How to Get Rid of that Musty Old People Smell

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I like old stuff. It makes me happy. It makes me feel relaxed and content. It makes me want to use words like whippersnapper and hooligan while holding a rolling pin in one hand and a television remote the size of a box of cereal in the other.

The only real problem I’ve ever had regarding my love of old things is this;  If it is old … it will smell.  As an example, have you ever met an old cheese, old sock or old person that didn’t smell?

Several years ago I bought this luggage set.   And when I bought it, it smelled.  Poorly.  Like a musty, musty, must bucket.

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I don’t actually keep my luggage on my front hall table, I just thought it was a nice way for you to get a good gander at it.

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“Gander” is one of the words I intend to use on more of a regular basis when I get old.

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Quite frankly I can’t wait to get so old I can say and do whatever I want without anyone looking at me like I’m a lunatic. When you’re young and you declare in an exceptionally loud voice that you think the person in front of you in line at the grocery store is a “whack job” you come off as judgemental and mean. When you’re old and you do the same thing, you’re just “a lively old gal”.

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In order to get rid of the musty luggage stink I used my old standby. Kitty Litter.

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Just open up the offending piece of luggage.

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Unless you’re feeling poorly.  In which case you should probably sucker some other poor sod into opening up the stink box.

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That lining right in there is what holds most of the stink.

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Just pour a box of kitty litter into the offending piece of luggage. Yup. The whole box. Pour it right in there.

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See? Fill it up.

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Then close up your piece of luggage (or any other thing you own that’s filled with musty smells.

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And leave it for a week. You heard me. One week. Just leave it.

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When the week is up, just empty the kitty litter and fill your luggage with whatever you choose to. I use my fresh smelling train case as my sewing box and it looks like this!

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Cute right?

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Only it actually looks like this.

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Which isn’t nearly as attractive in a photograph. But it’s the truth.

You can use this litter trick with almost anything.  Musty vintage clothing?  Shove it in a plastic bag and cover the piece with kitty  litter.  Tie the bag up and leave it for a week!

The plastic bag technique works great with just about anything that smells old and musty.  Although, I probably wouldn’t recommend this exact procedure with old people.

Most of ’em are feisty.  If you try and cover them in kitty litter and shove them in a plastic bag chances are they’ll knock you right on your keister.

 

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286 Comments

  1. Virginia says:

    I don’t think “musty old people smell” is very kind.
    They smell of wisdom and graciousness to many people, none of which is in this title.
    You will be old one day and I hope someone never refers to you that way.

  2. Amaryllis says:

    Hello Karen, I bought an old armoire type piece of furniture. You can tell is an antique because 1.the piece used to hang clothes is still the piece of iron folded upwards and 2. the smell. I left two lbs of coffee inside, and took some of the smell away but not entirely. Do you think kitty litter would do the trick?

  3. Richard says:

    Hello Karen,
    I know this was an “old” post but it was funny and very helpful.
    You made me smile.
    Thank You

  4. Anne says:

    Can the musty smelling but otherwise pristine kitty litter be used for its original purpose once the item and the litter have been separated? Who knows my cats might be attracted to that unique ‘old’ smell or even better how about a little payback for the numerous cat pee dilemmas they’ve put me through.

    • Karen says:

      Uch. Cats and their peeing dilemmas. I’m not sure Anne but I don’t really see why you couldn’t use it for litter. Unless it’s so filled with musty smell that you can’t stand it of course but I’d just throw it in the litter box and see what happens. ~ karen!

  5. nfrmdwmn says:

    After reading most of these posts, I feel I’ve unintentionally met my 1st cyber peeps group. Reminder to self…, “Give each step intent; Lead with your hips.”

    I digress…, in reference to kitties using your dark corner as the nightclub urinal, take gander at David Polley from Odor Medic
    http://www.odormedic.com/

    Dave and I had a very short kinship, but quality wins over quantity with my new friend. He walked me step-by-step, right on thru til the end with my 2″ shag carpet with in-floor heat, soaked in urine. Not a great combo.

    Do you know how the urine odor tends to come back when it rains? On muggy days, I smell the faint whiff of the deodorizing product, but not what my feline friends left behind. #DaveIsMybff

    I am not a paid spokesperson for Odor Medic, unless you count the insight I received. It’s been nice meeting everyone, via Karen and her wisdom.

    nfrmdwmn
    (informed woman)

  6. Sherree says:

    Dearest Ms KAREN,
    I am new here and I must say ELOQUENCE is DRIPPING from YOUR PAGES.
    What a LOVLEY WAY WITH WORDS. Simply ELOQUENT!

    LADIES…
    If, I may be soooo BOLD as to ADD to the discussion, it doesn’t get
    much easier nor more simple than using PLAIN OLE’ NEWSPAPER. If NO
    newspapers or FEARFUL of the Newsprint INK… Just use PAPER TOWELS.
    There’s really ZERO need for anything else and it’s about the easiest
    way to go.

    Oh, Ms. KAREN-I SEE NOTHING BUT CLASS here. Keep IT UP, LOVELY LADY!!!
    Ree

  7. Ti says:

    How offensive. What do recommend old be do or to do with old people to get rid of this offensive odor. You insensitive, agist person. Hope you get the same when you get older.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ti. This post is in no way meant to be offensive. It’s humour. Funny. And yes, I can stop you right there. You will say it’s not funny. But … it is. I am not now, nor will I ever be ageist. The smell is referring to “dust, must and mothballs”, which whether you like it or not, is associated with “old people”. It’s the smell that almost everyone in the world recognizes as one that reminds them of their grandparents. While it might be a fond memory of your grandparents it isn’t what you want your suitcase that’s carrying your clothes around in to smell like. ~ karen

  8. Autolycuss says:

    Hi K.
    Like your kitty litter idea for removing musty smells – will try that as Plan B if Plan A fails…
    Plan A is for when you have a smelly, mildewy, ex-military rucksack that is exceptionally sturdy and lightweight, but whiffs when you open it. The problem with pouring loose kitty litter in – especially those clay-based variants (which are the most effective), is that the clay turns to mud and lines all the seams & small crevices. So Kitty Litter is Good for removing smells, but no good when said clay covers whatever is stowed in the bag later on…
    What we need is a Dry moisture & smell absorber…
    Looked around and found a Fabric bag of rice over here in an Indian deli (in England – hence the damp), where the Key Words are “Fabric Bag”.
    You need a “breathable” bag of rice – this one is 2kgs, which is a bit on the biggish side, but should suck up a lot of moisture. Place it in the affected rucksack and leave it in a dry room, indoors, for a week or two.
    The porous nature of the bag (500 gramme bags or – 1lb for you colonials – are best, but the bag should be Hessian), allows all that smelliness to be sucked into the dry rice and retained there.
    After a week or two, remove the rice bag & pop it into a warm oven (no more than 50 degrees C), for two hours. This dissipates the moisture, dries the rice and makes the bag ready for another go – if required.
    When your rucksack interior smells & feels dry, close it up with one of those small sachets of Silica Gel (which you can – carefully – dry in an oven, as above), which we all accumulate and which you all keep in a small tin… don’t you…?
    I keep a bar of Wright’s Coal Tar Soap in my rucksack after drying & de-whiffing the interior – this may not be available on your wayward side of the Atlantic, but you’ll have something similar, I’m sure.
    All done – easy.
    Mail me if you have any questions….
    …And have a wonderful weekend…!

    • Karen says:

      Interesting! And no I haven’t seen the coal soap but it may just be because I haven’t looked for it. And it sounds like it be a great thing to have around. ~ karen!

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