Rid musty odours?


I've bought very old re painted drawers stored in an attic for years. Now in my new bedroom. The smell from them is so strong

Musty feisty old smell.

Please how to I get rid of the smell for ever.

I've used baking soda in closed drawers for 7 days. No did not work. Please help.


  14 answers
  • Dianacirce70 Dianacirce70 on Apr 06, 2020

    Place bowls of fresh coffee grounds in the drawers, change it out every few days until the smell is gone

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Apr 06, 2020

    I would try sanding the insides of each drawer and then put on a coat of poly or shellac. Do this on 1 drawer and then do the sniff test. The smell may also be coming from the other inside wood surfaces.

    • Johanna Johanna on Apr 07, 2020

      Thanks Ken. Going to put in sunshine try and then give bit of sand inside it all then cedar oil for furniture then hopefully wont need a shellac coat. X

  • FrugalFamilyTimes.com FrugalFamilyTimes.com on Apr 06, 2020

    The first thing I do is put everything out in the sunshine for as long as possible. This is a great first step before chemicals etc.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Apr 06, 2020

    If possible, take the drawers outdoors on a sunny day. Leave them in the out of doors during the day for several sunny days.

  • Beth Beth on Apr 06, 2020

    Can you try putting the drawers outside in the sunshine? I've had really good luck getting rid of musty odors that way. Make sure they don't get rained on, though, and you may need to put them out a couple of days in a row. Bring them in at night, so they don't get dewy.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Apr 06, 2020

    Clean with OdoBan then seal with a primer like Kilz original.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 06, 2020


    Check for woodworm etc! Spray the inside of the drawers with Febreeze or leave mothballs in the drawers or Citronella candles. Best wishes.

  • I've heard rubbing tea bags on them and leaving coffee grounds in them for several days will help!

  • Lucky Home Today Lucky Home Today on Apr 06, 2020

    Use several small bowls of used coffee grounds and/or charcoal. Those items absorbs smells.

  • Kate Garrett Kate Garrett on Apr 06, 2020

    UV light, such as from sunshine, blacklights, or tanning beds, actually has disinfectant properties. (No, tanning beds are not advisable for treating virus exposure. Many of the doctors in my aquaintance, mostly dermatologists, want to ban tanning beds outright due to their links to skin cancer.) Placing outside in direct sunlight for hours at a time over several days is probably your best option.

    You can intensify the UV exposure by positioning mirrors, or even shiny foils like aluminum or mylar, aimed at your drawers.

    But UV isn't the only benifit of placing smelly furniture outside: there is also more air circulating.

    You can intensify the benifit of fresh air by opening, or even removing the drawers from the case furniture, to air out seperately. Weather and electrical access permitting, you can even set up an osolating fan.

    If sunshine & fresh air aren't enough, you can try Frebreez-type products. Chemically, the plurality of the things humans can smell involve a structure called a "benzene ring" (not to be confused with the chemical "benzene"). Frebreez-type products neutralize that structure before it can interact with the receptors in your nose. But, that doesn't work for everything we can smell.

    You can also try cedar oil or clove oil. While very potent, clove oil, aka oil of cloves, is sometimes used in baking or candy-making; it can often be found in specialty grocery stores or craft shops. Cedar oil, aka oil of cedar, is not safe to eat at any concentration; you may find it in a craft shop with the soap and/or candle making supplies. Both have natural anti-microbial properties which can help with the root cause while masking the odor in the meantime. Mix one or both aromatic essential oils in a furniture polish base, such as linseed or walnut oil.

    • See 1 previous
    • Kate Garrett Kate Garrett on Apr 07, 2020

      If repainting is your goal, be aware to clean everything throughly first.

      Obviously oils like walnut, linseed, clove, & cedar leave residue that will interfere with paint, but so can a heavy dose of Frebreez. Be sure to clean with a degreaser, if not a stripper, & dry completely before repainting

  • William William on Apr 07, 2020

    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.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Apr 09, 2020

    If you can, clean them after sanding. Dry in the sun. Stay well!

  • Johanna Johanna on Apr 14, 2020