Asked on Jan 01, 2013

The inside of my dresser draws have a bad smell.

by Irene
If I keep the drawers open just a tiny bit then they air out and the odor is gone. That is until a drawer gets closed all the way then the smell comes back. I suppose it is some chemical or other that causes the smell. Would painting the inside of the drawers with an enamel paint take care of the problem? Or is there another solution?
  12 answers
  • 3po3 3po3 on Jan 01, 2013
    Vinegar and baking soda are great at absorbing and clearing odors. I suggest putting a bowl of steaming hot vinegar in the closed drawer for a couple of days. Alternately, you could spread or sprinkle baking soda in the drawer, and leave it for a couple of days to absorb the stink.
  • The Robin's Nest The Robin's Nest on Jan 02, 2013
    baking soda may work, if the inside of the drawers are wood, sanding them down could help if there has been something spilled that has absorbed into them. It could also be a factory finish that is causing the chemical like smell. If the above 2 options don't work, then alternately painting them (priming first with a stain blocking primer) would and should definitely work, just be careful not to paint the outside areas or the lip of the drawer, as the wood could swell and then the drawers would not fit properly. It also depends on the materia and condition l of the drawers. Prime first so that they don't absorb excess paint.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 02, 2013
    you could also line a couple of the drawer sides with some red cedar closet liner. this stuff is only about 1/4 thick so it would not reduce the interior space very much.
  • Irene Irene on Jan 02, 2013
    Thank you all for your suggestions. I would like to try the Robin's Nest's suggestion. After the stain blocking primer should I paint the insides of the drawers with something? The drawers are all in good condition. The smell isn't coming from a spill or anything. I think it might be some chemical in the wood.
  • The Robin's Nest The Robin's Nest on Jan 02, 2013
    After the primer, I think any regular latex paint would work, BUT you may want to opt for a low VOC paint, maybe even a milk paint or chalk paint, which also are very low/no VOC. on second thought, that may be too much work for the inside of a drawer, since you would most likely want to /need to wax or seal over the milk/chalk type paint to minimize flaking. A good latex would work well I believe.
  • Ann Seyler Ann Seyler on May 04, 2015
    I had the same problem. I used unused coffee grounds in a coffee filter and let it sit in there for 24 hrs. A couple of tablespoons will do. Good luck
  • Carol Carol on Jun 25, 2015
    I have an antique 3-drawer chest and it had that 'old' smell. Spray painted the inside and outside of each drawer, also the interior of the case, with clear matte. Now it smells like a new chest. Easy peasy.
  • MamaSita MamaSita on Jun 26, 2015
    Fabric softener sheets
  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jul 03, 2015
    My antique steamer trunk had a musty smell that nothing fixed. I scraped and scrubbed and sanded out the old finish, aired it out in the sun, then used a sealer and a paint meant for bathrooms that prevents mold and such. I then lined the drawers with fabric after the finish was completely dry for about a week, and not one problem with odor in over ten years. The drawers were wood, in case you were wondering!
  • Wet & Forget Wet & Forget on Jul 09, 2015
    Could it possibly be a mold or mildew problem?
  • The spray paint does work - my folks did it years ago and the drawers 20 years later still don't smell.
  • Elg8139425 Elg8139425 on Jan 27, 2017

    I have the odor in my bedroom drawers and identify it as mildew. The mold

    grows on walls and furniture too. I have to keep after it with bleach. Can't

    stand to walk in the house and encounter that smell.