Sickley sweet odor in used dressers I bought

bigdogloverDecember 12, 2008

I bought a pair of used Drexel bachelor's chests from a store in Georgia. They are probably from the 50's, 60's or 70's. Bought them online and had them shipped.

I love them but the drawer interiors have that sweet bad smell that clothes sometimes get when they hang too long unused in the closet. I hate that smell!

Do you think there is a product that will get this out? Otherwise I will rough up the drawer interiors with sandpaper and wipe on a coat of Bartley's gel varnish.

Thanks. Am posting this on furniture forum too.

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If it is dry in your area right now, take the draws outside and leave them in the fresh air and sunshine during the day for a few days. I would try that before doing anything more difficult.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 1:12PM
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Graywings, it is dry and sunny (and cold) out today, so out they go on to the deck! Thanks much.

Any idea what caused this odor? (Or don't I want to know?)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 1:19PM
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Oh, it could be caused by anything from perfume to cigars to who-knows-what they stored in that thing.

I recently helped my MIL start to clean out her basement, and one of the things we did was empty a dresser of lingerie, gloves and other items. We threw most everything away, but I saved a couple pairs of gloves and they have a funky sweet odor.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 4:29PM
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In the olden days women liked to use sachets and scented drawer liners. It was popular to store scented soap in drawers to delicately scent lingerie. Or tuck a perfumed scarf in the drawer with sweaters. Mothballs were used too.

The sunlight and fresh air trick will help. I've heard that storing crumpled newspapers in the drawer for a while pull out the scent. Charcoal works best.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 9:53PM
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I think sun and fresh air work best. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 12:01PM
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Thanks all, was gone all day and couldn't get a thing done, but will tackle this early next week again and let you know what worked.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 12:06AM
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I had this problem with a dresser from the 1940's. I took all the drawers out and left them in the sun all day for about a week straight. It did the trick - but it was hot summer when I did it, I don't know if it would work the same in the winter.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Mommabird, this makes me think my dressers may be older than I thought. I might have to wait for summer. I think the Texas sun and heat would definitely bake the blank out of that odor.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 7:19AM
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