How to Remove Odor from Wood Cabinets – Instructions and FAQs

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how to remove odor from wood cabinets


Woodworking projects – like cabinets – are often used for storing odorous objects. If such things are stored for a long time, wood can absorb the smell from them. This can become an issue when the wooden cabinet needs to be used for other purposes, yet the odor from previous contents doesn’t go away. So what can you do to remove the smell from wood? Continue reading as we’ll provide detailed instructions on how to remove odor from wood cabinets.

How to Get Smells Out Of Wood Cabinets – Instructions

· Air the Cabinet Out

Airing out the wooden cabinet can help remove the odor. Open the doors of the cabinet and remove everything stored there. If the cabinet is located in the kitchen and the smell is cooking-related, you should open windows of the kitchen to air out the room as well. Turn on the ceiling fan too to promote airflow. You can also use a box fan to remove odor from inside of the wood cabinet. If the smell is musty, place a dehumidifier in the room to pull out excess moisture from the air.

· Use Charcoal and Newspaper

Another idea is to use a newspaper and charcoal as both are excellent odor absorbers. Wad up a significant amount of newspaper and fill the cabinet with charcoal briquettes and newspaper wads. Leave them in the cabinet for a week before replacing them with new newspaper and charcoal. The smell should be gone after a few weeks.   

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Last update on 2024-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

· Wash the Surface

Washing the wood cabinets inside and out with a sponge dipped in soapy water, using mild dish soap as the cleaning agent, can also help remove the odor. Keep the sponge damp – not soaking wet –, then follow with another damp cloth. Dry the cabinets using a towel and allow them to dry naturally with the drawers open. This will also help remove any residue from spilled materials inside the cabinet.

· Use Vinegar and Olive Oil

Create a solution of 24-parts white vinegar and 1-part olive oil in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle vigorously and then spray this solution into your wood cabinets. This mixture will help eliminate the pungent odors from your cabinets.

· Try Baking Soda

If the methods listed above don’t solve the problem, try other absorbent items like baking soda or coffee grounds. Make a paste of water and baking soda. Apply it in the wood cabinet, allowing it to sit for a few hours. If the cabinet is small enough to fit inside a plastic locking bag, place it into the bag with a container of baking soda to absorb odor. Leave the cabinet in the bag for two days before opening the bag up and taking a whiff to see if the smell is gone. If the odor remains, repeat the process until the smell is completely gone.


Q.1) How to remove mildew smell from wood cabinets?

  • White Vinegar

Fill white vinegar in a bucket and dip a soft, clean cloth in it. Use this cloth to wipe down your wooden cabinet. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and mold-killer, so it should help remove mildew smell from wood.

  • Natural Sunlight

If your wood cabinet smells like mold, leave it in the natural sunlight to dry. This should help remove the mildew smell from the cabinet.

  • Bleach

Put bleach in a spray bottle and sprinkle the entire cabinet inside out. Then leave your cabinet in the sunshine to dry. This would help eliminate musty odors.

  • Wipe and Clean

To eliminate the mildew smell, you can try cleaning the inside of the wood cabinets and all surfaces with a sponge dampened with any anti-fungal detergent. Then let the cabinet dry in a well-ventilated area.

Q.2) What to do if the odor doesn’t go away?

If you can’t remove odor from a wood cabinet using the techniques provided, you might want to eliminate the issue by sealing the smell into the wood. A couple of coats of de-waxed shellac should do the trick. Shellac is an excellent sealant, but it isn’t waterproof. So, make sure that the cabinet isn’t exposed to moisture. After a week or two, the odor should be completely gone.

Q.3) Can I use commercial cleaners to remove odor from wood?

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Last update on 2024-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Yes, there are several commercial cleaners available in the market (like above) – that can be used for removing odors from wood. For example, pet odors are very difficult to remove from wood. Commercial cleaners designed for this propose a good choice for pet odor. Cleaners are also effective against smoke odors.

Final Thoughts

We have provided detailed instructions on how to remove odor from wood cabinets. So if you have smelly cabinets and you want to remove pungent odor from them, use the methods we have listed above, and you should be able to get rid of the smell. The methods provided here are safe so you won’t have to worry about your wood cabinets getting damaged.

We have answered a few common questions people have about removing odors from wood cabinets, but if you have any other query, feel free to comment. We’ll be happy to address your concerns to help you out.

How to Remove Odor from Wood Cabinets

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