Removing Musty Odors from Wood Furniture

Old wood furniture or pieces that may have been in storage can develop a musty smell. This is a guide about removing musty odors from wood furniture.

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My wooden cupboard with dividers for trays and cookie sheets smells bad. It is a combination of rancid odor and mustiness. The odor has permeated the wooden serving trays.

So far I have used soapy water and Lysol inside of the cabinet. We washed the wooden trays and set them out in the sunshine. We are considering rubbing them with fresh lemon juice to remove odor.
What would you suggest?

By John from Phoenix, AZ

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Spray them with pine oil and water. Mix 1/4 cup in a spray bottle with water (Windex) or get one from Dollar store for a dollar. I use it all the time in kitchen, good luck.

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The lemon juice won't hurt but I suggest spraying a test spot with Easy Off oven cleaner. Wait a few minutes and if you see a cleaner spot when you wipe it off you will know that your wood has absorbed grease from your years of cooking.

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I would try white vinegar and water solution, perhaps mix in a few drops of dish soap. Give it a good cleaning. Then I would place white vinegar in a bowl or if the drawers are small a votive holder and leave it in overnight. (Close up the drawers when you do this.)

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You might want to try this. Go to your nearest pet store and buy a package of activated charcoal (used in aquariums). Place an opened package in your cupboard overnight or longer, with the doors closed. The charcoal should absorb the odors.

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I bought a cabinet, that is old, for my bathroom and there is a musty odor inside. I have tried baking soda and vinegar and it didn't work. Please help.

Robinson in NC

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I have had luck with charcoal briquets in the back corners of a musty shelf, DO NOT use the self lighting charcoal

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I have a great old wooden hutch/cabinet that was musty. I tried baking soda in a pan, then a baking soda/water paste scrub, then ground coffee and nothing worked. THEN, AHA! I sprayed the entire inside surface with cedar oil and no more musty smell! The cedar smell faded but the musty odor did NOT come back.

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I found that if you put a container of Damp-Rid in your cabinet and empty often, then refill as needed with the granules, it will take out the musty smell. Try putting a clean cloth with vanilla (real extract) and it should also help. Also there is a carpet/freshener that is a powder vanilla scent that works great on carpet, could sprinkle that inside, it is made by Glade Carpet & Room deodorizer.

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I am going to a little place in the country (nothing fancy, so no point in talking to the management) for a much-needed, once-a-year holiday at the end of this week. The only bedroom furniture is a very old, wooden (maybe pine, not sure) dresser. The drawers are always terribly musty-smelling; it's suffocating!

I always end up having to leave them ajar, trying to air them out (it doesn't work!), and I hate putting my clothes in there. Please help! Does anyone know how to definitely get those drawers un-mustified so I can actually use them, this year? Thanks very much in advance.

By Anna

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I like to buy decorative lavendar soap at stores like Marshalls or Ross and put these in my drawers to make them smell nice. You could also try febreeze in the drawers and let them dry for a few hours before putting your clothes in them. Febreeze in good for carpets, upholstery and bedding you could probably use it just fine in a dresser drawer too.

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I have a china cabinet that smells like something died in it. What can I use to get the odor out of the wood, without damaging the wood?

By Trish

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Sam's Club sells a product called "OdoBan" ... this will work great to remove the odor. I had an chest that wreaked of cigarette smoke and I used it straight out of the bottle to the wood and had no damage what so ever. I've recommended the to several friends and they've all sent "thank you"s.

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How do I get the musty odor out of an antique dresser?

By Jodi from Bay City, MI

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Just a starting point, but try wadding up and loosely packing black and white newspaper pages in all of the drawers and cubby holes for several days. (Don't use glossy paper pages or colored print pages.) Don't know what it is, but often this basic black on white newsprint can help absorb odors.

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Home and Garden Cleaning OdorsApril 21, 2013
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