How do I get bad odors out of an antique chest??


I have a wooden antique chest that my grandfather made. It was stored in an old shed that had mice, etc in it and the smell from the inside of the chest is horrible! I've aired it out for weeks and scrubbed with vinegar but to no avail. I want to refinish and use this family treasure but that's not gonna happen if I can't get rid of the odor. I need help!!

  18 answers
  • Sharon Sharon on May 30, 2021

    Be careful mice urine can carry the deadly Hanta virus. Work outside with a mask on.... and I would spray with a 10% bleach solution. I would do several applications, Then you can use a pet enzyme cleaner to try to get the odor out or stick one of those Room Shockers from Biocide Laboratories in it.

  • on May 30, 2021

    Can you put it out in direct sun for a few days - that can work wonders.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on May 30, 2021

    Hello. I have seen a blogger recommended vodka.

    This resource Stinky Dresser Makeover | Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer link has a solution.

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on May 30, 2021

    you can use charcoal in a bowl and close it up in the furniture or try using vanilla extract one or two drops on a cotton ball or paper towel and shut it in the furniture as well

  • William William on May 30, 2021

    All else fails you can seal the odor in the wood with Bullseye Sealcoat.

    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.

  • Maura White Maura White on May 30, 2021

    Bleach. Sun. I like the idea of a seal coat too.

  • Em Em on May 30, 2021

    Mix a diluted bleach solution consisting of one part household bleach and nine parts water. The amount you use will vary according to the size of the dresser drawer. Dip a rag or sponge in the solution and scrub the entire drawer. Let the drawer sit damp for 15 minutes. Rinse with a rag soaked in fresh water.

    Dry the drawer. For best results, place the drawer in full sunlight for six to eight hours. The sun's ultraviolet rays have a natural sanitizing effect. Alternatively, place the drawer in front of a heater or a portable fan.

    Spray the drawer with an odor remover solution. Example products include OdorXit, Brampton's Simple Solution or MIsterMax's Anti-Icky-Poo. These solutions typically include active enzymes and bacteria or odor-locking chemicals that eliminate the odor on a cellular level.

    Apply a wood sealant or varnish. This locks in any residual mouse odors that may have been absorbed deep in the wood fibers, and also seals the wood to prevent future odors from penetrating the drawer. Varnish or sealant can be obtained at most local hardware stores where a sales associate can provide specific guidance on what to use depending on the type of wood your drawer is made of.

  • I always put coffee grounds in the furniture, it absorbs the odor. The sun will speed it up.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on May 31, 2021

    Hi! I cleaned my antique trunk by sanding and scrubbing it down to bare wood. Then I dried it in the sun. Finally, I used a sealer on it. Several years later and no more awful smell!

  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Jun 01, 2021

    Here's a post I wrote that might help

  • You can simply spray paper towel with water, then sprinkle generously baking soda on them. And layer these in the bottom of your chest, allow it to dry. You can repeat these steps up until the smell is gone.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 02, 2021

    Hello there,

    Ask a Pest control firm what they would suggest!

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jun 02, 2021

    Clean with OdoBan. After doing that, if the scent is still there you can seal the interior.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Jun 04, 2021

    To remove musty smells from old furniture, fill plastic containers with white vinegar; seal, and punch holes in lids. Put one inside each drawer or cabinet overnight to absorb odors. For extreme cases, clean interiors with a vinegar-dampened cloth

  • Here are a few ideas of how to get rid of the odors:

  • Janice Janice on Jun 05, 2021

    Sprinkle baking soda inside or place baking soda in a dish and then place in chest. Also, if you can open it and have it out in the open air for a few days/nights that will help immensely. Charcoal bbq briquettes (plain with no fire starter added) can also help absorb the odor.

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