Moldy smell in wood

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I have 3 really nice cabinets which my father made many, many years ago. I would like to repaint and fix up, however, they have an awful moldy odor which permeates everything in the drawers, and around it. It spreads, you can't see this mold, but you can sure smell it. It permeates into metals, tools, etc. It is in the garage and will be in my she-room in a back shed in the woods. yeah... I know but they are not only a memory, but useful.. Anyone have any idea how to rid it of this odor. Bleach, lysol, anything???
  22 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 28, 2015
    Try putting a bowl of white vinegar and baking soda in the cabinets.

    • Sza49263509 Sza49263509 on Jul 06, 2020

      That's wrong. If you think of chemistry soda is alkaline and vinegar is acid, so they will eliminate each other. You should never combine these two.

  • Arlene Fitzpatrick Arlene Fitzpatrick on Sep 28, 2015
    They sell products at Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. that absorb moisture - they might absorb the moldy odor also. They help in basements that get the musty smell. Also maybe cooking vanilla over charcoal - in a container, of course.

  • Barbara Null Barbara Null on Sep 28, 2015
    I will try everything I can.. thanks..

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 28, 2015
    The product arlene is called damp rid.But first barbara needs to absorb most of the moldy odor first then use the damp rid.

  • Trish Trish on Sep 28, 2015
    there is another product called mould control that works really well...spray it on every surface and then let it dry in a warm dry spot and then use kilz to seal in any left over odour and then you can paint varnish or whatever. you need to kill the mould to stop it!

  • Susan Susan on Sep 28, 2015
    I would just sprinkle baking soda inside and leave it for a couple of days.. another idea is essential oils like pine.. But the baking soda should absorb the smells!

  • Shari Shari on Sep 28, 2015
    Probably the quickest and easiest way is to spray or paint the inside of the drawers with Shellac. This is a common trick for sealing in odors that old furniture sometimes develops. If it were me, I would set the drawers in the sun for the day to help dry up any excess moisture before I coated them with the Shellac.

  • Barbara Null Barbara Null on Sep 28, 2015
    everything sounds good. This actually began in my fathers house back in the early 90s. After he passed in 96, we still have that odor and it's bad.. my son has his workbench and tools, I have these cabinets .... sooo.. been there a long time. I will do what everyone is saying.. Baking soda and vinegar then sprinkle with baking soda put it out in the sun if it ever coemes out now and will seal it with kilnz.. and try that. I have a couple other Christmas pieces that need this also.. I tried the paint thing and that didn't work. so we shall see.. Thank you so much all. Everyone here is so wonderful, and helpful... love thsi site.

  • Jonnie Hammon Jonnie Hammon on Sep 29, 2015
    I had to do something about some dressers, and armoire, that my grandfather had. We used vinegar, and lemon oil. The vinegar smell evaporates quickly, and the lemon smell is light and pleasant. My aunt didn't want her things to smell of lemon, so she poured baking soda in hers and let it sit for a couple of days, then dumped it out and scented hers with rose oil. I later went with eucalyptus oil.

  • Sherrie Sherrie on Sep 29, 2015
    I had chairs this weekend I did and they did have mold on them. It is kind of white. But any how I hosed them down. I had a hot bucket of water and TSP and scrubbed them. Rinsed and set them out to dry. I was sanding them. In a cabinet again TSP, and rinse. If you are going to paint them it is worth the effect to do some sanding because you do have mold. Also sealing them with shellac, or a primer would also work. I use shellac. It is easier and quicker and I do several coats.

  • Paula Paula on Sep 29, 2015
    Spray the wood with lemon scented amonia and leave in the sun spray the wood several times a day it takes approx 3 days but this works! Then I went to Wal Mart and bought charcoal for fish tank filter and put it in shallow dishes and closed up the dresser for a day. Smell gone!

  • Rebecca Ruge Rebecca Ruge on Sep 29, 2015
    I've heard charcoal will absorb musty smells....also crumpled newspaper. May have to change out a few times. Try wiping down with lemon juice.... .

  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Sep 29, 2015
    If it's organic, you MIGHT be able to get results with the enzyme odor-eater in the Nature's Miracle product (sold for cat urine problems, but works on a lot of organically based smells. You can't always give finished wood a good soaking & scrub, but maybe a lighter, misted application, let dry, repeat will help. Then, once you've cleaned/dried/warmed/thoroughly tried your best, I would start with a base coat of shellac. Or two. This is how I control cigar odor in armoirs, etc.,and it woks quite well.

  • Jane Jane on Sep 29, 2015
    The little house that I rent is in the forest and is full of mold. Ive tried everything and it always came back. Then I heard on a home improvement program about a product THAT WORKS!! Its a little pricey but so worth it. It actually kills the mold. Its called Concrobium. You can find it at Home Depot or Lowes. I would suggest just going to the store, have them look it up if they arent familiar with it, sorry to say some employees are too lazy to look for it. Hope it works for you...I love it!!

    • See 2 previous
    • Lil Lil on Oct 01, 2015
      @Jane peroxide kills mold

  • Pete Sakes Pete Sakes on Sep 29, 2015
    Yep, Jane is right, Concrobium. Wash the piece with soap and water, let dry, mix a solution of 25% bleach and water, scrub the piece, let dry then spray with Concrobium and let dry again. This is what a friend of mine told me that works in commercial mold removal.

  • Andrew H Andrew H on Sep 29, 2015
    get anti-fungal for dehumidifiers & mix in a spay bottle....( spray a light mist ) on wood, metal...all surfaces....etc. let dry....wipe if excess After 24 hours..

  • Sarah Tabor Sarah Tabor on Sep 29, 2015
    I refreshed an old wooden "icebox" by cutting up a lemon, an orange and an apple and putting inside for a few days. It took the odor out.

  • Cathy Cathy on Sep 30, 2015
    Sounds like some good tips. I used oxi clean to remove mold and it works wonderful. Then used lemon oil.

  • Lil Lil on Oct 01, 2015
    try spraying with peroxide and water

  • Molds and mildew cause that familiar"old" smell because they release a gas that gets into fabric, carpet,curtains and furniture. Once the smell has permeated the area it can be difficult to remove. In my view, In order to get rid of the mold growth and restore the crawl space to its original condition, you’ll need to clean out the entire crawl space. Consult a qualified professional if you have any problems or if you are not confident that you can properly remove all mold or sources of mold growth. Using a dehumidifier to keep the moisture level down will help keep musty odors down too.

  • Anne fenske Anne fenske on Oct 05, 2015
    Your best bet is to go to a hardware store and ask them they deal with it all the time. Its a spray like micro ban. Make sure when u are working on the desks with anything at all; u use a MASK... This is harmful stuff, and use good rubber gloves. The mold is toxic and apple and oranges won't get rid of it and u are going to put it in a cottage under the same conditions that cause the fungus to thrive. Kill it and then paint with Kilz.

  • Ann Crotts Ann Crotts on Oct 07, 2015
    I had some old furniture from my parents. Smell was combo of mildew & smoke. I washed all the wood with Lysol & let it sit on my covered porch for several days. Odor gone!