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Cleaning a Musty Antique Dresser

Category Furniture
Although antique furniture can be beautiful, it can also be tricky to clean and deodorize. This is a page about cleaning a musty antique dresser.


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November 29, 2010

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

By Jodi from Bay City, MI


November 30, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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November 29, 2010

Is cleaning a moldy dresser the same as a musty one? I already tried the coffee in the drawers. Now I have coffee smelling musty, moldy drawers. This is actually a 1950's secretary I just got and I'd really like it not to smell.


Janice from Bethel, CT


Musty Antique Dresser

I would try Oust or Febreze. (12/28/2007)

By Marty Dick

Musty Antique Dresser

If your dresser actually has mold you will have to get rid of it or it will keep coming back. Wipe it down with bleach and let it air dry. Then put some bowls of baking soda in each drawer to absorb the odor. (12/28/2007)

By joan pecsek

Musty Antique Dresser

I agree with julez2u, mother nature works wonders, but since you are living in the north you will have to deal with the scent until the weather gets nice. Simply haul the piece outside on a nice dry sunny day. You could even spray with white vinegar and let the sun work. Then you might lightly sand and put on a coat of varnish. (12/29/2007)

By Mary

Musty Antique Dresser

I use charcoal, the kind for outdoor barbecues, to remove odors from a freezer. I'm sure it would work in the dresser. Just put some briquettes in each drawer. (01/03/2008)



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December 28, 2007

I have an antique dresser with the old, old smell. I just can't live with it. Any ideas on how to remove the smell?

Sandy in Mpls.


Musty Antique Dresser

I would do one of two things, on a piece of cotton soaked in ammonia, placed on a bit of tin foil so it doesn't soak through, place it in each drawer to absorb the smells. Or you can try baking soda, sprinkle it on some tin foil (so you don't have to try to "sweep" it up. Let set for 24 hours. Good luck!! (02/11/2005)

By Diana

Musty Antique Dresser

Place little bowls of bleach in each drawer and on top. Change it after about 3 days.

If this doesn't help, I've heard cat litter takes some odors out. (02/11/2005)


By Beverly

Musty Antique Dresser

Try putting unused coffee grounds in either bowls or on newspaper in all the drawers for a day or two.

It works for truckers.

Rose (02/11/2005)

By rose

Musty Antique Dresser

I have used kitty litter (the clumping kind) to get the coffee smell out of coffee containers. It really works. Probably would work for musty smells. (02/11/2005)

By GayCarolyn

Musty Antique Dresser

Vinegar may do the trick.The vinegar smell will go away once dry, you may have to repeat a few times. Otherwise I would try using Lysol spray. You may have to spray a lot but if there is any mold spores this should kill them thus killing the smell.

If it's raw wood you could rub the interior and the exterior down with lemon or orange oil. Then once the smell is gone you may need to wipe out the drawers really well or you may have to line the drawers before inserting clothes after the smell is gone, but if you use paper that is waxy on one side, put wax side up, or use shelf liner then any oil residue left won't get on your clothes.


Just a thought. (02/11/2005)

By Barbie

Musty Antique Dresser

All the previous suggestions are really good. I have also heard that if you put crumpled up newspaper in each drawer, that will remove the smell, too. Put a lot in, not just a few clumps. (02/12/2005)

By Nativegirl

Musty Antique Dresser

I'm assuming that the dresser is solid wood since it is antique. I suggest using Murphy's Oil Soap (be sure to check a small area to determine that it will not cause damage) on the outside.

Be careful of using anything that has oil or soaks the drawers, as the residue may damage whatever you store later. I use two bars of scented soap in each of my drawers to keep the wood scent at bay.
Good luck! (02/17/2005)

By Karen

Musty Antique Dresser

Charcoal put in paper bags and inserted in the drawers should remove the smell. I have used charcoal many times for odor removal. (02/20/2005)


By meforester

Musty Antique Dresser

Go to Mother Nature. Take out the drawers and put the whole thing outside on a sunny day. Leave it out for several hours. If the odor remains when you bring it back in, try either the kitty litter or the charcoal. They both work as well. (09/19/2007)

By julez2u

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