Well Being

Getting Rid of Musty Smell in a Drawer

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drawerI bought a 4-drawer dresser at a garage sale a few weeks ago. It's a really nice little thing, white and just the right size. I thought it was a good deal too. What I didn't realize then was that it smelled a little musty.

Though the drawer itself doesn't look old at all, the house I got it from had that “old house” smell in it. I just didn't think it would carry over to the dresser. Well, it did. I only noticed it when I got it home. We left it in the garage for several days, to air it out. I also sprinkled baking soda on the drawers to absorb some of the odor. It didn't smell quite as musty as it did in the beginning. I actually thought we'd got rid of it for good. But once we got it inside the house, I still noticed some of the musty smell.

So, just like any modern homemaker, I did my research and Googled “musty drawer”, “musty smell removal” and every other combination of such words I could think of. There are so many remedies being put forward for these things. Here are just some of them:

1. Air out and keep in bright sunshine for several days – I did half of this. I didn't do the bright sunshine bit. I'm not inclined to haul it down the stairs to do the other half. It's dang heavy, and we've already had enough trouble removing and re-installing the drawers the first time. My husband will be way less than thrilled if I ask him to do it all again. So I won't.

2. Baking soda – Sprinkle it on the drawers and leave them closed for a few days, before vacuuming thoroughly. Leave a container of baking soda in the closed drawers. I did both of these, though maybe I should have been more thorough with the sprinkling to make sure it got into the corners and crevices.

3. Wash the drawers with 10% bleach solution. This is specially important if the smell is caused by mold or mildew. I checked the drawers and there wasn't any sign of these (fingers crossed). But I still did a wipe down with bleach solution, anyway.

4. Mist with a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water. Vinegar is touted as a remedy for a number of odors (cat pee, potty-trainer misses, etc.). I did this today. I'm hoping that when I wake up tomorrow, the smell will be gone. If not, there's more in the arsenal, so read on…

5. Activated charcoal. My mom used to keep some in the refrigerator to keep it smelling fresh. I have high hopes for this, if the first 4 methods don't work.

6. Murphy's Oil Soap – A wipe down inside and out has been found to get rid of odors.

7. Apples – I've read that sliced apples, left to dry (in a container) inside a drawer will remove any smells. We'll see, though I'm concerned that it will just increase moisture inside the drawer. And what if it becomes moldy? This is something I'll try if nothing else works.

8. DampRid has a variety of products that absorb moisture and eliminate odors. I don't know how effective they are, but I'm willing to try everything to get rid of the musty smell.

9. Kitty litter – Some say this works, so say it doesn't.

10. Cedar chips – I like the smell of cedar, but I don't want to just mask the musty odor.

11. Deodorant soap left inside the drawer – See #10.

It might take some time to totally get rid of the smell, but I'm willing to wait. There's got to be something out there that will do it. Otherwise, I'm afraid that the drawer will be a feature at my own garage sale one of these days.

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Maybe you'd had success with of these methods, or a new one which you'd like to share.

image via KidsQuartersOnline

Tags: musty smell, musty odor, removing musty odor, old drawer smell, housekeeping, homemaking