Skip to main content

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.

Recommended Videos

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.

Editors' Recommendations

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…
5 genius studio apartment ideas we learned on TikTok to make small spaces feel opulent
Transform your studio apartment with these luxe decor tips
contemporary studio design decor

Styling a studio apartment to feel opulent while adhering to the functionality of the space can be tricky. You want to create a luxe look without sacrificing precious storage space or creating a design that leaves the room feeling stuffy and closed off. Since this can be challenging for many renters, we’ve looked to TikTok to gain inspiration on decor tips that could enhance the look of your studio space.

Below are five genius TikTok studio apartment ideas to help inspire you to create an elegant look in your own space without overcrowding your design.

Read more
7 super inventive ways to organize a small kitchen we learned on TikTok
Small white kitchen with large windows

Is there anything more annoying than a small kitchen? There’s nowhere to put your cooking tools, you have to pick and choose which countertop appliances to keep, and forget about finding anything in your cabinets quickly.

When dealing with limited counter space, fewer storage areas, and less square footage overall, organizing your kitchen can be a major frustration. But don’t write the room off completely just yet — the internet may have all the answers to your pleas. With these creative tips from TikTok users, organizing a small kitchen won’t seem like such an impossible task. Keep reading to learn more about a few of our favorite tricks.

Read more
4 secret TikTok kitchen spring cleaning tips everyone forgets
Clean, bright kitchen with seating

A sparkling clean kitchen at all times is what we all strive for (even if it isn’t always a reality). But while you might routinely mop the floors, sanitize the counters, wash down cabinets, and clean out the fridge, there are plenty of items and areas we all sometimes forget to clean.

Luckily, instead of facing that embarrassing moment when a guest discovers our dirty little secret (literally), we’ve got TikTok to remind us about those hidden, overlooked spaces. With these TikTok kitchen cleaning hacks, you’ll be able to get the job done correctly in no time.
Replace your microwave charcoal filter

Read more