I have recently moved into an older house. It was built in about the mid 1950s. The bottom kitchen cabinets have a terrible odor inside. The top cabinets are fine. The odor is a musty, old smell. My plastic ware has already taken on this smell. I have tried odor neutralizers from Bed, Bath and Beyond and open boxes of baking soda. I even wallpapered the shelves on the inside after cleaning them well. Help?
By DKM from Jackson, TN
Vanilla essence may be helpful. First wash with white vinegar and carb soda (bicarbonate soda). Sprinkle the carb soda on the area to be cleaned and then sprinkle the vinegar as it bubbles up. Wipe this away. You may repeat this a few times. To get the smell from your plastic ware, put it in the freezer for a few hours and then carefully let them get back to room temperature.
If it is mold, use bleach mixed 1x10 with water. Or if it is just a musty smell, crumple newspaper to entirely fill the cabinet and leave for several days. You may need to change it a couple of times to remove all the smell. Good luck.
I once had a home that had been built in 1890 and I think from the cabinet style that the existing cabinets were put in during the 1940's. At any rate, I finally gave up trying to clean or air them and took the plunge to do two coats of paint throughout the interior. Once it was completely dried, I cut those rubber-maid removable rubbery type shelf liners to fit in order to keep the shelving paint from being scratched. Anyway, that's what ended up working like a charm to get rid of the musty smell for me. ;-)
By the way, be sure to look for the source of the odor. It might be that there is a leak under the sink that is spreading under the cabinets where you cannot see.
Another thing to try is coffee grounds. It may help. I agree with Threehorses; you should look for the source of the odor. Something is causing this if the top cupboards don't smell. A longer term solution, that may be easier in the long run, might be to paint, as Deelie has suggested.