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matthewwj 11-28-2007 11:13 PM

Any tips on getting rotted chicken smell out of hard wood floors?
Hi all,

Here's my story...

I recently bought a 3 story fixer-upper house that has been abandoned for 5 years.


All of the contents are intact from the previous owner, who died of natural causes after being in a nursing home for 5 years.

There was a flood 4 years ago that devistated the neighborhood, but only a foot of water got into the basement, (no structural damage).

The house was also burglarized and ransacked for valuables. The hot water tank is missing, along with the range, refrigerator, AND ALL of the copper waterlines. Oh yeah, they stole the copper wiring too.

To say the least, the house is TRASHED.

I secured the house by making a new bulkhead door out of pressure treated 3/4" plywood and reinforced with 2X4s, installed a new padlock, and changed the deadbolt locks on the front and rear door.

The kitchen is my priority now, which was ransacked due to thievs looking for money and valuables. The burglars also emptied the contents of the refrigerator onto the kitchen floor (which was carpeted), and the smell of rotting chicken and meat permiated throughout the hardwood floors.

My problem now is the smell of rotting chicken that has soaked into the hardwood floors. How do I get rid of it?

I appreciate any comments or suggestions.

this is my first house, and I intend to make it a home someday... with a lot of elbow grease.

I have posted pics on photobucket of my undertaking...Heres the link again...

thanks for reading

ToolGuy 11-29-2007 02:28 AM

I don't know how to eliminate the smell but I gotta say, you sure have your hands full there. However, it's a really nice house and imho, worth every bit of the labor you put into it. About half my work is in similar houses here in Chicago, and I love these old houses. But now with the questions:

A) Are you doing it yourself?

B) Do you plan on sharing some before, during and after photos with us?

C) Is the original woodword still intact?

D) Restore or modernize?

glennjanie 11-29-2007 08:57 AM

Hello MatthewJ:
Chlorine bleach is good for taking out odors; just be sure you use it with adequate ventilation. Chlorine is a poison gas.
Another method to rid odors is to dampen the floor and sprinkle Hydrated Lime over it. If it does not work the first time then next time use a broom to work it into the woodgrain.

ToolGuy 11-29-2007 09:42 AM

Thinking about it, I'm guessing removing that odor isn't much unlike removing pet waste odor. Check with a pet supplies store like PetSmart or something. I bet they have a product that will do the trick.

travelover 11-29-2007 09:44 AM

Another product is Nature's Miracle. It is sold in pet stores to get rid of pet odors, but it works by releasing enzymes that "eat" the organic element that is stinking.

matthewwj 11-30-2007 06:57 PM

Thanks for all your suggestions...

Toolguy, I am doing it myself. I am a general contractor business owner, and I thought I'd tackle something

There are "before" pics on photobuket, although I took them last week....More will become available as progress is

Yes, the original woodwork is still intact... mostly. The house has all hardwood floors, including the rooms which are carpeted at this time, including the kitchen.

As to restoring or modernizing... probably a little of both.. I love the wood look all over the house... I'll restore the floors. I plan on putting in a tankless water heater, and a high-efficent HVAC system... There is some asbestos on the ductwork, so I'll have to call a pro on that.

Mostly, I am trying to do everything myself, with a little help from my friends, not only to save money, but to have something I can be proud of after all that work.

Thanks for your interest.
keep in touch

ToolGuy 11-30-2007 08:06 PM


There is some asbestos on the ductwork, so I'll have to call a pro on that.
Well, there goes the budget! :eek:

I hope that doesn't run into too much money. I don't know for sure but I think there are products which you can use to contain asbestos, a sort of thick paint-on type membrane which remains flexible so it won't crack, and I think using it is code approved under the right circumstances. Something you might want to look into.

About the floors, is it restore or sand? I once used stripper to remove the old finish and then refinished it with a medium brown stain (Minwax Puritan Pine) and 3 coats of satin poly. All the nicks and dings gave it a real nice vintage look. However, the floors were in pretty good condition to start with, having been carpeted for 50 years and no pet stains or anythign like that.

I looked at the pics on photo bucket. Man, the neighborhood hooligans really trashed that place. It's a shame to see it in such a mess, but then it's good to see someone like yourself moving in to restore it. You might want to put in an alarm system. I've never seen a lock that will keep out a determined copper junkie when there's nobody living there. Just a thought.

Enjoy your project! :)

matthewwj 12-01-2007 07:15 AM

I see you are a carpenter.
One thing I really haven't tried is carpentry, so maybe you can give me some tips.

The stairway has missing some rails (i don't know exactly what they are called). I don't have a lathe, or have any clue on how to replace them.

any tips??

and what do you think about the steps? I want to rip the carpet out, but what should I do after that?

inspectorD 12-02-2007 07:39 PM

I too am a carpenter...
Tear those carpets out and start sanding. The banister....the thing you hold on to down the can sand also. Start with a 120 grit to remove the varnish ,then go to 220 for finishing. The spindles which are broken, can be glued back together. If that is not possible because they are to damaged, you can try a reclaimed lumber facility or recyclers of old homes. Or you can try to match them at lumber yards, or try a millwork or furniture company to make matching sets. They may not be as expensive as you think to match, especially if you are thinking of buying all new ones.
Let us know what you try.:D

ToolGuy 12-03-2007 08:30 AM

You're not likely to find matches for the missing spindles (balusters) but if you could carefully remove one of them you could have a wood shop make some replicas. Ideally you would strip the varnish off because they will use a duplicating jig on a lathe to match it, and the thickness of the varnish would interfere with getting an exact match.

Speaking of stripping, I'd strip and refinish the entire staircase. It's a big job to tackle but you'll be glad you did it. One product worth looking into is . I'd avoid toxic strippers as they can cause serious health concerns. Rinsing with water will raise the grain, but that's a good thing as a light sanding will make for a really nice finish. Then stain if desired, and finish with a couple or three coats of varnish.

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