Airing out a dresser help!

china_cat84March 3, 2010

My great grandmother recently moved into a nursing home and was unable to take her dresser due to its size. So my husband and I basically inherited it.

It's a very nice dresser - very large, with a hutch-style top with a large mirror, light, and space for knick-knack type items. The dresser is very well maintained and looks like new even though it's several years old.

The problem is that it smells - bad. Grandma had a thing for perfume and she had gradually been losing her sense of smell due to her age. The entire dresser smells horribly of "old-lady" perfume. The dresser has been sitting empty in our bedroom for about a week and now the entire room is filled with the smell. All the drawers are open and being aired out.

How can I get rid of the smell? My husband tells me that the dresser is mainly manufactured wood/particle board type stuff with hardwood veneers. My mother suggested I try cleaning it really well with Murphy's Oil Soap. I just really don't want my clothes to smell like that smell and I'm afraid if I try anything scented (such as Febreeze) it will just compete with the nasty smell and make it worse.

Any advice is welcome! Thank you in advance!

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You need to remove the smell, not add to it by trying to cover it up.
Try removing the drawers and taking them out into the sun...that may have to wait if your weather is like mine!
Try filling the whole thing with crumpled newspaper....close it up and leave it for several days...remove the newspaper and see what it smells like.
Another option is kitty litter, unused, of course...:-)...the kind with the odor eliminating green things.
And an expensive last resort is activated charcoal. Put as much as you can in an open container and leave it for several days....but I bet airing and newspaper will work.
If nothing works, a thinned down coat of shellac on every inside surface will seal the smell into the wood.
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 12:53PM
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Thanks for the advice!

The sun airing out will have to wait. We still have 2 ft of snow on the ground and it's starting to melt into a muddy, gross mess.

What about baking soda? I wonder if I put a cup of it into each drawer if it would help...

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 2:55PM
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We once bought a bedroom set for our son, strangely enough we brought it back in our van and we didn't smell the cigarette smoke smell till we got it into his bedroom.
We washed it, then we used Fabreeze(sp?), and finally we had to use a product called Deordarock(sp?).
This stuff comes in powder and pucks. We bought the pucks (about 6 or more of them). After use (I think we had in there for a week or so)you put the pucks outside to air, then they're good to go again.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 6:39PM
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It's a marketing myth that baking soda removes doesn't...
I wouldn't use fabreeze as that is just a coverup...
Don't know deodorocks...but it sounds like it's worth a try.
However, activated charcole is the product used by commercial places that have odor's tried and true. Often in filters for air and in self contained stove hoods.
Good luck...perfume is particularly difficult as it's made for the smell to last and last!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 5:49PM
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I've tried activated charcoal and volcanic rock odor eliminators in musty closets and old furniture. I found volcanic rock to work the best for the money because it can be re-activated in the sunshine.

The link below is to the Container Store, but there are several other sources on the web.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Volcanic Rock Odor Eliminator

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 1:47AM
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Thanks everyone! I will try the Volcanic Rock and let everyone knows how that works. If it doesn't, I'll have to figure something else out. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 11:50AM
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A pro painter told me that his company used to do
insurance work, and aftter smoke damage, they would use shellac on the wall studs after tearing out the drywall inside the wall cavities to hide the smoke smell.
So, if nothing else works, ...

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 12:22PM
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I use shellac to seal in musty odors, too. I had a vanity last year that smelled of perfume even after leaving it air our for several months. It was in for stripping, but I still sealed with shellac as the first coat of finish.

If you are painting, you can use either clear dewaxed shellac or BIN primer, both made by Zinsser.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 6:20PM
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sliced apples.
Seriously. I've used them in the car to remove cigarette odors. I never noticed an apple smell afterwards.
I say "remove" because when the apples were thrown out, the cigarette smell wasn't as bad.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 9:25AM
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