I scored a gorgeous teak and leather couch a few months ago.
But discovered the leather smells very musty. Any ideas on how to remove the odor? All the cushions are removable. I've tried bagging them up with kitty litter. No such luck, although I am not sure if it contained carbon. Anyone have any luck with this problem? Thanks.
A local company that does house fire restorations washes everything down with straight vinegar right out of the bottle. It absorbs the smoke odor and the vinegar smell goes away by itself. If that works for smoke, it might work for a musty odor as well. Test a spot to make sure the vinegar doesn't affect the leather. You might also try bagging the cushions up with dryer sheets for a few days. Regards.........JP.
We did have a garage fire a few years back.
Servicemaster used ozone ionizers to remove the smoke smell from house.
Worked 100 percent on getting the smoke smell that got inside the house from this mess. Possibly it will work.
Midwest- I have only heard a little about the ozone machines. How would that work with cushions? I am going to try the vinegar first and then do some research on the ozone
machine. Thanks for the great suggestions!:-D
mildew is mold and you have to kill the spores to eliminate the scent. That may or may not be possible. I had a really fabulous 50s sectional a few years ago that I ended up dumping because no amount of airing or cleaning would get rid of the smell.
I called a couple of those restoration cleaning services that go in after a fire or flood and they all told me it was unsalvagable.
If the cushions open up, I would start by replacing the foam. I'm not sure what the best treatment would be on the leather, but you definitely need to treat the spores not just the odor.
I'm not sure how it would work for you but it took the smoke smell from everything in the house. Furniture, carpet, insulation in attic. Some how it ionizes the smells and neutralizes them.
They used a machine that sat in room, one on each floor of house and let it run 24 hrs.
Smells all gone.
Don't know if it would help your situation but thought I'd offer the info.
A diluted spray of tea tree oil can be helpful although on a large item such as a couch this can be time consuming and difficult to cover thoroughly.
Leaving it in direct sun will kill mold and mildew spores although it is not a "few hour" process.
I just came across this from the Everyday Cheapskate site. While it doesn't address mustiness, it does talk about general cleaning of leather which might be of value:
I would like to know the best way to clean my leather sofas. They are a light taupe and get soiled from newspapers placed on them as well as other sources of dirt. Lee Mc., Pennsylvania
Leather varies greatly so check the manufacturer’s care instructions first. If the leather has not been sealed or coated by the manufacturer it may absorb liquids and cleaners, giving a blotchy, stained appearance to the sofa. Start with the least invasive option: An art gum eraser, found at a craft or stationery store. It will remove marks and clean up small areas on uncoated leather.
I clean my treated leather furniture with saddle soap, a traditional blend of ingredients that clean, soften and preserve smooth leather. It thoroughly cleans away dirt and grime. Kiwi Saddle Soap is available in the shoe polish aisle of the supermarket or drug store for less than $5. It is formulated with glycerin and lanolin to make leather soft and supple. You can also find high-quality leather cleaning products from companies like Oakwood (www.oakwoodusa.net). Your leather furniture represents a significant investment, so finding the best way to clean and condition it will be well worth your time and money.
Caution: Do not use oils, furniture polishes or varnishes on leather. These products may contain solvents that will make the leather sticky. And finally, always test any cleaning technique in an inconspicuous
place first so you will know exactly what to expect.
Just wanted to post an update: I wiped the cushions down with straight vinegar as suggested. That helped get rid of the musty odor quite a bit, although the smell is still there a little bit. Not sure if I would try this on 'nice leather'. I was desperate, but really didn't seem to damage the leather in my case. I also threw in some dryer sheets in the cushions. This will suffice until I can afford to have new cushions made. Gonna try the saddle soap next! Thanks everyone!:-)