How to get rid of musty smells in old furniture

Dining Room Design With Antique Furniture

Repurposing old furniture is a great way to be kind to Mother Earth and your finances at the same time. 

Like, instead of buying new storage furniture, look for an old dresser at a secondhand store or yard sale. Paint and

new knobs can give an old drawer unit new use in a bedroom, bathroom, family room or office. 

But what to do if the piece comes with a musty or funky smell that just a sachet isn't strong enough to kill? 

Ventilation will help some. Pull the drawers out and let the pieces sit in a sheltered spot outside to see whether that

will take away the smell. 

If that doesn't work, or you want a quicker solution, try making a mix of one part household bleach and three parts

water, and painting it on all unvarnished surfaces inside the dresser. Then do a sniff test. If the odor remains, rinse

the bleached surfaces with a wet sponge and let dry. Then apply a deodorizer that attacks the source of the odor.

Febreze is one option; look for others in supermarkets. 

Still smelly? Paint all the bare wood with two coats of a water-based polyurethane. This should seal in the source of

the odor and is unlikely to smell for long because it is water-based. However, keep the unit well-ventilated while

drying. Oil-based polyurethane will seal better, but it will take a lot longer for the smell to dissipate. 

-- Homes & Gardens of the Northwest staff 


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