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Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

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May of this year, we moved into a house that had had only one other family living there. My problem is that my kitchen cabinets have an odd smell. I thought it would go away once my stuff was in there, but it hasn't. Any ideas on how to get rid of the smell? I tried washing out with vinegar, but that didn't work.

By Raelene from Clarksville, TN

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Sandi [6]09/11/2010

What are the cabinets made from? Do you know the mgf.? Many particle boards out gas chemicals which can cause problems. Good luck to you.

By Melanie Jackson [1]09/06/2010

What sort of smell? If it smells like old wood, perhaps the sink flooded or something, causing the wood to smell strange.

By Marjorie C. Woodworth [82]09/05/2010

Read the Archives at the bottom of this page.

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Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

I've been in my home for almost two years. The house is about 13 years old. But there is a unpleasant odor when I open my kitchen cabinets. I have the same type of cabinets in my bathrooms, but they don't smell. Just the ones in the kitchen at the bottom and top, close to the sink area. How do I get rid of this odor?

Tam from Memphis, TN


RE: Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

You may have something behind your wall, so the smell might keep coming back. But the following recipe will really help!

To get rid of the odor take a few shallow bowls of white vinegar. Put the bowls in your cupboards with the doors shut overnight. This will take the smell away.

To keep smell away. Take an old nylon or an old T-shirt cut into squares. Fill with equal parts borax and baking soda. Tie string around. Hang these up with thumb tacks or hooks in a several places in your cupboards. This will help absorb odors. You need to change these about every month or so (when the smell comes back, just repeat the vinegar and borax/baking soda tricks)

You can also put a few cottonballs with a drop or 2 of oil of wintergreen on them in your cupboard if you are not storing open boxed foods in the cupboard (the smell can get into the boxes and affect the taste of foods). If your cupboard is used for dishes or canned goods, etc. then the oil of wintergreen smells great and is natural.

To help absorb moisture as well as odor open a box of white chalkboard chalk and place in cupboard. (These hints for removing odor also work great for the trunk of your car or in old dresser drawers!)

Try this for odors on your hands after cutting onion or garlic, or for use on a smelly cutting board, or inside plastic storage containers. Use about a half a teaspoon of dried mustard. Rub on wet hands and wash off. For plastic food containers: Put a bit into water, leave a while or overnight. For cutting board smells, sprinkle on sponge and wipe on cutting board, leave a little while, wash off well. This will make your hands and everything else smell fresh as a daisy! Note: Wash every bit of mustard off, and do not get into eyes, as this is hot! (This is the same mustard that is used with Chinese Pork with sesame seeds. The kind that opens your sinuses!)

Fish Odors: When cooking fish, fill a shallow bowl with white vinegar and place next to pan with fish. This will stop fried fish from smelling up the house! White vinegar is nature's odor remover. Amazing! (08/26/2006)

By Cyinda

RE: Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

I had a smell coming from only 2 of my kitchen cabinets, and not the others on the lower half of the cabinets. Come to find out, after pulling the floor up, which needed repair, there was a water leak, and water had seeped in slowly, and made the smell. Repairing the cabinet floor and repairing where the water leaked under it, took care of all the problem, hope this helps. (08/26/2006)

By Glinda

RE: Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

If the sink has ever leaked, the smell might be mildew and mold. If you've ever had mice, one might have died back there. I would pull everything out, grab a flashlight and do some serious detective work. (08/26/2006)

By Cheryl from MO

RE: Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

Is it possible that you have a rotten potato or onion, or a dead mouse in the back of the cabinet? (08/26/2006)

RE: Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

I have the same problem. I opened my cabinets and found mildew forming on the inside of the cabinet doors and in the back corners of the cabinets. I am going to buy Kilz and do a good cleaning and paint job. This is cheaper than buying new kitchen cabinets. (10/05/2007)

By Debbie

RE: Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

I have the same problem. We cleaned out the cabinet, full of plastic ware and nothing there. It smells like dead fish. I finally realized that my older dog has had several "accidents" right there beside the cabinet. I had cleaned it up, of course, and thought it was done. I have now decided that the urine must have been able to somehow flow beneath the cabinet and after several days had passed, the smell arrives. I'm planning to use some odor remover designed for urine, blood, etc. and pour it in the area where my dog urinated and hopefully, the odor remover will reach the same area and take away the nasty smell. (06/04/2008)

By Vicki

RE: Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

I have the same issue and have also found success by buying a large bag of charcoal and setting it beneath my sink. Smell was gone the next morning! Charcoal is great at absorbing odors. (11/21/2008)

By BD

RE: Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

I've had similar problem. Someone else mentioned charcoal. I used a product called FRIDGE IT, it's an activated carbon odor absorber that is completely unscented and works great for me. I have them in lots of cabinets and drawers around the house especially the kitchen, bathroom, and basement. Keeps the musty smell out. I usually just get these on line at the web site innofresh.com I love their service too. My order ships always very quickly. (12/02/2008)

By kengie

RE: Smell Coming From Kitchen Cabinets

We used vanilla extract on a small rag and this took out the odor for months. (01/07/2009)

By Jack

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