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Seal smell in dresser drawers?

Posted by sheesharee (My Page) on
Fri, May 25, 12 at 0:05

The other month I asked some questions regarding a dresser I bought for our nursery. I'm pleased with the look and as soon as I pick up shorter hardware screws, I'll post a finished photo as promised.

My new concern in the smell in the dresser drawers. It's a funky perfume smell. I've tried putting the drawers in the sun, baking soda, and just stuck charcoal in the other day. I'm soon due and getting a wee bit impatient to get everything in the drawers but don't want the clothes smelling like that.

I've been reading online it's possible to seal the smell in? Any experience with this? If so, what would I use? Poly?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Seal smell in dresser drawers?

Almost any water based finish or shellac will work. Water based poly will probably be the easiest for most DIYers to get/use.

Do NOT use an oil based finish, that smell will last a very long time.

RE: Seal smell in dresser drawers?

I wondered about shellac. I thought shellac was oil based...??

I was tempted to buy the spray shellac but what will that do if it gets on the paint? I'm pretty confident I can handle doing this nice and neat (I also have a respirator) but if I were to ever want to repaint the dresser, if there's shallac on the paint, would I need to strip it first?


RE: Seal smell in dresser drawers?

Shee, Minwax has a water-base spray poly that should work for you. Just spray lightly and you shouldn't have any problems. If you mess up, we won't tell!

If you have already painted the dresser on the exterior, just tape the painted part off with newspapers, garbage bags, whatever you have and spray the interior. You would definitely want to do it outside.

Here is a link that might be useful: Minwax spray poly

RE: Seal smell in dresser drawers?

I knew there was something that was spray out there. I think I was picturing those minwax ones.

I can't believe I didn't think about using newspapers around the painted part. I would much rather use a spray than brush.

A new question, if only the inside of the drawers are sealed, is it safe to assume the smell might not completely be gone since it could be in the inside and under side of the dresser? Does that make sense? Either way, it would have to be better than what it is now.

RE: Seal smell in dresser drawers?

Shellac is dissolved for use in denatured alcohol. Shellac is also used as part of the coating on many candies(M&M's, for one) as it is edible. Dissolve some shellac flakes in whisky and you could drink it with no ill effects.

Shellac has a shelf life. Very often it sits on the shelf past that time. It will not work well(if at all) when that happens.

Dewaxed shellac is a well used base coat used to prevent problems when finishing wood. Kilz and Zinsser primers are shellac based.

The water based poly spray would be your best option. BUT!!!!! Make SURE you get WATER BASED!!!!!!!!

The oil based variety will cause a much worse smell.

RE: Seal smell in dresser drawers?

Does the smell bother anyone else? If you are currently experiencing that lovely pregnancy side-effect of ultra-sensitive sense of smell, just getting the stink out of the drawers might be enough once baby comes.

RE: Seal smell in dresser drawers?

Use shellac.

Nothing else seals as well, without the possibility of other odors you may not like (even water based poly).

RE: Seal smell in dresser drawers?

Handymac - Thanks for the detailed explaination!

Fori - Honestly the smell has faded since we first brought it home. You could literally smell it standing beside the pulled out drawers. I now have to put my head inside a drawer and actually look for it. I had a super sniffer before but it's definitely more sensitive now. I'm looking forward to that going away! The few other people I had check out the smell don't find it offensive and the one person actually likes it.

Brickeyee - Would you just do the drawers or also underneath and inside the dresser?

RE: Seal smell in dresser drawers?

If you are going to seal the drawers, seal all surfaces, inside and out. And if necessary, inside the carcase too.

Clear shellac - alcohol-based - dries in a flash and the odor goes away in an hour or so.

RE: Seal smell in dresser drawers?

"If you are going to seal the drawers, seal all surfaces, inside and out. And if necessary, inside the carcase too.

Clear shellac - alcohol-based - dries in a flash and the odor goes away in an hour or so."


Shellac can even be used to seal in the smell of fire damaged wood that remains large enough to remain in use.

Repairing fire damage can be a real PITA to remove ALL the smell.

I had a customer that had removed a plaster wall and instal drywall after afire.
They failed to spray the studs with shellac though.

Withing a few months the smell was apparent again.

After removing the drywall and covering the studs and back of the other wall with shellac there was no smell even before the drywall went up.

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