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This TikTok hack for getting gross smells out of thrift store furniture is genius

We love this cheap and easy trick for removing old smells from secondhand furniture

Vintage decor with grandmillenial chaise lounge and traditional cabinet
Ground Picture / Shutterstock

If you love weekends spent scouring vintage stores for furniture pieces you can either refurbish or find a place for in your home, but don’t love the smells that come with them, you’re not alone. Antique stores have a certain smell because, well, the items in them are old. With years of well-worn love and, oftentimes, storage, comes a smell that many want to get rid of. One TikToker called @onceuponabungalow heard about the perfect (and super easy) way to get old smells out of pre-loved furniture from @gocleanco, and you’ll be happy she’s shared her knowledge.

All you need is newspaper

The trick is simple. Just crumple up old newspapers and fill the shelves of old bookcases, cabinets, and vintage dinettes, and leave them in for up to a week. When you’re done, simply take the paper out, throw it away, and you’ll be rid of the aging smell that used to come from the shelves. Many agreed in the comments, saying it’s the only trick they’ve used that’s helped get bad smells out of furniture. Of course, if it’s fabric, you can have it cleaned professionally as long as you know what type of fabric you’re working with, but for old wood pieces, newspaper will do the trick.

Room with vintage décor
Charlotte May / Pexels

Why does newspaper eliminate odors?

It’s such a simple trick that it can be difficult to believe it’s actually effective! And for homeowners who crave a scientific explanation, knowing how newspaper can eliminate odors is a must. According to some sources like House Digest, the carbon in the newspaper ink is the key ingredient to neutralizing odors. Other people also suggest that perhaps the newspaper’s fibrous material is why it is such an effective deodorizer.

The fibrous material is thought to absorb odors, making it a great tool for ridding your items of stinky smells. However, there is no general consensus as to why the newspaper works. Though, if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to eliminate foul smells, we know newspaper is a fantastic tool to have in your cleaning arsenal.

Vintage chest as a living room coffee table
ESstock / Shutterstock

Other tips and tricks

Some of the other commenters on the post had a few other options that may get old smells out of furniture. One said to spray the furniture with vodka because “vodka kills all smells.” Another suggested charcoal briskets, and while that may work, it’s probably a messier alternative to newspaper. Still another recommended vinegar in a bowl placed inside a unit, but again, you may have to deal with spills, so make sure you have a dedicated space so your furniture is out of the way and it doesn’t get bumped.

Of course, people don’t get newspapers as often as they used to, but you can easily order them online through places like Amazon or from specific publications or save old junk mail that’s printed on similar types of paper. What’s even better is, apparently, according to the commenters, you can also use this trick for old sneakers, gym bags, and anything else in your home that takes on a foul smell — even the refrigerator.

So, don’t throw away any newspapers that get delivered. You just may never know when you find that perfect vintage cabinet and need something to help it smell fresh and new.

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Julie Scagell
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
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