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Forum topic by handystanley posted 11-10-2011 06:41 PM 1460 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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169 posts in 2425 days

11-10-2011 06:41 PM

We inherited a lovely high boy dresser from my wife’s grandmother. The issue is that the drawers have this real bad musky / mothball smell to them. Although I am going to set them out in the sun, I was wondering if any of you have any tips that might help me get the smell out.


-- "Projects beget projects and projects beget the need to buy new tools and that is what the cycle of life is all about." Stan Pearse, Novato, CA

8 replies so far

View sarahss's profile


258 posts in 2161 days

#1 posted 11-10-2011 06:50 PM

shellac is supposed to hide/mask odors. Would you consider putting a coating the inside of the drawers?

View crank49's profile


3987 posts in 2483 days

#2 posted 11-10-2011 07:01 PM

Ozone treatment will neutralize odors. That’s how companies like Clean-Pro get the smoke or mildew smell out of personal belongings after a fire or flood.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View handystanley's profile


169 posts in 2425 days

#3 posted 11-10-2011 08:04 PM

@sarahiss: Actually as I was putting the drawers outside in the sun – I had the same thought of coating the inside of the drawers…I just did not know with what. Thanks.

-- "Projects beget projects and projects beget the need to buy new tools and that is what the cycle of life is all about." Stan Pearse, Novato, CA

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 1999 days

#4 posted 11-10-2011 08:08 PM

A little trick I learned from a wardrobe artist that works in the movies. Buy a bottle of cheap vodka and a spray bottle. Fill spray bottle with vodka, spray lightly into drawers.

Might take two applications, but the smell will be gone.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4495 posts in 3472 days

#5 posted 11-10-2011 08:54 PM

Yeah, and you can apply the remaining vodka to the inside of the restorer too. (smiley face).
I use shellac like Zinsser Seal Coat. Easy, quick, and effective.
See there. Two tips for the price of one.


View HerbC's profile


1610 posts in 2371 days

#6 posted 11-10-2011 11:26 PM

I wouldn’t leave them in the sun very long. Doing so may lead to rapid changes in the moisture content of the wood and may result in warping of the various parts that make up the drawers…

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2481 days

#7 posted 11-10-2011 11:50 PM

There was a similar query on a cedar chest a couple of weeks ago

View Lotidus's profile


110 posts in 2185 days

#8 posted 11-11-2011 10:21 AM

I have to agree with HerbC. Exposing the drawers to the elements could be bad for the structure of an old piece of furniture. Finishing them with shellac would be a good idea. If grandma was using moth ball or if the smell is that strong you may want to check if the odor saturated the interiior of the piece also.

-- Lotidus

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