Removing a Musty Smell from an Antique Trunk?

My Granny traveled by wagon with her family from west Texas near Odessa to Weatherford, Texas. Mother was about 2 years of age when Granny and Mr. Hunter loaded a big trunk and started off on a new beginning. They must have had a full load because there were 3 boys along with a minimum of items to set up housekeeping.


When Granny came to live with us due to a bad heart she brought her trunk and later when my immediate family moved to Oklahoma and Arkansas they brought Granny's trunk along. My mother tried to take care of it after Granny died. When my mother was about the age I am now (74) she gave it to me for safekeeping.

Now I've got to find somebody who knows what to do. It is musty, but not water damaged. Please direct me to somebody in southwest Missouri or northern Arkansas. Thank you.


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November 21, 20112 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try soaking some newspaper in full strength vinegar, then setting the soaked newspaper in a bowl in the trunk. Close the lid and leave it for a few days-this should remove the odor.


I learned to do this back in the 70s when I was selling Tupperware. I've used it for antique trunks, suitcases, and all sorts of other containers, it really works.

Please make sure you write down the trunk's wonderful history and put it inside once the musty odor is gone. What a treasure that is!

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November 21, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

Spray it with Lysol and leave it in the sun for a day. Turn it so that all sides get some of the sun as the day goes on. When you bring it inside, leave it open for a few days. When you close it, place a bar of soap in it. Keep it in a dry part of the house, not the basement or attic.

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November 23, 20110 found this helpful

I live in the south and everything wood gets that musty odor and if you will take some charcoal like you barbaque with and place 8 or l0 in the trunk to absorb the musty smell and sprinkle some nice smelling powder in it it should be fine. I have 2 trunks I store sewing material in on the carport and no smell.

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December 28, 20170 found this helpful

I have 3 trunks that I got rid of the musty odor by painting the inside. Odor gone. To make them more attractive I covered the inside with wallpaper but this was just for decor and had nothing to do with covering or removing musty odor. Learned this from a man that owned rental properties in NH.


Told me to paint the floor in a house we bought that dogs had p'd on the carpet. Pulled up the carpet and painted the plywood underneath with oops paint from the hardware store. Saved us a lot of money and taught me a trick that I have used for years.

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December 26, 20180 found this helpful

I have several old trunks + removed the musty odor by painting the inside. Works like a charm - no odor and hasn't returned in over 20 years.

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