Asked on Dec 24, 2019

How can I clean a smell out of a wooden produce crate?

WilliamNatalieCheryl A


I have a wooden slated produce crate that was used for transporting cilantro, how do I get the smell out?

6 answers
  • Linda Sikut
    Linda Sikut
    on Dec 24, 2019

    Hi Recatcec.

    I would start by sprinkling baking soda over the wood and letting it sit for an hour or so to give it time to work. From there, you can try white vinegar and let the crate sit in the sun. Sometimes that's all it needs. Here's an article that has a few other ideas that you can try. Wishing you the best. ;)

  • Annie
    on Dec 24, 2019

    Cilantro smells so strong! Maybe this will work, although you may need to do it a couple of times.

    Try making a paste of one part water to three parts baking soda. Give the crate a good scrubbing and then hose it down. Hopefully that will work!

  • Janice
    on Dec 24, 2019

    Scrub the crate well with a mixture of 1:1 ratio of vinegar : water. Use a stiff brush to really get the mixture into the crate. Let air dry well. That should help considerably. If the smell lingers, add bbq briquettes wrapped in tissue paper and let set for a few days, that should complete the project of getting rid of the smell.

    • Redcatcec
      on Dec 24, 2019

      Hey Janice,

      The smell of this crate almost knocked me over when bring it home in the car, whew.

      Vinegar is a great odor controller.

  • Cheryl A
    Cheryl A
    on Dec 24, 2019

    cotton ball or balled up piece of paper towel with one to two drops of vanilla extract (imitation is fine you can get it at the dollar store) put in crate and leave for a couple days and it will remove the smell

    • Redcatcec
      on Dec 24, 2019

      Hi Cheryl,

      This is an open slatted produce crate, I could do this by enclosing it in a plastic bag. Many thanks for your help.

  • Natalie
    on Dec 24, 2019

    You could sea the smell in by spraying it with shellac. Just spray it everywhere, and a few coats of it.

    • Redcatcec
      on Dec 25, 2019

      Hi Natalie,

      Thanks for responding, that is a good idea, plans are to disassemble the crate and use the wood in another project. Shellac would do that, but have to sand the slats first.

  • William
    on Dec 26, 2019

    All else fails seal the odor in the wood.

    How to Eliminate Odors in Wood

    Your best hope for sealing in any odors is shellac. It makes an excellent barrier coat over all wood species, and it sticks to almost anything. Zinsser makes a great product for this purpose, called Bullseye SealCoat. It’s a clear dewaxed shellac that you can apply to those drawer interiors easily with a brush. It dries quickly and should help to diminish mice, mildew, musty, smoke, urine smell. And since it doesn’t contain wax, you can apply other finishes like lacquer or varnish over it — they’ll stick just fine. SealCoat is also handy to have around the shop as a general purpose wood finish and sanding sealer. So, I’m sure you’ll find other uses for what’s left of the quart you buy.

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