Our house is pretty old. It had an old house smell when we bought it. It's not a mold smell, not a sewer, not cat urine. It's a smell of old wooden furniture or books.

The house has hardwood floors and lots of wood trims. We renovated the place, sanded all hardwood floors, removed old carpet, varnished all wood trims and painted all walls.

The odor almost disappeared, but I can still smell it. I'm sure it's going to go stronger over time.

Do you know what the smell might be coming from? Maybe attic needs to be treated somehow? Maybe stuff that penetrates walls can be used like Room Shocker? Any other ideas?

  • Fry bacon in the kitchen 7 mornings in a row
    – Kris
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 1:51

1 Answer 1


Years ago, my wife and I moved into a condo that had a faint weird smell. I put charcoal into a net bag like the ones potatoes come in, and set it into the cold air return ducting at the furnace. I then set the fan to run continuously. We also put the same netted bags in some of the other rooms. After a few weeks the smells were gone. The charcoal absorbed the odors. We built our present house 20 years ago. My wife has a very sensitive nose and detects every odor. I had the furnace guy install a special filter rack where I insert a charcoal filter into this rack ahead of the normal air filter. This charcoal filter takes out almost every conceivable odor that is in the air. Of course, I have run my furnace fan 24/7 for 20 years and counting. I buy mine at Home Depot or Lowes. They have a plastic frame that can be cut to size to fit the filter rack. No odors in my house (happy wife- happy life). This worked for me.

  • I have a larger safe with papers, contracts and paper stuff. After being closed for a while the stuff inside stinks. Old stuff deteriorates and smells, that includes books and all paper.
    – d.george
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 12:19
  • The smell is similar to that old paper odor. I believe the same deterioration happens to the wooden frame of a house after a number of years. I wonder if it's possible to stop it somehow.
    – ATrubka
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 16:59

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