So you finally got that great dresser from grandma, but you also got the scent of mothballs to go with it, yuck. Or maybe you found a garage sale treasure, but it smells musty, eww. Now what do you do? Bringing a piece of furniture into your home that has less than pleasant odors will give you home the same terrible moth ball smell or musty smell as the furniture. Musty odors are generally caused by mildew. When furniture is stored in damp areas of a house such as a damp basement, then will also become mildewy and sometimes moldy. Always check for mold on furniture before you buy it, look underneath, in the back, inside drawers and especially behind the drawers.
One of the best ways to remove odors, especially musty odors that are a result of mold or mildew is to drag the piece of furniture outside on a hot, breezy, sunny day. Make sure it is not a humid day because more moisture will not help to resolve the problem. Remove drawers and open doors, allow the wind and sun to dry out the piece. This also helps to reduce the mothball smell, but not completely eliminate it.
If you can't drag the furniture outside, slide the piece over by an opened window, set a fan up to blow directly on the furniture and out the window to help air it out.
Mix 1/2 of a cup of water with 20 drops of Tea Tree essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake to mix and spray all over the piece of furniture. Tea Tree essential oil will help to kill mold and mildew spores.
Wear gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask. Make a solution of 2 cups of water and 1 cup of bleach. Wipe down all surfaces on the furniture including inside the drawers and behind the drawers. Be sure to work in a well ventilated area.
Wipe the piece of furniture down with white vinegar. White vinegar is effective at killing odor and disinfecting.
Buy wintergreen essential oil, dampen the rag with the oil and wipe down your bed, table, dresser or chest.
Rinse of several charcoal briquettes with plain water to remove the clack charcoal dust. After they have dried off, place 3 to 4 briquettes in each drawer to absorb a bad odor.
But your favorite scent of essential oil, sprinkle a few drops onto a crumpled sheet of newspaper or cotton balls, place them in drawers or behind doors. Replace the newspaper or cotton balls every 2 to 3 days until the odor is gone. Newspaper works great to absorb odor and essential oils work to replace it with a more pleasant scent. Some very effective scents are lemon, orange, cedar, sandalwood or lavender. Another alternative is to use vanilla extract in place of the essential oil.
Place dryer sheets into drawers or a small open container of clean, scented cat litter.
Save your used coffee grinds and place them in small open containers or shallow dishes. Place the coffee grinds in the drawers and behind the doors to absorb the odors.
As a last resort to remove stubborn odors or at least seal them in and hide them paint a coat of shellac over the wood.