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Musty chest of drawers

(29 Posts)
JoyBloggs Sun 15-Apr-18 09:25:03

I have a chest of drawers which must be about a hundred years old. It looks attractive, darkish wood in fairly good condition. However, it was stored for years in a damp, mouldy building and it smells a bit musty. I want to use the chest to store clothes but would like to give the drawers a good clean and hopefully get them smelling fresh. It's now completely dry and I'm keen to start using it. I have googled and looked at various treatments and am thinking of trying white vinegar, or maybe tea tree oil, but not sure I want my drawers (wooden) or my drawers (cotton) to smell of vinegar... Has anybody dealt with this problem? All suggestions much appreciated.

Situpstraight Sun 15-Apr-18 09:57:19

joy I’ll be very interested in any advice you receive as my musty furniture had to go to the tip as I was unable to get rid of the smell, in fact, I avoid auction furniture for this reason.

I was unable to smell the awful pong whilst it was in a large auction room, but in a room in the house it was certainly pungent and sadly had to go, most products I used left another smell on top of the original!

hildajenniJ Sun 15-Apr-18 10:00:22

Here's a tip I learnt from a work colleague of my DH. Buy some Lenore dryer sheets, ones with a strongish fragrance, place several sheets per drawer, perhaps 3 for a long drawer and put the chest of drawers in a warm room. The fragrance should permeate the wood. How long it takes, I don't know, but I thought it was a good idea and it's worth a try.

hildajenniJ Sun 15-Apr-18 10:09:10

Or perhaps this, from a q&a forum.
I know this sounds silly but it works! Pour fresh (unused) kitty litter in the drawers. Wait a few days and the odor will be gone. I used this technique to remove odors from wooden cheese boxes.

trisher Sun 15-Apr-18 10:09:15

You could try sprinkling bicarbonate of soda into each drawer and leave for some time. Then wipe out using cloth well wrung out in mixture of warm water and lemon juice. Lemon is a much better smell than vinegar. And of course lavender is the standard thing for perfuming drawers and clothes. Essential oil or lavender bags.

Situpstraight Sun 15-Apr-18 10:12:14

I managed to get the drawers smelling ok, it was the carcass of the thing that still had the smell

J52 Sun 15-Apr-18 10:13:37

White vinegar loses its smell quite quickly. I’d make a solution 1:5 vinegar to water and wipe down the drawers. Then leave open to completely dry. After that sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda, leave 24 hrs and then hoover out.
The dryer sheet is a good idea. I’d also get a very good quality beeswax furniture polish and finish of the chest with that, it’ll enhance the wood and smell lovely.

Teetime Sun 15-Apr-18 10:13:59

A good soaking of furniture beeswax might help - smells divine.

J52 Sun 15-Apr-18 10:16:58

Oops some cross posting! We must all have lovely smelling homes!
Re the carcass, I’d followin the same plan for the inside. It might take longer as you will have to turn the chest on each side.
I’d also use the furniture polish on the inside. It helps the drawers run smoothly.

Charleygirl Sun 15-Apr-18 10:17:50

Have you checked it for woodworm?

Jalima1108 Sun 15-Apr-18 11:13:46

You could use very well diluted tea tree oil to wash the wood but I think it could smell too strong if you want to use it for clothes afterwards.

I saw this advertised:
www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Murphy-Oil-Soap-Liquid-Wood-Furniture-Cleaner-concentrated-946ml-32oz/253137698206?epid=26011372888&hash=item3af02ebd9e:g:lq8AAOSwhxBZr7Me
Other retailers will be available, I am not trying to sell this and have no idea if it works well, but it is recommended to get rid of smells from musty wood.

As trisher said, bicarbonate of soda is very good for eliminating smells.

A good airing afterwards in fresh air if possible (the weather is supposed to get better next week) and then some scented drawer liners or cedar balls etc.

MawBroon Sun 15-Apr-18 11:36:53

At least it’s not a “Chester Draws”
🦆s behind sofa grin

Jalima1108 Sun 15-Apr-18 11:42:04

Here he is, ready with pencil in paw:

Charleygirl Sun 15-Apr-18 11:55:21

So you should Maw!

hildajenniJ Sun 15-Apr-18 12:21:44

If the carcass is smelly I would do the white vinegar and baking soda wash, and then set it outside in the sunshine (when we get any) to dry completely.
Good luck, I do hope that some of the ideas above work for you.

Squiffy Sun 15-Apr-18 12:49:45

If you do the white vinegar treatment and let it dry, it's nice to spray some lavender hydrolat ('proper' lavender water!) all round the inside of the carcass and drawers and allow that to dry. It just leaves a gentle lavender scent that isn't overwhelming. If you use eBay, you can buy the hydrolat at a very reasonable price.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

jollyg Sun 15-Apr-18 14:03:10

I tried the 'cat litter'odour eater plus bicarb, and fresh air lots, no success.

As we are moving house soon that will go to the auction rooms, having been liberally sprayed with some odour suppressant. Its a 'bastard' piece of furniture anyway.

Made with a bit of this and that and cobbled together

My poor ma really did not have a clue about furniture, and what went with what, but she tried hard

Wish you well in your endeavours

JoyBloggs Sun 15-Apr-18 14:03:36

I just popped in to see if anyone had replied to my post and am really happy to have so many suggestions for dealing with my smelly drawers! Thank you all very much for taking the trouble to respond... there are some great suggestions and I'll let you know how I get on, although it may be a week or two before I have a chance to get to work. Good old gransnet!

JoyBloggs Sun 15-Apr-18 14:06:34

Charleygirl No, there's no woodworm!

JoyBloggs Sun 15-Apr-18 14:10:41

Maw grin6

JoyBloggs Sun 15-Apr-18 14:13:03

Maw Don't know where that number '6' came from! Fat finger syndrome I guess...

Niobe Sun 15-Apr-18 15:25:34

JoyBloggs, so glad we could help you "deal with your smelly drawers"! That had me spluttering with giggles. Sorry for lowering the tone, we all know what you meant!

JoyBloggs Sun 15-Apr-18 16:17:28

Niobe grin

Jalima1108 Sun 15-Apr-18 16:27:34

but she tried hard
That's all that matters jollyg
smile

"At least she tried"

Jalima1108 Sun 15-Apr-18 16:28:03

Oh dear, what happened - I meant I hope I'm remember like that "At least she tried"