We’ve all experienced it, that musty smell that can lurk inside even our favorite armchair and couches. Upholstered furniture can be home to some notorious odors, and what was once a beloved seat can suddenly become a little uninviting.
Fortunately, getting rid of musty smell in upholstered furniture isn’t impossible — if you know the cause of the smell, the right steps to take, and preventive measures for the future. In this article, we’ll walk through all of those considerations, so your couch can start smelling fresh again!
Getting Rid of Musty Smell in Upholstered Furniture
Having furniture with a musty smell can be an unpleasant experience. That stale, dank odor typically isn’t one that you want lingering in your home or office. Fortunately, there are some easy solutions to getting rid of musty smells in upholstered furniture. From using natural solutions like baking soda and vinegar to store-bought sprays, there are a variety of ways to tackle the musty scent. Additionally, there are some steps you can take to help prevent musty smells from occurring in the first place. Read on to learn more about getting rid of musty smells in upholstered furniture and tips for keeping the odor away for good.
What Causes Musty Smells in Upholstered Furniture?
Musty smells in upholstered furniture can be caused by a variety of things. Excess moisture, mold or mildew, pet odors, and food or drink spills can all contribute to the musty odor. It is important to identify what is causing the musty smell and address it accordingly.
Excess moisture in the air or in fabrics can cause mold and mildew. This can happen due to high humidity levels in the home, water or other liquid spills, or even poor ventilation. Moisture and out of sight, damp places are the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, which emits a musty smell.
Pet odors can also cause musty smells. Pets such as cats and dogs expel odors from their fur. If upholstered furniture is not regularly vacuumed and washed, these odors can permeate the fabric and add to the musty smell.
Food or liquid spills can also cause a musty smell if the furniture is not cleaned properly and in a timely manner. The food can begin to break down and form bacteria that emit an unpleasant odor. Additionally, any spills should be addressed quickly before they cause staining or other damage to the fabric.
Though these are the most common causes of musty smells in upholstered furniture, any buildup of temperature and humidity can contribute to the odor. It is important to address all of the potential causes in order to effectively remove the musty smell from furniture.
Simple Solutions to Getting Rid of Musty Smell in Furniture
When dealing with musty odor-causing bacteria in upholstered furniture, it’s important to act quickly and effectively. Here are some simple solutions that don’t require too much effort or deep-cleaning.
Using Natural Solutions
Vinegar and baking soda are two of the best natural solutions for tackling musty smells in upholstered furniture. Both are effective at neutralizing odors and are also non-toxic and easy to find.
Using Baking Soda
Sprinkling baking soda on the affected furniture is an easy, natural way to get rid of musty odors. Let the baking soda sit on the furniture for several hours, then vacuum it off. You may need to repeat this process a few times to completely remove the odor.
Using Vinegar and Water
Create a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and spray it directly onto the affected furniture. Allow the mixture to sit for at least an hour before wiping it off with a damp cloth.
If you don’t have the time or aren’t comfortable using natural solutions, there are also some store-bought options that can help. Look for products that are designed to remove musty odors, such as fabric refresher sprays or enzyme cleaners. Test the product on a small, discreet area of the furniture before using it on large areas.
When tackling musty odors, it’s important to act quickly to prevent them from spreading. Using any of these simple solutions should help you to get rid of the smell and refresh your upholstered furniture.
Using Natural Solutions
When it comes to getting rid of musty smells in upholstered furniture, natural solutions are often the best way to go. Here are some great natural solutions you can use to refresh your furniture:
- Activated charcoal: Place activated charcoal in bowls around the room where the furniture is located. The charcoal will absorb the musty odors from the air.
- Borax: Mix two tablespoons of borax with a cup of warm water and mix until the borax is completely dissolved. Use a spray bottle to spritz the following areas of the furniture: cushions, armrests and all the other fabric surfaces. Let it sit for at least an hour, then vacuum.
- Vinegar and water: Mix a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Spritz the metallic and wood surfaces, as well as any fabric surfaces such as the cushions and armrests. Let the solution sit for a few minutes, then wipe away.
You can also harness the power of natural essential oils to naturally remove odors. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your vinegar and water solution, or mix it with a cup of baking soda. Let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum the area.
Honey and lemon are also great natural solutions for getting rid of musty smells. Put the juice from half a lemon into a cup of warm water and add two tablespoons of honey. Spritz the solution onto all the fabric surfaces of the furniture and let it sit for at least an hour before wiping it away and vacuuming the area.
Using Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of the simplest and most effective methods for getting rid of musty smells in upholstered furniture. It is a natural deodorizer and will neutralize odor molecules in the air, drawing them away from furniture and fabrics. In order to use baking soda to get rid of musty smells in upholstered furniture, you will need to liberally sprinkle the baking soda over the affected surfaces. For example, open up cushions and sprinkle baking soda into the crevices. Do this generously, paying special attention to areas where the musty smell is strongest. Allow the baking soda to sit on the furniture for a few hours, allowing the baking soda to absorb the musty odors. When you’re done, simply vacuum up the baking soda. Be sure to vacuum multiple times in order to completely remove all the baking soda from the furniture.
