Why Do My Dresser Drawers Smell Musty?

Why Do My Dresser Drawers Smell Musty?

Many people find it challenging to remove the musty smell from the dresser drawers. These drawers are an essential part of the furniture as we keep our belongings in these cabins.

Why Do My Dresser Drawers Smell Musty? Your dresser drawers can smell musty due to excess moisture and fungal growth. They stink due to chemicals present on clothes and restricted airflow. You can fix this problem by using baking soda vinegar solution or essential oils.

You can also place the drawers in the fresh air and repaint the wooden furniture to help prevent the bad odor.

Why does my dresser drawer smell musty?

Musty smell from the drawers of the dresser is a common household problem. There are various reasons for the bad odor. 


Dresser drawers are made of porous wood. In a humid environment, the porous wood can absorb moisture.

The entrapment of humidity inside the drawers can cause a stale smell. It is unpleasant and can cause damage to your clothes and other kinds of stuff.

Moisture is also transferred to the inside of a drawer by damp clothes. When the humidity is high in the atmosphere, the water droplets are entrapped in the pores of the clothes. It can make the fabric damp and even wet.

Placing these clothes in the dresser can spread a moldy smell inside the drawer. Spillage of water over the dresser surface can also make it damp.

The water droplets go inside the cabins and mix up with dirt and debris. This filthy mixture is another reason for the musty odor in the dresser.

Fungus or mold growth

Fungal or mold growth is common in dirty and damp drawers. The spores of the mold are always present in the air.

Therefore, they are carried by air to all other places. They also stick to our clothes and other things. In this way, they are carried inside a piece of furniture.

The fungal growth can cause a musty smell in the drawers. This stale odor is due to the production of different gases.

These gases are produced as a result of the metabolism of molds. These volatile organic gases produce an unpleasant moldy scent in the dresser.

Excess moisture and humidity can also enhance the reproduction of germs inside the cabinets. The presence of germs and bacteria inside the drawer can also cause a musty odor.

Chemicals transferred by clothes

Our clothes can also produce a stale smell inside the cabinets of a bedstead. In our daily life hustle, our clothes are exposed to the outside environment.

We spray different fragrances on them. Our body also produces sweat and oils that have a distinct scent. Modern synthetic fabric is oil-loving and absorbs all body oils. These fabrics can hold this oil for a long time.

The fragrances of the perfumes and the smell of body oils stick to the clothes. They start to accumulate inside the fabric and also entrap different germs.

All these factors play a role in making our clothes stinky. The smell is transferred to the dresser through our clothes. Accidental spillage of chemicals on our clothes is also a reason for the unpleasant odor on the bedstead.

Keeping these clothes in a cabinet for a long time can cause a musty odor. The different chemicals on our clothes also mix up and produce bad-smelling chemicals inside the bedstead.

Restricted airflow

The dresser drawers are usually locked and have less exposure to the outside environment. However, the poorly ventilated room can make them spread a stale smell in the surrounding.

The damaged wood of the bedstead also plays a role in it. Exposure to fresh air and sunlight is crucial to dry out the moisture and dampness inside the cabinets.

Sunrays are also essential to kill all the germs and mold inside the dresser. Proper ventilation also helps remove mold and fungus spores from the clothes and drawers. Limited exposure to the air does not allow fresh air to pass through the lockers.

There are many quick fixes to the moldy odor from the bedstead cabinets. You can choose any of them depending upon your ease and preferences. Here are some of the treatments to cure the problem.

Clean the drawers

Finding the cause of the smell is crucial before starting any treatment. To find the culprit, thoroughly examine the drawers from the inside. Then take them out from the dresser and place them on a smooth surface.

Cleaning can wipe out all the smells causing dirt and debris. Take a tiny brush and brush off all the dirt and filth from the locker.

Then turn it upside down to throw the filth outside. After this, take a bowl and make a mixture of mild soap and water. Mix liquid soap in a small quantity of water.

