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Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

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I've inherited a chest of drawers and matching bureau from my mother. The interior and drawers stink. I'm at a loss as to what the odor is much less how to get rid of it.

The odor reminds me of Estee Lauder's Youth Dew perfume with a sharp vinegary overtone. I've tried cedar eggs, mothballs, potpourri, bleach, and fabric softener (liquid and dryer sheets).

Does anyone have any idea what might work to kill the odor? I'm handicapped and on a limited budget, so I could really use a great home remedy that is very easy to use. Thank you in advance for any suggestions!

By Susan from Brentwood, NY


Best Answers

These answers have been rated the best for this question.

By lorencarrigan03/30/2013

This works every time! Line the drawers with a couple sheets of newspaper and put 1/2 cup unused coffee grounds over the paper. Shut the drawers for a week. Voila! No more odor. I also did this with an upright freezer that had lost power and everything spoiled and therefore left an odor. I tried everything and nothing worked until the coffee trick!

By Dorothy [40]04/27/2010

Place a slice of lemon on a saucer or bicarbonate of soda in the drawer and it will absorb the odor.

By Paula Jo C. [6]10/23/2009

Put an open small bag of charcoal that you grill with in the drawers and forget about it for about a week or longer. Amazingly the charcoal will absorb the orders then throw them away. I too am disabled and know that putting them around in a smelly room will keep the air clean smelling! Good luck and keep us posted on what you end up doing.

By Sherie King10/23/2009

I know this sounds silly but it works! Pour fresh (unused) kitty litter in the drawers. Wait a few days and the odor will be gone. I used this technique to remove odors from wooden cheese boxes.

PS keep the cats away while waiting or you will have a bigger issue! Sherielu

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Ce [4]10/25/2009

Ask one of your neighbors who bar-b-q's for a few new (not burned) charcoal briquettes. Put one or two in each stinky drawers and forget about it for a week. If the drawer still stinks after a week leave the briquette for another week until the odor is gone. You can actually use the used burned charcoal briquettes to get rid of bad odors from your trash can but WAIT until the briquettes cool down.

By Janet [7]10/23/2009

I've used the sun to get rid of odors from a trunk. Just place in strong sunlight. Don't let the furniture get wet at all & check often so the finish will stay OK. I have also read that charcoal, crumbled newspapers, & cat litter help. I think it will take a long time for the odor to go. I would also try washing like a previous poster mentioned.

By paula [18]10/23/2009

I would try to polycoat the inside of the drawers if they are natural, if they are painted I would repaint them. This should "seal the odor in" as opposed trying to remove it.

By Cheryl10/22/2009

Try cleaning the inside of the drawers with Murphy's Oil Soap which leaves a nice scent behind. In a large bowl use about 1/4 to 1/2 capful of the liquid with warm water. Dip your cleaning rag in the water, wring it out and wipe away inside and out.


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Archive: Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

I have an old dresser in great condition. Except for the odor of the drawers which gets in the clothes. I've tried fabric softener sheet, potpourri pouches, etc. Any suggestions on how to eliminate odors from wooden drawers?

R. Sharp in MO

RE: Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

Have you tried baking soda? It works for getting odors out of lots of other things! (08/29/2005)

By byhisgraceandpower

RE: Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

I have a dresser that must have been a home to a cat, because I could smell cat odor every time I opened the drawers. I tried everything I could think of. One day I took the dresser outside, washed it down with baking soda, and after it dried I took a spray bottle with white vinegar and water 50/50 and sprayed it down good. I wouldn't use this on anything but REAL wood, not processed woods. Let it dry in the sun thoroughly. No more odor. (08/30/2005)

By Diamondee

RE: Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

I wonder if painting or sealing the wood would work? (08/30/2005)

By wendee

RE: Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

I would try washing the inside of the drawers with baking soda and vinegar. You could also spray the vinegar on and then wipe out. Then put the drawers out in the sun to dry. You could also use ammonia. (09/02/2005)

By acraftycat

RE: Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

Try putting coffee grounds (right from the can) in an open container or envelope and let sit in closed drawer for a while. Worked for me. (09/04/2005)

By Anna from Maine

RE: Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

I put dryer sheets in my drawer and between the clothes. After all, you want them to smell good when you take them from the dryer, why not when you take them out of your drawer as well? (08/20/2008)

By collegegirl

RE: Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

Try vanilla. I use a vanilla scented carpet spray on dog urine odors that even diluted vinegar or Zero odor couldn't eliminate. My mother used vanilla on cotton balls and placed them in a refrigerator that a chicken spoiled in (power went out). Nothing she had done until then had helped. (01/15/2009)


RE: Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

I have this problem as well. I think it could be described as a musty type odor. The dresser I have is about 45 years old.

I'm looking forward to trying some of these suggestions as the fabric softener sheet really didn't help my dresser. But since I'm in the middle of winter, I will have to wait to let anything dry in the sun. But I will try the vinegar/water spray; dry in the sun as soon as spring arrives!

The one thing that has helped me with another older dresser and I remember my Mom doing this in her dresser: Put an unwrapped Ivory soap bar in your dresser drawers, one in each. All you smell is the clean soap. =) Of course, make sure the drawers are clean first. (01/16/2009)

By Dorina

RE: Removing Odor From Dresser Drawers

To deodorize a musty dresser I took it outside on a sunny day. I then took out the drawers and sprayed a 10% bleach solution inside the drawers and on the inside of the dresser. I sprayed it twice that day and the next day it seemed fine. I have also used a cotton ball with vanilla extract on it. (01/20/2009)

By Omama

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