It’s also important to keep in mind that while baking soda is effective at getting rid of musty smells in furniture, it should not be used as a regular deodorizer. Over time, it will lose its effectiveness and will not be able to absorb new odors. Therefore, it should be used sparingly when trying to get rid of musty smells in furniture. Furthermore, baking soda is only able to absorb the musty odor and will not be able to remove the source of the odor. If the source of the odor is not removed, then the musty smell will return even after the baking soda has been removed.
Using Vinegar and Water
Vinegar and water is one of the simplest and safest solutions for getting rid of musty smells in upholstered furniture. A mixture of one part white vinegar and two parts water can be used together to create a cleaning solution that can be gently sponged onto the furniture to tackle musty odors. To get the most effective results, make sure that the sponge is only damp and not soaking wet.
Before using the vinegar and water solution, it’s a good idea to do a test in an inconspicuous part of the furniture, such as in the folds of the item or underneath pillows. If the furniture passes the test, then this solution can be used on a larger area of the furniture. It’s also important to make sure that the furniture is not made of silk, velvet or other delicate materials, as they may become discolored when exposed to vinegar.
When using the vinegar and water solution, it’s a good idea to open any windows nearby to allow fresh air to enter the room and help minimize the vinegar smell. While the vinegar smell will be noticeable after the solution has been used on the furniture, it should dissipate shortly afterwards.
After the vinegar and water solution has been used, allow it to air dry for several hours to ensure that it penetrates the fabric and effectively removes musty smells. Once the furniture has dried, vacuum up any remaining vinegar residue.
The vinegar and water solution is a great way to remove musty smells from upholstered furniture without using chemical cleaners. If the solution doesn’t seem to be working, or if there are stubborn musty smells that won’t go away, consider trying some of the other methods mentioned in this article.
When it comes to store-bought solutions, there are a few effective options available to help get rid of musty smells in upholstered furniture. One of the most popular methods is to use a deodorizer spray. These products usually contain a combination of odor-neutralizing ingredients that work to remove the musty smell and leave a pleasant scent. Be sure to read the directions on the product before use and keep off any upholstery that cannot be washed.
Another option is to use an aerosol spray. This type of spray usually contains enzyme-based cleaners that work to break down the musty odors. Be sure to follow the specific instructions for the product, as some products may require the furniture to sit for a period of time before being used or moved.
Powdered cleaners are also a good option for getting the musty smell out of furniture. They work to remove the odor without damaging the upholstery. The powdered cleaner can be sprinkled on the surface and then vacuumed up. Some products also allow you to leave the powder on, so be sure to check the directions.
Finally, odor eliminators or odor removers are a great way to get rid of musty smells in furniture. These products contain natural enzymes that work to attack the smell and eliminate it. Be sure to follow the directions on the product and test out a small area first to make sure it won’t damage the upholstery.
Tips for Long-Term Prevention of Musty Smells
Open the Windows
Opening the windows regularly is an easy and low-cost way of preventing musty smells from building up in your upholstered furniture. Regularly airing out the furniture will help keep moisture levels down and prevent the growth of mildew and mold that can cause musty smells. Opening the windows a few times a week can help get rid of any stale smells and also bring fresh air into your home.
Regular cleaning of your upholstered furniture is key to preventing musty smells. Vacuuming the upholstery will help remove dust and dirt which can hold moisture and cause odors. Also use a soft bristled brush to help loosen any dirt and debris that might be stuck deep in the fabric. If you’re uncertain how to clean the fabric, follow the manufacturer’s instructions or take your furniture to a professional cleaner.
Use Professional Cleaners
For more serious odors, you may want to consider using a professional furniture cleaner. Professionals can provide specialized cleaning solutions and techniques to get rid of musty and other odors that may be coming from your upholstered furniture. Be sure to ask any potential professional cleaners about their methods and specific ingredients to ensure that they are safe for your furniture and family.
Use Dryer Sheets
Another trick you can use to prevent musty smells from building up in upholstered furniture is to place fabric softener dryer sheets inside each of the cushions. The scent emanating from the sheets will help to neutralize any lingering odors in the furniture and keep new smells from taking hold. Just be sure to replace the sheets regularly, as the scent will diminish over time.
Keep Humidity Low
Humidity is also a major cause of musty smells in upholstered furniture. Keeping humidity levels in check is key to preventing musty smells, so it’s important to use a dehumidifier if necessary. Additionally, avoid placing furniture too close to heating units or other appliances that put off a lot of moisture. By keeping the humidity levels in your home low, you can help to prevent musty and other stale odors from taking hold.
Open the Windows
Opening the windows can help to reduce musty odors in upholstered furniture. It allows for the entry of fresh air, which helps to circulate and remove any musty smells in the room. Additionally, open windows will allow for the humidity levels in the room to decrease, which can also help remove any musty smells. To get the best results, open the windows for at least an hour every day and keep them open as long as possible. Avoid closing the windows during the day, since that will decrease air circulation.
