how to deal with musty drawers…
nah, not THOSE kind of drawers, I can’t help you with those. Do you have musty dresser drawers? When I repurposed the old desk into the tower of terror, the drawers were very musty due to being stored in the basement for so long.
I did what I always do when I have a problem, I asked google for a solution.
There were several suggestions, some of which I tried.
EDITED TO ADD: OdoBan is available at most stores. I’ve used it off and on for years, it’s very concentrated, a little goes a long way. I think it has a pleasant fragrance. I used the OdoBan on the kitty litter drawer when it didn’t work as well as I had hoped. It was the only drawer that wasn’t sprayed or wiped. I didn’t want to mix chemicals.
There were a few of the suggestions I didn’t try:
- Sunshine (it’s way too cold and dreary for this)
- Baking soda (I don’t have any around here)
- Activated Charcoal (none on hand)
- Apples (fresh out of apples)
Here are the items I did try:
- Kitty Litter (I placed a small tray of CLEAN litter in one of the drawers)
- Bleach solution
- Vinegar solution
- Murphy’s Oil Soap (diluted)
- Disinfecting Wipes
Below I have ranked them in numerical order of which worked best after 24 hours.
- OdoBan (made the entire room smell better)
- Bleach solution, Murphy’s Oil Soap (diluted), Vinegar solution
- Kitty Litter
- Disinfecting wipes (cleaned really well, but didn’t eliminate the smell)
Now I will rank them after 1 week.
- Murphy’s Oil Soap, Vinegar
- Kitty Litter
- Disinfecting Wipes
My #1 choice would be sunshine and airing out. I’ve used that method before and it works really well, but not during the winter months!
What have you used with success?
Hi, there! I’m Gail, the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. I’m obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believe that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again—myself included! I hope you’ll enjoy the journey and pick up a few tools along the way… literally!
After a good washing with a 50/50 water+vinegar bath, allow the wood to dry, and try spraying or painting with Zinsser shellac. Usually seals in the odors, and even seals the tannins that might bleed through when painting.
I found a steamer trunk that smelled of gasoline and car oil. I left it in the carport and liberally sprinkled baking soda in the drawers and wardrobe compartments. I also crumpled up lots of newspaper and placed them the same areas as the baking soda. I closed it all up and washed the outside with Lysol disinfectant solution. I opened the trunk a few days later and the gasoline smell was fading. I closed it for another week and it was much better. After two weeks it was odorless!!
That's awesome Rebecca! Thanks for the tips. We appreciate it.
I've just cleaned and then coated the insides with poly. Seems to seal any odour in!
You can find Odo-ban at Sam's club in the restaurant cleaning area. It is a liquid enzyme... works on many surfaces. Great sanitizer and kills e-coli and other nasty germs. It isn't a mask, it actually kills the bacteria and works wonders on musty carpets as well as wood.
Very much like Febreeze but industrial strength. Hope this helps.
Gail, coffee grounds work well too. I have an antique ice box that was horrible. I tried all of the above and the coffee grounds did well but not completly... I ended up sanding the inside lightly and sprayed odo-ban so it could penetrate the wood. It does take awhile... I now store all my smelly candles in there and it smells heavenly.
Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants
I recently found a product at Goodwill that got rid of a horrible smell for me. It was a mesh bag that looks like it's filled with charcoal. I think there is more to it than that tho. It worked within 24 hours. It was amazing! It cost about 6.00 but was sooooo worth it.
I think I've used just about everything over the years. Have not tried Odoban though. I've used scented dryer sheets with success. Sometimes, I just clean and seal the interior.
Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
these are great tips! i hate when you find a piece that is beautiful but smelly!
coffee also works...the grounds not a cup.
well first I have to say YAHOOOOOOO!!! (I'm the shabby apple winner)
We have a lot of old family furniture and I like to re-do things from yard sales and goodwill. these days I also worry a bit about bed bugs....eeek
thank you thank you!!! yippie!
heather aka "ro-grammie"
I have an old buffet that was really musty, I got the smell out with just vinegar. It took two cleanings but it's not musty at all now!
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Thanks for the great hints. I have a small box with drawers,smells bad and will try this.
What is odoban? I don't see it in the picture?? Maybe you should contact them and have a give-away?? 🙂
Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.
After washing with soap and water (Dawn dish washing detergent), I use Febreeze and find this works pretty well. No one wants musty drawers - yuk! ... Congrats to the Shabby Apple winner - what fun to get a new dress!
Tru@TRU TALES FEATS
I have used newspaper to get odors out of things. Most recently on a musty smelling suitcase. It does take a while and it's best to change the newspapers every few days, but it does seem to work some. And it's cheap! Plus, we always have an abundance from the weekly free paper we get.
What is Odoban? Never heard of it before. I have a dresser that I painted but it still has that musty smell. Where can I buy Odoban? Thanks for posting this important information.
Rose @ Confessions of a Curbshopaholic
yeah, you caught me. I have musty drawers....
And then there's the dresser in my craft room that smells really bad.
Never heard of odoban, but sounds like I should try it. Not much sunshine around here these days either!
I can't wait to try your methods and see what others have tried with success. I have an antique dresser that I just can't get the musty smell out of and it smells up the whole bedroom!