The first thing you need to do is make sure the original fabric is not molded and is worth restoring. In some cases reupholstering the furniture may be a better answer than fighting a mold or mildew issue. If the smell is mostly from storage, then you can take steps to work with that.
Things You'll Need
- carpet shampoo
- scrub brush
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If you have an outdoor storage area or a garage that opens, I recommend you put the furniture there. First because the fresh air hitting it is going to help with the mildew smell. Secondly, because when you start getting rid of the smell or growths you want to have air so that you are not inhaling too much of any chemicals.
We are going to start with the easy steps and work down to the detailed. It is possible that your problem will be solved before we get to the end of the article. First use a can of Lysol on the furniture. If the fabric is extremely old, check a spot on the back to make sure that the Lysol does not harm it. Lysol generally does not harm fabric. It will kill any mold or mildew and stop it from spreading. Once you know the Lysol will not harm your furniture, you must spray the entire piece. This means checking up under the furniture and spraying as well. Removing cushions and spraying. The purpose of this activity is to kill any remaining growths and keep them contained. This will also work on the actual smell.
Once you have sprayed the Lysol, you need to find the spots with any growth of mildew or mold spotting. Get an old toothbrush or scrub brush. Check an area of fabric for staining with a carpet shampoo of your choice. If the fabric can withstand the cleaner, spray or trickle a small amount of the cleaner on the stains. Then scrub them with the toothbrush or scrubber vigoriously. The point of this is to remove the source of the smell. If you do not have any sources causing your odor, you can skip this step.
The last thing we are going to do is get out the can of Febreeze. You have aired the furniture for a few hours, you have used Lysol and killed any growths while also helping the smell, you have removed the spots or growths with cleaner. Now you are going to spray liberally with Febreeze. This is going to be a strong smell at first, continue to let the air hit this. You may have to wait a half hour and attack with Febreeze a second or third time. After the third usage, your smell should be under control. If you use incense, candles, or scentsie products find a home for your furniture near that. They will take care of any slightly lingering smells in your furniture.