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Musty wood cabinet

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    • #137935
      Kate Brownrigg

      I’m looking for advice on how to reduce the old wood smell of a cabinet. It’s been closed up for quite a while and smells quite musty. I’ve been airing it out but was wondering if there’s something else that would work?


    • #137938
      Rebecca Smyrl

      Hi Kate,

      You could try using a zeolite product like this one to absorb some of the odor from the cabinet. The bag of rocks could be placed inside the cabinet, with the door closed and perhaps with a piece of paper or cloth underneath the bag as some dusty residue will escape from the rocks. I believe that the amount of time needed to reduce the odor would depend on its intensity, but you could check on it periodically to see how it’s working.

      This blog post details a conservator’s use of zeolites to eliminate odors from books that had been exposed to cigarette smoke. I also recommend taking a look at the “Air Fresheners” thread on this board from December 12-13 of last year.

      Do you intend to store collection materials in the cabinet once the smell is reduced? Depending on the type of artifact, this may not be advisable as contact with the wood and its off-gassed byproducts could be harmful.


    • #139473
      Kate Brownrigg


      Thanks for the information. This is a cabinet in my home that will be used for dishes. I’ve been trying small containers of baking soda and leaving the doors and drawers open which has helped a bit. I’ll try the product you recommended and will take a look at the thread from December.

      Thank you!

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