How to remove smell from used dresser drawers

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Organizing' started by Deb862, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Deb862

    Deb862 Well-Known Member

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    I'm posting this here and on the other forum as I didn't know where would be best. We recently were given some very nice older dressers from a neighbor who went into a nursing home. The only problem is that they smell! Sort of a musty, dusty smell. He never opened his windows and his house was not a pigsty or anything but the drawers smell musty, dusty, old man smell (for lack of a better description!). Not like body odor or anything. We've been letting them air out in the garage and we've vaccummed them out and washed them down entirely and disinfected and such but they still smell dusty/musty. DH thought maybe putting boxes of baking soda in the drawers and closing them up and letting them sit for a while might take the odor out but I'm not sure. I think the odor will just come back when teh baking soda is gone. Anyone have any advice?
     
  2. NEfarmgirl

    NEfarmgirl Well-Known Member

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    I was told to put them out in the sun for a day or two and that should take care of it. We had gotten a very old pie safe that was dh great grandparents and I know what you mean with the odor. We had it in the garage and took it out during the day and opened it up that did seem to help. Then when we brought it in to the house we put Bounce dryer sheets in it. It doesn't smell anymore.
     

  3. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    I second the dryer sheets.
     
  4. Deb862

    Deb862 Well-Known Member

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    Do you keep the dryer sheets in the drawers always or for a certain length of time?
     
  5. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    I'd just leave them in there. Replace them if you notice that they've lost their scent.
     
  6. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    A light coat of spray varnish on the inside of the drawers helps to keep any lingering odors to transfer to items stored in them.
     
  7. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If they smell the least bit moldy, they aren't gonna come fresh.

    DH rehabs old furniture for folks, and if it just that "old" smell, he rubs the runners with a good smelly soap, then leaves a bar in each drawer. In a few weeks all you can smell is the soap.

    For a lady, get english lavender or a strong rose smell for quick action. For a guy try irish spring if you can find it, or some other strong deodorant soap.

    Me, I like to soak cotton balls with vanilla and tuck them in drawers and closets.
     
  8. where I want to

    where I want to Well-Known Member

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    I bought an old dresser with that problem- ended up making a dilute solution of bleach and water and spraying the inside of the drawers lightly. Had to do it a couple of times but I've now had that dresser more than 25 years and the smell never came back. But that is my one and only experience. I would make sure to clean the cracks where the boards meet as best I can.
     
  9. MSMH

    MSMH MsMH

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    The man at the furniture store uses cat litter until the odor dissipates. I've heard that coffee grounds work also.
     
  10. TerriLynn

    TerriLynn Well-Known Member

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    I inherited numerous dressers from my Grandmothers house, and they all had that odor to them, musty, closed up, kind of sour smell. First I wiped everything down with a damp cloth, then put them out in yard in the sunshine (hottest part of summer works best). If they still smell wipe down with a bucket of water and bleach mixed together (2-3 TBL bleach to 1 gallon water).

    I have also used a product called ODO-BAN, that I bought at Sams Club. A gallon of concentrate is about $10.00 and it comes with a squirt bottle of product all mixed up and ready to use. (I use this for everything smelly in my house and car!) It not only de-odorizes but kills bacteria, mold, viruses, and germs. You just need to make sure that whatever you spray stays damp for 10 min, to give it time to work. I removed the drawers and sprayed them inside and outside, and also sprayed down the entire interior, and exterior of the dresser itself. I highly recommend it.

    The first dresser I got (before I had any experience getting the smells out) I needed to put to use right away and I bought 4 car air fresheners (one for each drawer) and opened the plastic bags they came in and pulled them out 1/2 way. That was enough to mask the smell until I could give them a thorough cleaning. The scent I used was vanilla.
     
  11. pinemead

    pinemead Well-Known Member

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    I have an antique chest of drawers like this. I used diluted bleach water on the entire inside of the frame, inside and outside of the drawers and left them in the sun. Did that several times, then covered the whole thing with a clear coat. I still can't use it because of the smell. It's a nice piece, so I don't want to get rid of it, but I sure would like to use it.
     
  12. meanwhile

    meanwhile Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bars of soap. We use dial soap and just leave them in the drawer for a while. Usually works.
     
  13. Deb862

    Deb862 Well-Known Member

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    Well, so far they've been airing out in the garage for about 3 weeks and I've washed them out once with Murphy's Oil soap and once with a bleach water solution. DH also sprayed them with Febreze the first week and that only lasted a short time. Man, this smell just won't go away! LOL. I want to give these to my daughter who has no dressers but don't want to with them smelling so. I'll try the bleach and water again and perhaps the soap on the runners as suggested above.
     
  14. MSMH

    MSMH MsMH

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    I received a jewelry box as a gift many years ago and I never could get the smell out. I ended up getting rid of the jewelry box. The smell must have been embedded in the original wood before the jewelry box was made.
     
  15. Mr.Hogwallop

    Mr.Hogwallop Well-Known Member

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    go to the feed store and get some hay cubes, or, a bag of alfalfa pellets.

    Spread a layer in each drawer. Close it up, and if you can, wrap it up in plastic.

    Leave it sit for a few weeks. It will smell nice and clean when you vac out the thing.
     
  16. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Take all the drawers out and wash the inside of the outter case and framework with hydrogen peroxide. Also the drawers inside and out. The whole thing has soaked up the musty oders, not just the drawers. Don't forget the back of the dresser, and the rear of any mirror.
    <>Unk