4 Steps To Get Rid Of That Musty Smell

5 Materials
6 Hours

This dresser stinks.

It may be curvy, old, and beautiful, but it has that musty smell. The tell tale sign it’s been sitting a bit too long in someone’s basement. Let me teach you how to clean and restore both the inside and the outside of an old piece so it will last for years to come (and so you aren’t afraid to put your clothes in those drawers).

Time to get to work!

1. Vacuum

First things first to get rid of that musty smell, grab your shop vac and get rid of the dust, cobwebs, spiders, and sawdust. 

2. Spray & Wipe Clean

Next clean with White Lightning and wipe off with a paper towel. REPEAT until the towel wipes clean. 

3 & 4. Sunshine and Conditioning

After spraying and wiping, set the piece in the sun to dry. The sun helps deodorize it too.

Next up - wood conditioner and deodorizer. Big Mama’s Butta soft wax re-hydrates the wood and has a nice smell that keeps drawers smelling like roses (or oranges, or just clean wood – depending on the scent you chose). Apply a generous amount with an old rag, and rub into the wood. No more musty smell!

Bring back the luster!

I decided to sand and apply a layer of water based wood stain – Antique Oak - to the drawers. I sealed the wood with Hemp Oil. This soaks into the dry old wood and makes it come to life! 

Cleaned and Restored

The case of the dresser was painted in Dixie Belle’s Antebellum Blue – a stunning color, that I cannot get enough of and looks great with wood. New simple brass knobs finish off this piece just perfectly.

Watch the whole process as I'm doing it.

Now the inside and the outside is like a whole new dresser!

Check out my other popular YouTube DIY tutorials here. I promise to inspire you to create the home you love.

Connect with me:

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IG: @rwfurniture

where I'll offer tips and advice on home projects plus show off my new soy candle line!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Lily Schlender
    Lily Schlender
    on Nov 7, 2019

    what a beautiful finished look. i noticed spots on the underside of a drawer in one of the photos. could this be a mold issue? maybe seal the drawers with something to keep it contained? just wondering.

    • Liz
      on Oct 31, 2020

      After cleaning, rinsing and drying old furniture, I seal inside and outside the drawers with clear varnish. I also seal the back of each piece of furniture and the underside, too with varnish. It's the best way I've found to completely seal off all mold.

  • Jane
    on Nov 10, 2019

    The link to your resources for White Lightening is for a hoof cleaner. My guess is that you really used Dixie Belle White Lightening cleaner. Is that correct?

    • Nancy
      on Nov 1, 2020

      Angi, Jenni said she used 'White Lightning' and also 'Big Mama's Butter' - the White Lightning was used first. Perhaps both are Dixie Belle products. I think Hometalk links Amazon products and I have found they are quite often linked to the wrong products.

  • Kharla
    on Oct 30, 2020

    your product links are pretty confusing. Do you really mean Dixie Belle White Lightning cleaner (which is $5 and makes A LOT of cleaner) Or the linked $76 stuff which isn’t exactly a cleaner at all. The Big Mama’s Butta link is equally confusing!! 😉

Join the conversation

2 of 16 comments
  • Carolina
    on Oct 30, 2020

    What an amazing coincidence! I was doing exactly the same thing yesterday with the same piece of funiture that we had stored. I did replace the inside bottoms of the drawers but the rest, just cleaned it, sand it, restained it with two tones and voila. love it.

  • Carolina
    on Oct 30, 2020

    I do love the color you chose for the outside

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