How to deodorize drawer?


A mouse built it's nest in an old dresser drawer that's been in storage for several years, someone left the drawer open at some point and mice moved in, probably for a long time, it smells awful! Is there anyway to save my dresser? It was my grandmother's and I had hoped to refinish it and use it in my house again.

  15 answers
  • Scrub the drawer with a bleach solution and put it out in the sun to dry.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Apr 12, 2021

    Start with a thorough cleaning of all surfaces with OdoBan. If that doesn't get it, you can use charcoal on newspaper as an odor absorber. As a last resort, you can paint the inside with a sealing primer and then a paint that will closely match the color or do something fun with a contrast.

    • See 1 previous
    • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Apr 15, 2021

      It's a staple at my home for over 30 years. it is also a disinfectant. My husband used to drive a truck and every time he got a different one, it seemed the prior driver was a smoker. So I would wipe down the entire cab with OdoBan to get rid of the smell. It's also great to spritz in the air where you have other odors like diapers. It is also safe & non-toxic, even around pets, so I prefer it to most other products.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Apr 12, 2021 their chlorine dioxide Aqua Tabs chemically kills and removes all odors.

    You'll need to put it in a room or the storage space, so that you can fumigate the piece and leave the space for at least 4 hours.

    No plants or pets near that fumigation space.

    Chlorine Dioxide is what they used to save the mold damaged buildings post-Katrina in New Orleans.

  • Dee Dee on Apr 12, 2021

    Use bleach or Odorban to clean the drawers thoroughly. If you can set the piece out in the sun for a few days. If this does not work, seal the wood with a coating of polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer.

  • William William on Apr 12, 2021

    If nothing works you can 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.

  • Mogie Mogie on Apr 12, 2021

    Step 1

    Open all of the dresser drawers and leave open for 24 hours.

    Step 2

    Fill small bowls with 1/4 cup of baking soda. Place one small bowl inside of each drawer. Close the drawers and let sit overnight. The baking soda is a natural odor absorbent.

    Step 3

    Pour 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water into a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the inside of the drawers and leave the drawers open to air out. The vinegar will eliminate any remaining musty odor.

  • Betsy Betsy on Apr 13, 2021

    Hi Cj: Well, you don't have to leave anything open for a mouse to get in. They manage to get into anything like they are made of smoke. And, yes, they do have a mousey smell :) Here's how to get rid of it. Get a product called Odormute. You can get it online order it from Walmart. Mix it as directed and spray the area, top and bottom, pretty good, but not soaking so as not to ruin the wood. Then set the drawer in the sun and let it dry out. You may have to do it a couple of times since it's been there for a while. What you need is an enzyme eater, just cleaning it won't do, that will only mask the odor and it will come back in time. I've used this product many times with great success. Just follow the directions and you should be o.k. Odormute is made in the USA, used to be made in Michigan, but now I think it's made in Ohio.

    Good luck

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    • Betsy Betsy on Apr 15, 2021

      It works great. What you are smelling is their urine and poo. This stuff is so wonderful, I've used it for years. And, if your pet gets skunked, you can even wash them in this. It's earth friendly and even got my son's baseball pants white when the cats peed on them and I found them years later! I soaked them overnight in Odormute and then washed them. No smell, no stains. Sooooooooo happy :) Give it a try. You can get it from Walmart, but it's not in the store, but you can order it from them.

  • Fill the drawer with kitty litter to help absorb the smells. Let it sit for a week or so

  • Maura White Maura White on Apr 13, 2021

    I'd start with a box of baking soda - leave the box open to absorb odor. You could also try a charcoal "air freshener". Clean it out really good with soapy water and add some cedar chips and some essential oils.

  • CJ CJ on Apr 16, 2021

    So many possible solutions to try!

    Thank you all so very much! Hometalk folks are the best!

    UPDATE: I emptied the dresser drawers today, we had left some junk in them, two drawers had mouse nests. We removed the drawers and pulled the dresser outside in the sunlight and it was a wreck! Veneer all over the sides and bottoms of each drawer space was all falling apart and covered with mold. I hated to do it but my husband insisted we toss it on the brush pile he was burning, I consented, its gone now.

    Before he hauled it off, he helped me save the top and two little "skirts"(?) from the bottom front, those are all real wood, plus all seven drawers. I'm broken hearted over it but knew I'd never be able to repair all the damage of the dresser itself. The drawers were what I loved about it and I have them! Four of them have recessed pulls with a ring around it that reminds me of lifesaver, floatation rings, including a "rope" looking carving around them. I'm a sucker for the beachy look! I'll find something to do with the pieces but no clue what, yet. I'm sure to find inspiration from a Hometalker!

    Thank you all again for your advice, I'm sure to get that stink out with all these suggetions!

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Apr 16, 2021

    Hi! Unfortunately, I have encountered my share of stinky items. What I do is scrub it clean with a disinfectant first, outside, wearing gloves. Let it dry in the sun if possible. Next I would pull out a sander, a detail one if you have it, or a sponge sander in a couple different grits. If the bottom slides out, even better, so you can get in every nook and cranny. I often use a soft scrub brush, denture brush or toothbrush (all available at the dollar store) to get in all those spaces. After sanding, you should have some fresh wood. Unfortunately, my experience is you still need to seal it. I like Kilz or Zinnser. You can buy a clear drying sealer. I usually put three or more coats, using steel wool lightly between each coat (wipe the dust from the light sanding with a damp microfiber cloth). Once it is cleaned and sealed, you should be rid of the odor for good. Take your time, be thorough and you will be glad you made the effort!

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Apr 19, 2021

    its very hard since it permeates I to the wood