A few months ago, I bought a fabulous dresser at our local Salvation Army. Since then, it has sat in my garage, waiting for it’s turn in the redo queue.
This week, it was its turn for a new life. I pulled out the drawers to begin wiping them down and was almost knocked over by the smell. You know – “the” smell. That thrift store smell. That dusty, musty, old combination of aromas that’s both delightful (to the avid thrifter) and scary (to the rest of the world).
So, what do you do if you have a wooden piece, such as a dresser, that has that “smell?” I have experimented with a few different options, and perhaps one of them will work for you.
Sunshine – After wiping down my piece to get off the majority of the dust and the crud, I like to sun it. Mother Nature works in mysterious ways, and direct sunshine often goes a long way in getting rid of the thrift store odor. I generally lay out a painting tarp to protect the wood from any moisture in the grass and leave it there for as long as possible. Separate the drawers from the dresser and turn the dresser on its back so that the sun reaches the inside. I was inpatient with this piece and only left it out for an afternoon, but a few days would have been ideal.
Baking Soda - Another old trick is putting baking soda inside the piece to absorb the odors, just as you would your refrigerator and freezer. I pour a small bowl full of baking soda and put it in each closed drawer. As with the sunshine, the longer you leave it inside the drawers, the better. Again, I’m incredibly impatient, so I only left the baking soda in the drawers overnight.
Pine Sol – The last trick I like to use is cleaning the inside of the piece with Pine Sol. I mix 2 gallons of water with 1/2 cup of Pine Sol and scrub the inside of the drawers and the dresser with a nylon bristled brush. Don’t use too much of the water solution, because you don’t want the wood to get too wet. Once you have it scrubbed down, stick it back out in the sun to dry.
Now, my piece is almost unsmelly (is that a word?). By the time I finish painting it and putting in drawer liners, we should be good to go.
I’ve heard of a few other tricks, such as using fresh coffee grounds in the same way as I used baking soda or placing dryer sheets in the drawers. My concern is that these would only mask the thrift store smell instead of actually getting rid of it. Thoughts?
What techniques do you use to get odors out of thrift store furniture? Please share!