Hi gang...

need some good smellin advice..

got my 1955 vintage Roadliner camping trailer just about all set up..its new to me. cleaned up and spiffy but she still has that old woody smell..no one complains but I think its not going away no matter how many days of cleaning, airing out in the sun or setting in those orange gel stink erasers.

Its all wood lined inside, has a bit of old joint water damage from many years ago..no new..but how does one get rid of that old closet smell? Cannot see any damage bad enough to do this. Could it be I need to rip out the lino flooring which seems very solid and fine? maybe under there? Undercarriage looks in tact ..its very clean/all original except vinyl dinette, mattress etc.

This unit was garaged for most of its life..so this surprises me. 

do these old trailers just smell? is this old news? am I nit picking? 

thanks mucho .-any advice, comments etc..will be appreciated.

I want to do the right thing.


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If the floor is good, I wouldn't think that the smell was coming from there.  What is a red flag, is the water damage.  Is there any place that you could access the area around the water damage and check for mold growing in fiberglass insulation?

   There isnt any place to get under the wood veneer corners without making a terrible mess that I would have to have professionally replaced. I had no idea there could be mold in fiberglass insulation..oh this could be bad! I am so not interested in ripping apart the walls.....

 I am getting worried..

Part of the problem for me is I have lost my previously very keen sense of smell and taste, a few years ago from a sinus infection..so I cannot detect if its a true dank moldy smell..or an old dry woody smell..like an old closet, or chest of drawers setting in a basement. Not quite icky to me, not strong, but still there. I have no idea if these old wood lined canned hams just have a smell anyway..you know? Thanks for this reply. So great to be able to ask questions here.

Do you have a friend with a keen sense of smell?  Some of the older RV's used REAL wood and different kinds of wood sealer etc. You might be smelling aged wood so to speak. But if your sense of smell is hampered like you mentioned,, maybe someone else could take a smell check and hopefully confirm its just aged wood, or if indeed you have another problem....  

Don't Panic..... Take it one step at a time, and do a process of elimination.

OK..your right. Yes, I have had people in there to smell..and actually a friend sat with me in there for a few hours last week..sipping tea..she said its not icky or unpleasant but still present..more like an old dresser smell, rather a sweetish natural smell if I had to describe it. It is real wood..Pecan veneer I think over wood..,,blondish, smooth, rounded, very pretty and with a perfect semi gloss original finish. Its a typical all old wood vintage interior..with plastic striping in the corners, thats needs replacing eventually.  The cabinets, walls, ceiling,cargo, frame..is all original wood. So I guess your saying that sometimes that old wood interiors just have a certain smell..not awful or repugnant..but that old aged wood smell..which is exactly where my own nose  is failing me. People all smell differently,and generally are polite about that kind of thing. I am still going to dig into a hidden spot because you've all got me thinking I had better be safe than sorry here. Mold is dangerous..and I cannot compromise my health to being ignorant or lazy.  But I wont go crazy. you guys are the best!

I agree with Richard,,, sounds like you might be harboring some mold growth,possibly. Wood can hold moisture a very long time and even humidity or dampness in the air can maintain dampness in wood, including insulation.

As Richard suggested,,can you find a small area to access to take a visual of the older water damage?. That would be my method of checking it all out. I myself wouldnt be want to be ripping out flooring and that not be the problem.

Good luck, and be sure to post your findings, and of course,if anyone else has any ideas, they will most likely post a suggestion.

oh my! Your saying mold too? Its very dry here, thankfully in S cal of no rain..and the trailer is from S Calif.  but mold in the fiberglass insulation sounds positively terrible. I think the only place not visable would be under the bed platform..in the storage area. I would have to cut the veneer and rip open. There is some minor buckling at the side wall to back wall corners,( old)  where the signs of some old water damage are..like discoloration, but it feels so dry. All the outside seals have been re -siliconed, so I am sure there is no new damage. Probably fixed by previous owner after the water damage occured the first time. The trailer  has been well maintained overall, but old mold is scary indeed. I cannot sleep in an old mold wagon....yikes. Would I have to take it to a vintage restorer to look into this fully? 

Our RV has the "old rig" smell too but I'm sure it's coming from the foam in the 33 year old seat cushions... Last year we removed all of the seat cushions from the rv to let it air out. After a few days the honky smell was gone from the rv but the smell moved to the shed where we had the cushions stored.

The cushions may have had damp/mold issues in the past also. I don't know.

I don't mind the smell as I consider it to be the character of the vehicle, but my DW isn't keen on it so I guess we'll eventually be replacing the cushions.

We've been told that you can soak the cushions in diluted fabric conditioner then let them dry completely to eliminate the smell, we may try that first.

Thanks Kevin... This is such a nice forum..everyone so helpful. 

when I bought my trailer, it had the original vinyl grey dinette cushions too, actually in near perfect shape..but 56 years old! with the burlap and natural cotton batting underside..etc..that really stunk like old burlap..which is a decidedly farm barn, feed bag like smell. I had everything except the wood frame replaced..new vinyl, new padding and that alone took a lot of the edge off. It WAS worth it! Even the curtains were original..and old bark cloth smelled too..believe me it was hard throwing away perfect looking vintage fabric that was so cool but smelled like old basement curtains. NO wash gets that out.  Anyway..the woody smell must be in the frame somehow as everything thats loosley replaceable ..mattress, curtains, floor covering in cargo..water  and gas tubing, seals, tires, roof vent, has been replaced with new. Im in a hurry to get this baby on the road..ripping it apart after spending so much time and money fixing it up is going to be hard. I thought with some time,( 9 months) and summer heat and dry air the smell would vanish,but as you say sometimes a smell is part of the character. OH boy! 

My mind cannot accept mold in any case...

thanks again. and Kevin..my advice is to get new cushions, custom made, using your old as samples. I went to a local upholstery shop that does cars, boats and home furniture..they did a masterful job. That will be the most satisfying in the end. may run you a few hundred..Your DW will like picking out the fabric..that makes women happy. Nothing better than a happy DW... Right?  like me! Or, if they are regular sizes, sometimes retail shops, like Pier One, World market, HD,.. has boxey patio furn. cushions in great patterns and colors for very inexpensive..thats an easy fix without much investment. Good luck.

In your situation, I would look for a mold test kit.  They can be purchased for less than $10.00.

Good idea..I will do that. I had no idea there was such a thing. I need to know for sure, so that might be the perfect way to find out. Ill look online for one. 

Thank you. 

I hope you solved the odor problem in your trailer.    Years ago I bought an old Barth RV that someone lived and smoked in for a year. I used hydrogen peroxide in spray bottle, it removed all smoking odors and water stains on the wood panels. White vinegar also works

Thanks John. still working on it..

I could give that a try in case its a surface smell..that makes sense too. I know H2O2 does a lot we don't even know about..why not smells? and stains? that would be great! Ill try it. cheap too.

Some one else told me to put a big charcoal block in the storage area to  absorb any smells too. 




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