During the summer months, turning on a fan near the upholstered furniture can help to circulate the fresh air more quickly and help remove any musty odors. It is also important to ensure that the windows are properly sealed so that any damp air from outside can’t enter the room. Pay particular attention to any cracks or openings around the windows, since these can allow damp air to seep in, making the musty smell even stronger.
When the air is not moving around the furniture, the musty smell will be more likely to linger. This is why it is important to open the windows and to keep them open for as long as possible to help reduce any musty odors. Additionally, if you live in an area with high levels of humidity, such as near a river or lake, it may be necessary to open the windows more frequently, as this will help keep humidity levels low in the room.
Regular cleaning of upholstered furniture can help reduce musty smells and keep your furniture in better condition. Regular vacuuming of the surface of the fabric is a great place to start, as this will remove the built-up dust, dirt and skin cells that can contribute to the smell. Every few months, you should deep clean upholstered furniture by using a specialist cleaner, such as a steam cleaner or upholstery cleaner. This will help get rid of any allergens or bacteria clinging to the fabric and may even help to lift out deeply ingrained smells.
It’s also important to spot clean any stains quickly, as musty smells can become more difficult to remove over time. To spot clean the fabric, use a soft cloth and a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Avoid scrubbing the fabric too harshly, as this could cause it to damage and discolour. Dry the area immediately with a towel, taking care not to wet any components like springs.
Finally, deep clean the furniture every few years, even if you only spot clean regularly. A professional deep cleaning can help remove problem odors and give thicker fabrics a thorough clean. If this isn’t an option, consider taking the removable cushions off and washing them in a front-loading washing machine. Make sure you check the fabric types first, though, and use the delicate or wool cycle.
Use Professional Cleaners
Professionals cleaners can be an effective way of treating musty-smelling furniture. Experts have the tools and resources to eliminate the odors and treat the cause of the problem, rather than just masking the unpleasant odors. They will ensure that all of the upholstery is clean of any dirt and dust particles, which can contribute to musty odors. Professionally cleaned furniture will be free of dust mite allergens, and free of other bacteria and mold. Professional cleaners can utilize special cleaning solutions that are designed to target odor-causing bacteria and eliminate musty smells.
In most cases, professional cleaners will come to your home and bring their own cleaning equipment and solutions, so you don’t have to worry about buying or storing any special cleaners that may come with a certain odor or staining. In some cases, professional cleaners will also use special tools to help get rid of the tougher smells, such as ozone generators and ultrasonic cleaners, which will help break down odors and leave furniture with a much more pleasant smell.
In addition to eliminating musty smells from furniture, professional cleaners can also help keep the furniture looking and smelling great over time with periodic cleanings. They can even apply special protective coatings that can help to repel dirt, dust, and bacteria, keeping your furniture looking and smelling great for much longer.
Use Dryer Sheets
Using dryer sheets to help fight musty smells in upholstered furniture is also a simple and affordable solution. Dryer sheets are both affordable and easy to find in any store. Dryer sheets are appreciated by many because they are not only effective in countering those awful musty odors, but also because they freshen the room with a nice scent.
When using dryer sheets to help fight musty smells in upholstered furniture, it’s important to make sure the furniture is dry and free of moisture. Before going ahead and placing the dryer sheets around the furniture, first use a cloth or paper towel to remove any excess moisture and dirt.
Once the furniture is dry and completely clean, you are ready to take the next step. Place the dryer sheets in strategic places around the furniture and leave them there for a few days. If possible, you can use multiple dryer sheets to increase the effectiveness of the process. During this time, the dryer sheets will help absorb the musty smell and help replace it with a much more pleasant scent.
When you are finished, you can dispose of the dryer sheets and enjoy a pleasant-smelling home. Here is a list of important tips to consider when fighting musty smells in upholstered furniture with dryer sheets:
– Make sure the furniture is free of moisture and dirt before placing the dryer sheets
– Use multiple dryer sheets for best results
– Leave the dryer sheets in place for a few days
– Discard the dryer sheets when you’re finished
– Change the dryer sheets regularly to keep the smell fresh.
Keep Humidity Low
Keeping the humidity in your home low is an effective way to keep musty smells from forming in upholstered furniture. Maintaining a steady, low relative humidity level of 40-60% keeps your home comfortable and your furniture free of musty odors. Rising humidity in the home can cause mold and mildew to form in fabrics, both of which contribute to unpleasant odors.
Regular monitoring of your home’s humidity level is the first step towards preventing musty smells in furniture. Using a digital hygrometer to measure the humidity in your home is the best way to ensure that your humidity levels remain low. If the humidity level has risen too high, it’s important to take steps to reduce it. Reducing the amount of steam and moisture in the air by running exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, or using dehumidifiers to pull moisture from the air will help keep humidity at bay.
Another way to reduce the humidity in the home is to limit the use of humidifiers, which can increase the relative humidity in the home. Keeping windows and doors open to let the outside air into the home is another good way to reduce humidity levels.
By keeping humidity levels low and regularly checking for signs of mold and mildew, you can keep musty odors from forming in your upholstered furniture and preserve the air quality in your home.