Why does antique furniture smell?

Tell me why old wood smells.

The natural smell of wood comes from the essential oils found within.

These oils can protect the wood from decay and pests. However, over time, these oils can evaporate, which can cause a musty or unpleasant odor. 

Antique furniture made with old, dry wood is more likely to have this problem. 

Bacteria can also cause an unpleasant odor in antique wood furniture when the furniture is not cleaned regularly. 

How do you clean antique furniture that smells musty?

There are ways to clean antique furniture that smells musty. You can use a dryer sheet, borax, baking soda, charcoal, or kitty litter. 

These products will help remove the odor from the furniture. You can also use a furniture deodorizer, such as Oxyfresh All-Purpose Deodorizer, to remove the bacteria that can cause an unpleasant smell. 

How do you prevent wood furniture from smelling?

The easiest way and method to clean antique furniture that smells musty is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Quality furniture deodorizer will go a long way to inhibit bacterial odor formation. 

Another way is to clean your furniture before it becomes a problem. A light spray with Murphy’s Oil Soap diluted in water twice a year is usually enough, but porous woods may need more attention. 

You can then follow up with a conditioner to replace the natural oils and help keep the furniture from drying out and developing a musty smell.

Charcoal briquettes can also be effective in removing odors. You can place them in a container or bag and set them near the furniture. The charcoal will absorb the odor. You can also try using kitty litter, which has a strong smell, that’ll overpower the furniture odor. 

Because wood is porous, it will take in moisture and the smells of its surroundings. If your furniture is kept in an old house or attic, it is most likely the source of the musty order. 

You can try moving the furniture into an air-conditioned room with relatively low moisture. Close the door and turn on a dehumidifier. Do this for several hours for a few days.

There are various ways to keep furniture smelling nice.

1. Place bowls of baking soda around the room where the furniture sits.

2. Leave a small dish of vinegar out on the furniture.

3. Sprinkle cedar chips liberally around the furniture.

4. Hang sachets filled with lavender or other fragrant herbs near the furniture.

5. Polishing the furniture with beeswax will help to give it a pleasant scent.

6. placing charcoal disks in an open container near the furniture will also help to absorb unpleasant odors.

7. Placing a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and placing it in the furniture’s drawer will also help to keep it smelling nice.

8. Washing the furniture with a mixture of water and vinegar can also help to get rid of any unpleasant smells.

9. Putting furniture pads under the legs of the piece will help to keep it from absorbing any unpleasant smells from the floor.

10. If all else fails, consider having the furniture professionally cleaned and aired out. Although it can be an expensive option, it may be necessary to clear the odor.

Different types of finish on antique furniture

The finish on wood furniture serves two purposes: to protect the wood and complement it.

There are three types of wood finishes: oil, film, and wax.

Oil finishes penetrate the wood and form a seal that protects the wood from moisture and scratches. They are easy to apply and give a natural appearance to the completed wood. 

Wood is permeable and unfinished wood will absorb dirt and moisture. The finish’s purpose is to create a barrier against dirt and moisture. 

Oil and film are the two main types of finishes for furniture. Oil finishes go down into the wood, forming a barrier just below the surface. They also leave a very thin layer of oil on the wood. Linseed oil is one type of straight oil.

Oil finishes do not provide as much protection for the wood as polyurethane or varnish. Linseed oil has been used for a long time due to its low cost and accessibility. 

Oil finishes are still applied on new and old furniture today since they are simple to apply and give a natural appearance to the completed wood.

Film finishes, unlike shellac or polyurethane, form a film on the surface of the wood. This film can be built up to the desired thickness with successive applications. And because they produce a thicker film on the surface, film varnishes and water-based finishes provide better protection against water and scratches. Varnish is one type of popular film finish.

Most 19th-century and the better-quality 18th century furniture is coated or varnished in shellac or varnish. 

Water-based finishes were created in the 20th century as a result of environmental pollution worries.

Throughout the 19th and early portions of the 20th century, shellac was a popular finish. Lac bugs secrete a natural resin called shellac. 

Shellac is a simple substance to work with and in the early 1800s, French Polishing was discovered, which involved rubbing shellac to a brilliant sheen. 

Shellac is susceptible to alcohol, water, and heat damage. It is also easily scratched.

Varnish is the most long-lasting of the film finishes. Having been used as a finish since the 1800s, but in the 20th century, natural resins gave way to synthetic ones. Varnish from many different resins is now available. Polyurethane is probably the most well-known type of varnish.

Wax is used as a polish over a finish and may also be used, as a finish.

Always be careful when dealing with antique furniture. Whichever method you decide to use, never go full steam ahead. Test on a small, out of sight area to make sure it is safe to use.

The above article is for informational purposes only.

Thanks for reading.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.