how to get smells out of wood drawers

Today, we’re sharing a solution to one of our most commonly asked questions…How to Remove Smelly Odors From Old Dresser Drawers!

5 Simple Ways to Remove that Musty Smell from Old Furniture. Easy tips and tricks to eliminate odors from vintage furniture.

Have you ever been in a thrift store, an old barn or even a yard sale and completely fallen in love with a dresser? 

On the outside it’s perfection.  Then you pull out the drawers and this obnoxious odor hovers just under the tip of your nose.  It’s in that moment over a cigarette smoke, mildew induced, musty, grimy haze that you have a decision to make. 

Dryer Sheets

This is the easiest tip of the bunch and it works well if the smell you’re dealing with is about a four out of ten on the yuckiness scale. It’s not going to take the smell away, but it will certainly mask it. If you have an old dresser just line the drawers with dryer sheets or if it’s a vintage trunk just find a way to stash a few of them inside. This is a really great little trick for lots of yucky smells!

Baking Soda or Carpet Powder

Again, this one is for more mild to moderate smells. Grab some good old-fashioned baking soda, put it in a bowl and place it in the furniture. The bigger the piece the more baking soda you’ll need. For example, if you’re working on a dresser you’ll need a bowl in each drawer. Close it up and leave it for at least a week. Probably two if you’re dealing with a more serious smell. The baking soda will absorb it up like magic. You can also try using one of those odor eliminating carpet powders like this one. Use it in the exact same way as the baking soda.

5 Ways to Remove that Musty Smell from Old Furniture
5 Ways to Remove that Musty Smell from Old Furniture

Vinegar & Water Solution

This is an old-school trick that works well for those really, really funky smells. White vinegar will work the best, but if you don’t have that on hand you can try apple cider vinegar as well. Just mix water and vinegar together using a 1:1 ratio and thoroughly wipe down your piece of furniture, then allow it to air dry. Or you can also fill a spray bottle with the solution and spray it down, whichever your little heart desires. This stuff definitely works. Vinegar is a great natural cleaner and will do the trick just fine!

5 Ways to Remove that Musty Smell from Old Furniture

Murphy’s Oil Soap

Have you guys heard of  Murphy Oil Soap Wood Cleaner? This stuff is the bomb and works wonders for actually cleaning wood and removing funky smells. And it’s so easy to use–just pour some on a clean cloth and wipe the piece down really well. Easy peasy for the win and it’s really effective.

Paint with a Powerful Primer 

This is the one that works best for those really strong odors that just don’t want to go away. When I bought this old dresser from Salvation Army last year it had that classic musty smell. The whole thing smelled awful actually. I painted it using this KILZ Multi-Surface Primer and I was seriously ammmmmazed at how well that primer blocked the smell. It’s like it sealed it all in and gave me a fresh canvas to start from. If you’re willing to paint the piece of furniture, even if it’s just the inside, I’d definitely consider giving primer a try. This works really well if your furniture has a serious smell problem going on. It sure worked wonders for me!

5Ways to Remove that Musty Smell from Old Furniture
5 Ways to Remove that Musty Smell from Old Furniture

Well friends, those are my five best tips and tricks for removing musty smells from old furniture. I know it’s not the most glamorous topic to talk about, but it’s definitely something that comes along with having a lot of vintage furniture. And you gotta deal with it! I sure hope this post was helpful. Especially with yard sale season officially underway, you might want to keep this list handy for the next time you bring home a beautiful old dresser that smells like it made a trip to Funky Town, USA. I’d also love to hear what tricks you use. I am sure you’re all full of wisdom and great ideas too, so please don’t hesitate to share with me. I’d really love to hear it!

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