How to Eliminate the Odor of Rotten Wood

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Things You'll Need

  • Ammonia

  • Cloth towels

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • Spray bottle

  • 1/4 cup baking soda

  • Charcoal briquettes

  • Newspapers

  • Clay cat litter

  • Shallow bowls

  • Ground coffee

Simple household items can be used to remove rotton wood odor.

Wood is a popular material for crafts, housing, floors and furniture. However, as a natural, organic, absorbent substance, wood is subject to damage and decay. When exposed to high humidity or excessive moisture, wood can grow mold or even rot. When this occurs, the spoiled wood develops an unpleasant odor that can be difficult to remove. Unfortunately, there is no one single remedy for wood odor removal, as results will depend on how the wood was finished, what the wood is being used for and what caused to wood to rot. Several different methods may need to be used before the problem is alleviated.


Step 1

Moisten a soft cloth with ammonia. Wipe the affected area gently. Dampen a second cloth with clear water and wipe the wood again, removing the ammonia from the damaged area.

Step 2

Combine 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil. Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle and shake vigorously. Coat the rotten wood with the mixture and wipe away with a paper towel or clean cloth.

Step 3

Pour 1/4 cup baking soda into a shallow bowl. Add enough warm water to create a thick paste. Spread the paste over the damaged wood and allow it to dry for up to eight hours. Wipe away with a damp cloth.


Step 4

Wrap charcoal briquettes in sheets of newspaper and place them in the affected area. Both materials are known for the ability to absorb odors. Leave the charcoal in place for one week, then replace the briquettes. There should be a noticeable improvement after four weeks. After they have been used for odor removal, briquettes can be returned to their package and used for grilling.

Step 5

Place bowls filled with clay cat litter near the affected area and leave them for 24 hours. It is naturally absorbent and inexpensive, though it may take some time to be completely effective.

Step 6

Sprinkle fresh coffee grounds over the rotten wood. Leave it for 24 hours and then sweep it up or remove it with a vacuum cleaner.


Open any windows and doors prior to cleaning to create a well-ventilated work area.



Lisa Parris

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.