How to Disinfect Thrift Store Furniture

Person pouring vodka into a spray bottle
You scored a nice coffee table or couch at the thrift store, now what? Worried about what might linger on its surface? Or perhaps worried that the peculiar smell permeating each and every piece of thrift store furniture might overwhelm your home? Fear not, Molly Maid has you covered with a simple guide on how to clean furniture. Not only can we help you get rid of that funky smell, but we’ll also show you how to safely disinfect used furniture and ensure no critters score a free ride into your home.

How to Disinfect a Couch & Wooden Furniture

If you’ve been wondering how to sanitize a couch or other used furniture, natural light may just be your best friend. Place the piece of furniture outside on a sunny day and let the power of UV rays kill bacteria.

Follow these additional tips to make your furniture look and smell like new in no time …

How to Clean a Used Couch or Hardwood Furniture

Knowing how to clean a used couch will depend a little on the details of the piece. Some covers may be able to go right in the washing machine. Baking soda and enzyme cleaners can be a great solution if the washer isn’t an option.

Use the Washing Machine

If you’re lucky, the couch will have removable cushion covers or a removable slip. Take these off and wash them with hot water then dry them in the sun. While it is tempting, don’t dry upholstery fabrics in the dryer with high heat as it might shrink the fabric. You can’t toss your new stinky coffee table in the washer, so keep reading below.

Bring the Furniture Outside

Slap the cushions and fabric to release any dust or debris that has likely built up over time. Don’t be shy; you can really go to work. You should see clouds of dust poof into the air. Follow with a thorough vacuum — if you have an upholstery brush attachment, use it.

Good Old Soap and Water

For coffee tables or bookshelves, use a mild dish soap, water and sponge to scrub down the surface and remove spills or stains.

Eliminate That Thrift Store Odor

To remove odors, dust the surfaces of upholstered and wooden furniture with baking soda.

For couches, remove the cushions and work the baking soda into the fabric, including the seatback and armrests. You can even use a brush to help scrub the powder into the fabric. This will soak up moisture and any lingering funk. It’s best to let this sit for a few hours in the sun. Then vacuum the baking soda out.

Did that not work all the way? Still worried about everyone hating your loveseat because of how it smells? Pour some vodka into a spray bottle and liberally moisten the upholstery. Allow it to dry outside in the sun and thoroughly vacuum after it dries.

For coffee tables or bookshelves, wipe off the baking soda with a mixture of water and vinegar. Vinegar is a safe and effective disinfectant that most of us already have lying around. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell, it will disappear as it dries.

Get in Deep with Enzyme Cleaners

Enzyme cleaners break down odor-causing bacteria and can be very effective for stubborn smells and stains. The cleaners are usually sold for specific materials, so be sure to get the right cleaner, whether it’s for leather, cotton, wood or carpet. Follow the instructions on the label for best results.

Steam Clean for Perfection

If you really want your new couch to shine, rent a steam cleaner to really penetrate the upholstery and clean deep down. The heat from the steam helps remove stains, kills bacteria, and can make your thrift store score look brand new!

Now that your piece of furniture is sparkling clean, why not put it in a home that’s just as clean? With Molly Maid, you can schedule a custom cleaning plan to fit your needs. Contact your local Molly Maid for a free estimate!