Take a sponge and put it in the solution. Rub the sponge gently to clean the surfaces. Then take a dry cloth to wipe out all the excess solution. Place it in the open air to dry out the water.

Use disinfectant

It is difficult to treat the problem by cleaning when the root cause of the musty smell is mold and fungus.

Try using a strong disinfectant to kill all the germs and mold spores. You can purchase any high-quality disinfectant from all kinds of microbes to disinfect the dresser.

When the musty smell is too strong, directly apply the disinfectant to the surface and inside of the cabinet. Dip a sponge and then use it around the cabinets to treat the problem.

These disinfectants are also available in the form of sprays. You can spray them on the inside and in the corners of the drawers.

Then close the locker and let the solution work. It can quickly kill all the mold-producing spores and inhibit their growth. Apply the disinfectant twice a week to get rid of the unpleasant smell.

Keep in sunlight

Sunlight consists of UV rays that can kill all kinds of germs and bacteria. It can even kill the germs that are resistant to the disinfectant.

Sunlight is also essential to dry out all the moisture from the wood. To do this, withdraw all the drawers from the dresser frame. Then place them under direct sunlight. 

Keep them for approximately 4 to 8 hours, and let the moisture dry. 

You can also place dry sheets inside the lockers to absorb all the excess moisture.

Passing fresh air through the porous wood is also helpful in getting rid of the stale odor. In addition, the dresser can intake fresh air apart from the sunlight. They both can quickly resolve the foul odor of the bedstead.

Place baking soda in the drawer

Baking soda works like magic in treating the stale smell. It is perfect for neutralizing foul odors. It is odorless but absorbs all other scents. It is a cheap and quick fix to this issue.

You can resolve the problem by simply putting it in the drawers. Count the number of drawers and take an equal number of bowls. Fill all the bowls with baking soda and place them in the drawers.

Then leave them there for up to 10 days. You can extend the duration if the smell is too strong. It will deodorize the cabinets of the dresser.

It even helps in killing the spores of mold and other germs. To do this, just sprinkle it inside the drawers and leave it there for the whole day.

You can also rub the baking soda solution on the cabinets’ inside walls. Spraying the solution is the easiest way to apply it on any surface. But be careful because it is harsh and can damage the surfaces.

Use vinegar solution

Vinegar is effective in getting rid of the musty smell. It has both antibacterial and antifungal properties.

In addition, the acetic acid present in vinegar is beneficial in killing germs and hinders the growth of fungus and mold.

To treat the musty smell, use white vinegar and mix it with water. Take equal quantities of both and mix them in a bottle.

Then spray them in the drawers and lockers of the dresser. Let it stay for some time, and wipe out the surface with a cloth. 

You can directly apply the solution with the help of a sponge and let it stay for some time. It can quickly deodorize the smell from the dresser.

Use essential oils

Essential oils cannot treat the causative agent of the musty odor. 

They can only mask the musty smell and give a fresh breath to the stinking furniture. You can use essential oils like lavender, rosemary, or orange oil.

They all spread their pleasant smell in the drawers and mask foul odors. You can spray them all around the corners to quickly mask the musty odor.

Try using it after every two days to get rid of the issue. You can use any ordinary room freshener for this purpose.

You should not use this remedy alone to fix the problem. Treat the real cause of the issue, then apply the essential oils. You can use drawer liners that spread a sweet aroma inside it.

You should take all caution to help prevent the musty smell from the drawers. For this purpose, you should be careful about the following things.

Always keep dried-up clothes inside the cabinets. Try to place clean clothes and dust off all the dirt and spores from the fabrics.

In case of damaged wood, repair the damaged surface. Apply a layer of primer and repaint the drawers to prevent the wood from causing a bad odor.

Maintain cleanliness inside the drawer and keep the dresser in sunlight at least once a month.

Avoid placing any liquid on the surface of the dresser, and do not place any liquid product inside the locker. It will help avoid the accidental spillage of liquid.

Use disinfectant and insect killer every week to keep them away from the furniture.

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