Dear Home Ec 101,
An old roommate of mine borrowed a dresser from me and used it while we lived together. After she gave it back the drawers had a musty smell that I couldn’t get rid of. If I put any clothes in the drawers they come out smelling funky and musty too. What should I do??
Funky in Fults
Would you mind opening a window? Thanks. Now that the air has cleared a little, let’s get down to fixing your little problem and get your social life back on track.
Mold and mildew love nothing more than damp and still environments. Pull all of the drawers out of the dresser and give them a good wipe down with denatured alcohol. Typically you can find denatured alcohol at hardware stores, but I have seen it at WalMart in the past. Thanks to the meth dealers the quantity you can buy is limited and I wouldn’t purchase Sudafed on the same shopping trip. (Have I ever mentioned how much I hate people who make me feel like a criminal?) Wipe all the interior surfaces with the alcohol to kill any mold or mildew spores. If your drawers are painted a mild bleach solution may do the trick.
If you don’t live in a swamp, like me, set the drawers and dresser outside in the sun for a few hours to dry thoroughly. Otherwise leave it disassembled in a dry room (not the basement) for a few days.
Give it a good sniff. Still funky?
Pick up cedar chips, the same kind used for pet bedding. Fill the drawers part way and shut them tightly. Again, give it a few days.
If your friend raised a powerful stink, you may have to resort to drastic measures. Yes, I’m afraid it’s time to break out the sandpaper and lightly sand all of the interior surfaces. After sanding, apply a thin coat of varnish to all of the sanded surfaces to seal in any remaining odor.
P.S. If you need help getting the funk out of your pants, we’ve talked about that before.
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