How do I get rid of the musty smell in furniture?


I purchased a jewelry armoire that I really love but it has a musty, moldy smell permeating the entire piece. It is too late to return it now. I have tried Febreeze and vinegar and neither have helped. The drawers are lined with fabric (not removable).

  10 answers
  • Gk Gk on Dec 19, 2019

    Here's a few ideas you may not have tried yet Karen!

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Dec 19, 2019

    Hello. I’ve always use Lysol spray and sunlight on used furniture and vintage suitcases. But I’ve seen a blogger mention using cheap vodka in a spray bottle which maybe a more efficient solution.

    I hope this helps!

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

  • Nan W. Nan W. on Dec 19, 2019

    Karen: my daughter had very good luck with Lysol in the sunshine

  • 48017673 48017673 on Dec 19, 2019

    Put a container of baking soda in a bowl and shut the drawers.

  • Janice Janice on Dec 19, 2019

    Place a few chocoal bbq briquettes in various areas in the jewelry chest. Also you might try sprinkling baking soda in areas and let that absorb odors, then clean well.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Dec 19, 2019

    Something I use to absorb musty odors is a bag of bamboo charcoal. You can "recharge " it once a month in the sun. I use Moso bags, but, there are dozens of brands.

  • Melissa Swan Melissa Swan on Dec 19, 2019

    I had this same problem once and it seemed nothing I tried would help. Then one morning I was drinking a cup of rich dark aromatic coffee and ...eureka! It dawned on me! Coffee could be the answer to my problem. I poured unused dry coffee grounds in as many baggies as there were drawers. I left the baggies open and just set one in each drawer. I waited a good week before I opened the first drawer, and...yea and yippee! The musty smell was gone. The good news is that three years later it's still gone.

  • Tinyshoes Tinyshoes on Dec 19, 2019

    I have put bath powder in drawers Karen. I then put tissue paper over it and it leaves a nice fragrance on them.

  • William William on Dec 19, 2019

    All else fails you can seal the odor in the wood with shellac. Baking soda on the fabric.

    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.

  • I use Shellac in the spray can! Two light coats and normally the smell is gone!