things green, but sometimes the smells that come along with them can really give you the blues. If Uncle Harold's desk is just too good to pass up (unlike his chain smoking habit), worry not—there are at least a few things you can do to stop the stink!
1. Ah, the beauty of baking soda. Either in a container or sprinkled on directly (and vacuumed out later), baking soda is amazing when it come to absorbing smells.
2. No baking soda? No problem. Grab some used coffee grinds instead—just make sure not to stain any of the surfaces. Best use this in a container and for your non-fabric-finds.
3. Old news is good news! Crumpled up newsprint is an effective odor-eater, and once it has done the job you can still toss it in the recycling bin, or use it to clean your windows: Newspaper + vinegar spritz = streak free shine.
4. To air is human…If you can, leave the item in question outdoors so the fresh air can work its magic. Watch out for direct sun or rain and humidity, though, as these elements can cause damage and warping.
5. Painted perfection. It really isn't a sin to paint wood, though some of you might disagree. Painting furniture is a great way to breathe new life into an old design, and it also does a fabulous job at suppressing smoke-stink. Make sure to clean the surfaces well beforehand (try a baking soda vinegar paste) followed by a light sanding/wipe down for maximum adhesion.
6. Pros and consumables. If we are talking about upholstered items you can always have the piece professionally cleaned, or you can sneak a little vodka into a spray bottle and mist it. This trick also works wonders on clothing, and is a great alternative to chemical products like Febreze.
Depending on how strong the smell is you might need to try a combination of these tips.
If you have any other suggestions let us know!
(Image: MaryAnne Petrella)