Does Your New Guitar Case Smell? We Can Help!

Have you ever wondered why new guitar cases smell? Yes, we know the feeling of unboxing a brand-new guitar and getting that unknown smell.

Not to worry, the new guitar case smell is only temporary. In fact, it is meant to be there and goes away over time with use.

If you want the new guitar case smell to go away more quickly, there are a few things you can do. Use coffee beans, tea, or even potpourri. Place them into a mesh bag, and then into your guitar case. This can help remove the smell.

There are several ways to remove the smell from a new guitar case. But you’ll have to experiment with a few before you find the one that works best for you.

In this Killer Rig article, we’ll go over all the proven methods for getting rid of that new guitar case smell. We’ll also provide you with some tips on how to avoid smelly circumstances in the future.

What Makes a New Guitar Case Smell Funny?

In the manufacturing process of a new guitar case, chemicals and glues are used to attach the liner. Over time, these chemicals and glues off-gas.

This emits a smell that begins to get into the fabric that the liner is made of itself.

Due to the lack of ventilation, the smell gets trapped inside the case and continues to build up over time. That’s why the new guitar cases you just bought might start to smell a little funny after a while. 

This can also happen to older guitar cases if you play in smoke-filled bars or smelly venues a lot. Or even if the guitar was stored in a musty room. Eventually, the case will begin to hold onto the smell of mildew.

Thankfully, there are ways to get rid of any stench.

7 Best Methods to Get Rid of New Guitar Case Odor

We’ve compiled a list of the most effective techniques for removing new guitar case odor. You can try any of these methods to say goodbye to that stinky guitar case for good!

Fresh Air Outdoors

Sometimes we forget the most obvious solution. This is letting some fresh air inside the case.

This will help eliminate any musty smells from your guitar case. Leave the case in an open area for 24 hours to air out the stink.

Now, we don’t recommend that you leave it outside for it to get rained on! But putting it in the garage or in a shed where it can sit for a while is the best bet. Just make sure there is some air movement.

If this doesn’t work well, you might also try leaving it in direct sunlight for a number of hours.

This can help dry out the glues and chemicals faster, eliminating the strong smells. Just be careful that the glues don’t melt and let go of the liner.

Coffee Beans

Coffee Beans are an effective way to get rid of bad smells. Add some whole or ground coffee beans into a mesh bag and if you don’t have one, you can use an old sock. 

After filling it with coffee beans, store it inside your guitar case. This will help absorb the bad smells. But also remove toxic gases from your instrument’s atmosphere.

Potpourri, Oregano, or Tea

It’s similar to using coffee beans, but with different ingredients. Potpourri, oregano, and tea can easily absorb bad smells. These ingredients can also neutralize the bad odor-causing bacteria inside your guitar case.

Want to add a more pleasant smell to the case? Try adding mint, calendula, or dried lavender to the tea, oregano, or potpourri.

Carpet Shampoo

Bottle of carpet cleaner.

Feel helpless because the bad smell just won’t go away? Try cleaning your case liner with carpet shampoo or cleaner. Most carpet cleaning machines will also suck the water and soap back up. Leaving only a slightly damp liner.

This can remove the new case smell and replace it with carpet shampoo or detergent scent.

We do advise you to perform this cautiously! Some carpet cleaning detergents could discolor the liner. It’s best to try a small area first and see if it’s ok on the case liner.

You also want to make sure that you don’t use too much water, as it could also damage the case. Having the plan to dry the case liner quickly will offer the best results.

Car Air Fresheners

Some people use car air fresheners in their guitar cases to get rid of bad smells. And while they can work, they may only mask the bad smells for a short period before replacing them.

This is because the chemicals and glues will emit their scent for a number of weeks.

It’s best to try and speed up the process of off-gassing first, then add the car air fresheners. This way they can replace the bad smells completely.

Activated Charcoal

Another best and proven method is to use activated charcoal. It comes in a variety of forms like granules or discs and can be easily placed inside your guitar case. Activated charcoal is very efficient in absorbing foul smells and also toxic gases.

You need to make some small pouches or scent bags. This is done using a porous cloth like nylon and placing them strategically inside the case.

Activated charcoal and the dust it creates are quite messy! So it is advisable that you keep your case stable when using it.

Dish of Vanilla

Some people use vanilla extract in a dish and put it into an empty case and close the lid. Leave it for a number of days or even a couple of weeks and the case liner will begin to smell like vanilla.

This will only work if the smell of the glue and chemicals has faded. If it’s still very strong, you may want to try another method of off-gassing!

Like having the case sit in front of a heater in a well-ventilated room for a few days.

How to Keep Your Guitar Case Smelling Fresh

In order to prevent your guitar case from getting smelly, preventive measures are needed. Though it may require some extra work upfront, it will pay off in the end.

It’s typically a good idea to keep your case smelling nice so that opening it and getting a whiff doesn’t make you sick. This can be done in a number of ways, but the most effective way is to keep some air freshener in your case.

Use any type of air freshener that you like, whether it’s potpourri or cedar chips.

The important thing is that you keep one of these in your case at all times to absorb any unpleasant smells. Additionally, it’s important to change the air freshener frequently. All to maintain a fresh smell.

Another way to retain a fresh smell is to keep it away from high humidity. This means that you should not store your case in the attic or basement. These are places where moisture can build up and cause musty smells.

Keep your case in a cool, dry place to prevent any moisture from accumulating. This is even more important if there is a guitar inside! Just make sure the guitar doesn’t get too dry!

And finally, if you don’t want the acoustic case to smell at all, then keep a small box of baking soda inside. But when there is no guitar inside, and it will do just that! Make sure not to move the case and spill the baking soda all over.

Keep a reminder for yourself outside the case so that it can be maintained without a mess.


If your new electric guitar case smells unpleasant, don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal. The cause of the smell is a harmless glue that is used in the lining of the case. Over time, the smell will dissipate and eventually disappear entirely. 

But in the meantime, try some of our suggestions to get rid of the smell more quickly.

We have tested all of these methods and can attest to their effectiveness. So, if you are looking for ways to make your guitar case smell better, give one of these a try.


Why do Gibson cases smell good?

The vanilla-scented glue in Gibson cases is what gives them their signature smell. Usually, TKL cases are lined with this type of glue, which is why they tend to have a pleasant smell.

Can I use Febreze in my guitar case?

Yes, you can use Febreze in your guitar case. Just be sure to use it sparingly, as too much Febreze can create a strong, unpleasant smell itself.

What is the new guitar smell?

Usually, the wood that is used to make a new guitar has a certain smell. This can help make the smell of the case better, especially as it ages.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!