How to Remove Musty / Mildew Odor from Furniture

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Hi Heather,
I recently retrieved a table from my garage that was stored for about a year and it smells like there could be a mold or mildew issue. How do I clean the table to remove any traces and the odor of mold and mildew?
Must-ang Sally

eliminate mildew odor in table

Heather says:

If it were still summer I would suggest bringing the table outside into bright sunlight to help kill any existing mildew. Since it’s November, I suggest wiping down the entire table, underside included with a solution of 50% white vinegar and water. The acidity of the vinegar should be enough to kill any mildew. If you want to be very thorough and it isn’t overly complicated, disassemble the table and make sure there isn’t any mold or mildew growing in the joints and crevices.

If on the underside or unfinished surfaces of the table you find dark staining, the calling card of mold and mildew, use a solution of oxygen bleach to clean the surface. If you’re out of that, you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide, yep the stuff in your medicine cabinet.

Rinse the wood by wiping with a damp rag and then allow everything to dry thoroughly. Run a fan in the room until everything is completely dry before reassembling the table. You don’t want to create a new safe haven for the mildew.

furniture care guide
Click the picture for more tips!

Once the table is completely dry polish it with your favorite polish -this is not the same as dusting spray. My personal favorite is Wood for Good by Method which can be found at Target and probably a few other places. It’s not as thick as some other polishes and should be used a few times a year.

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3 thoughts on “How to Remove Musty / Mildew Odor from Furniture”

  1. I need to tackle this same problem in the basement I am (STILL!!!) trying to get ready to rent out. The joists (I think that's what they're called – they support the floor above) have what looks like mold or mildew (not black tho) on them. It's dry now, so I'm guessing it's "dead" but I still want to do something about it.

    So, maybe wiping the joists with a rag soaked in vinegar solution would be enough? I had been thinking bleach but I'd rather not go there if I can avoid it.

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

  2. Great tips heather!! Mildew and mold are some of the worst things ever because they can actually ruin pieces before you know it! I think the vinegar solution will also help keep future mold and mildew away, though I'm not sure how effective it would be in a very moist country. What do you think? Will vinegar keep the mold away?


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