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#2028255 - 02/06/13 05:24 PM smelly piano???
newinstru? Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/12
Posts: 113
Loc: SoCal
Okay....looking a bit through the archives I have found posts about smelly sheet music and smelly feet, but......

Twice now I have gone to check out a piano from Craigslist, and as soon as I go into the house I smell......pet urine (yuck). I don't know how to say, "Wow, your house really smells, nevermind," so I check out the piano (I figure I can learn something anyway) and leave.

Both times, however, they were well respected brands, a Baldwin L and a Charles Walter. I'm afraid, though, that I would either be saddled with a smelly piano, or a big bill to get the smell out.

Do they absorb that pet smell? Can you get it out, and how much would it be.
Just wondering what experience anyone here has with smelly pianos or pianos from smelly places.

Edited by newinstru? (02/06/13 05:25 PM)

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#2028300 - 02/06/13 06:45 PM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
Mark VC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/12
Posts: 110
I think cigarette smoke has staying power - really clings to almost anything. Note that folks selling guitars online will sometimes say 'nonsmoker'. But the pet smell is coming from the carpet, right? I think you're safe.

#2028307 - 02/06/13 07:04 PM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 724
Loc: Zichron Yaacov, Israel

Most old pianos smell. Mouse feces and urine impregnated into the old dust, cooking smells and so on.

There are products and techniques available to correct this.

Take care,


#2028313 - 02/06/13 07:13 PM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
Gatsbee13 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/03/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Los Angeles

Edited by Gatsbee13 (02/07/13 12:23 AM)

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#2028314 - 02/06/13 07:14 PM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
Gatsbee13 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/03/10
Posts: 595
Loc: Los Angeles

Edited by Gatsbee13 (02/07/13 12:24 AM)

#2028528 - 02/07/13 03:39 AM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
peterws Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 6094
Loc: Northern England.
I posted something on this a bit ago. But it was the smwll when you take the front off. The woody smell unique to wooden pianos. Digitals have their own smell, Hammond Organs do too.

Especially if beer has found it`s way into them . . . .!

Nostalgia at it`s best!
"I am not a man. I am a free number"


#2028576 - 02/07/13 07:37 AM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
rXd Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 2431
I was once sent to deal with a situation where the buyer claimed that their freshly delivered piano smelled awful.

As I opened the garden gate, I could smell strong cheap deodorant. The whole house was pervaded with this reek. When I opened the piano, it was a bit of a relief to smell the familiar new piano smell.

I once went to value a Steinway C where the owner had died and the pets had gone wild for a number of days before the body was found I was given a regulation gas mask at the door. it didn't help much.
Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

#2028607 - 02/07/13 08:37 AM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
backto_study_piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 865
Loc: Queensland, Australia
Likely smoke - I'm told is near impossible to remove from a piano - or soft furnishings. I haven't experienced it, but I asked around after playing a C7 which was in a smoker's home - and was told by my technician that it's there for it's natural life.

I bought a car belonging to a smoker - never again. I scrubbed all hard and vinyl surfaces - black water. Cleaned fabrics. But every time it was parked in the sun on a hot day, phew, the stench came back again.

Very old pianos (like in Church halls) have a musty mouldy smell - I'm not sure if you can get rid of it.
Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-15)).

#2028617 - 02/07/13 08:59 AM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Companies which deal with smoke and/or water damage can easily remove localized aromas from individual furniture pieces. That includes pianos. The instrument will be tented and will have an ozone generator placed inside the tent. It takes approx. three days and is very effective.
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

#2028657 - 02/07/13 10:10 AM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
Sir Lurksalot Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 1284
Old Limburger pianos smell pretty bad.

#2028741 - 02/07/13 12:47 PM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
Rickster Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 10894
Loc: Georgia, USA
I know that pet owners love their pets… like a real human family member, probably. Many pet owners let the dogs and cats (and whatever else) live in the house with them… nothing wrong with that and to each her/his own.

Many years ago I worked as an HVACR service technician. I’ve been in many homes and businesses to service and repair their HVACR systems.

I remember one experience in particular that this thread reminded me of… I had a service call in a very nice, upper-class neighborhood. The house was probably 5000 square feet and what I would consider a mansion. The detached garage had a newer Cadillac sedan and a newish BMW parked neatly in place. When I knocked on the door, a very attractive, well dressed lady came to the door and greeted me with a smile. I was very impressed with what I had seen and heard so far, and I thought to myself these people were the epitome of success and achieving the American dream.

As soon as I entered the doorway I got a sudden whiff of a very unpleasant odor… about the same time, I heard a sound that I was not used to hearing; turns out, it was two rather large Bassett hounds running through the house on the hard-wood floors and the noise was the sound of their paw-nails scraping and scratching on the surface of the floors (which were very scared and scratched already by the dogs toe/pawnails). The odor was the distinct smell of “dog”. I thought to myself, now I know what the old saying, “smells like a dog” meant. It was a strong, pungent odor.

My perception of these highly successful, wealthy homeowners suddenly changed. The euphoria of fantasizing that I might one day have a home like this was suddenly quenched by the strong smell of dog…

I went ahead and fixed the HVAC system. The problem was that the evaporator coil on the A/C was clogged up with dog hair.

Don’t know if these folks had a piano or not… I was not such a piano enthusiast back then. smile

Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

#2028827 - 02/07/13 03:44 PM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
Bob Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 4490
Loc: Florida
As long as the pets are not peeing on or in the piano, the urine smell shouldn't follow the piano. If you want to restring your grand piano....let your cat pee in it. If you want to refinish your piano, let the dog pee on it's legs.

#2028834 - 02/07/13 03:57 PM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
spanishbuddha Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 3013
Loc: UK
In the UK we have taken to advertising things for sale from our homes in the vein of 'from a smoke and pet free home'. It's not just the smell, but other possible nasties. As a buyer it helps too of course.

#2028872 - 02/07/13 04:59 PM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: Sir Lurksalot]
ChatNoir Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 1576
Loc: Encino, California
Originally Posted By: Sir Lurksalot
Old Limburger pianos smell pretty bad.

Maybe, but they are oh, so tasty!
Some men are music lovers. Others make love without it.

#2028879 - 02/07/13 05:09 PM Re: smelly piano??? [Re: newinstru?]
newinstru? Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/12
Posts: 113
Loc: SoCal
Thank you all for your replies.

Marty, any idea how much that ozone generator treatment would cost?

I guess I thought with all the felt and wood it would absorb whatever smell there was. There was another piano I am reminded of that I played at a reputable piano store that smelled a little musty and old perfumy (sorry, my computer says that's not a word....oh well).....not so strong that it smelled at all other than when I sat down at it, but still......

By the way...that little face off to the side I was trying to put in the body of my post, but it ended up there. How do I insert that little thing in the post? Thanks.


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