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I picked up this Dorothy Draper style dresser from Craigslist last week I’m still deciding the perfect place for it. I also got a really great Campaign Chest last month but it smells like musty mothballs. Does anyone know how to get rid of the smell? I’ve tried Febreze and am currently trying charcoal.

  1. Law of Attraction

    March 1, 2010

    Vinegar and your favorite essential oil. Let it sit in a spray bottle for a day. Spray in the drawers. I would also put a bowl of baking soda in there.

  2. Gracie73

    March 1, 2010

    Maybe some drawer liners? Might be worth a try.

  3. s p i f f e e

    March 1, 2010

    if the charcoal doesn't work … fill it with crumpled newspaper and let it sit for a week. then for the residual smell, fill a spray bottle with water, add a few drops of tea tree oil, lightly spray the drawers and leave them open to dry … worth a try!

  4. robin

    March 1, 2010

    Baking Soda or Fabric Dryer sheets are another option.

  5. ty + nikki

    March 1, 2010

    Hi! I have never commented before, but found a great solution last year with a smoky smelling dresser I bought. I found this product – called Fresh Wave. The website is I just set the container in the drawers and left it closed for a few weeks and the smell was gone. Amazing! Especially considering the fact that I had tried everything else without success.

  6. theartistshouse

    March 1, 2010

    I'm a fan of cleaning it with vinegar and then letting baking soda sit inside for awhile with the doors open. The dresser is beautiful by the way.

  7. Elizabeth

    March 1, 2010

    Spray all untreated wood *very liberally* with apple cider vinegar and let it air dry for a few days. Repeat if necessary.

  8. Danae

    March 1, 2010

    I actually saw a great tip on a Rachel Ray commercial this morning. She said newspapers can be stuffed into jars or fridge drawers to absorb order. Just stuff them in and leave them for awhile. I guess this would work for the drawers too? Worth a shot for a nice cheap and green remedy!

  9. Anonymous

    March 1, 2010

    You may want to hold back on the Febreze! Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested it and found 89 air contaminants, including known neurotoxins and carcinogens, not all of which were disclosed by the manufacturer. (See

    A more natural solution suggested by one of your other readers may be a safer solution, especially with little ones around.

  10. Anonymous

    March 1, 2010

    odors from the fridge can be neutralized with coffee I think given that should work. Place a bowl of coffee beans/grounds in the drawer for 24-36 hours. Let us now what works! Gwen

  11. Caroline, No.

    March 1, 2010

    Kitty litter in the drawers!

  12. rachelshingleton

    March 1, 2010

    SHUT UP! I am so jealous. That Dorothy Draper cabinet is DIVINE. ::sigh:: Craigslist in SFO is way better than in Oklahoma City. All we get here are "dinning tables" and "gorgeous" La-Z-Boys.

    And I wish I were kidding. I'm not.

  13. Michele@Sentimental Heart

    March 1, 2010

    My sister and I have to figure out how to get that mothball smell out of our vintage clothes. Vinegar works some of the time!

  14. Whitney @ Whisker Graphics

    March 1, 2010

    When I used to sell vintage-y furniture I'd put newspapers in the drawers for a few days (and replace them if needed) then a dish of bleach. But I really like the vinegar idea people have been suggesting. Score on the dresser!

  15. Laurie Jones

    March 1, 2010

    If all else fails perhaps you could just paint the inside of the drawers? That dresser is killer, I'm totally jealous! Let us know what works for you!

  16. Lulu

    March 1, 2010

    ooh that's a great dresser!

  17. Christin

    March 1, 2010

    I love this dresser! It's inspiring me to get back on Craigslist to look for gems.

  18. simply seleta

    March 1, 2010

    Pretty! Try baking soda. Just sprinkle it in and it may very well soak up the odor.

  19. Jeanette

    March 2, 2010

    I don't know about the mothball smell but I WANT that Doroty Draper cabinet. Great find!

  20. Design Darling

    March 2, 2010

    what an awesome craigslist score! can't wait to see how it ends up 🙂

  21. Anonymous

    March 2, 2010

    Placing a cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract into each drawer works really well and quickly (a couple days). Put the cotton ball in a cup to avoid a mess.

  22. Laura

    March 2, 2010

    Maybe baking soda? That's the go-to for stinky smells in our house and it hasn't failed me yet.

  23. Tanny

    March 2, 2010

    I am actually in SF and happening to be looking for a dresser on craigslist as well. I am wondering if you have any particular tricks to finding such amazing finds?

  24. Patricia

    March 2, 2010

    Fabric dryer sheets have worked for me, too!

  25. Michelle

    March 3, 2010

    Try using cedar blocks or cedar balls. Just throw some in each of the drawers. This worked wonders on an old dresser I had that was very musty from being in a basement.

  26. Anonymous

    March 3, 2010

    I know it sounds harsh, but clorox mixed w/ water. Put in a spray bottle, spritz, wipe, spritz and let it sit for an hour. The leave the drawers open and air it out.

  27. Meg

    March 4, 2010

    Coffee grounds actually work extremely well at absorbing odors.

  28. christine

    March 5, 2010

    Beautiful dresser. Are you thinking of painting it? I saw one comment about Febreeze- I always suspected it was carcinogenic. I'm going to throw my bottle out as soon as I get home! Does anyone have any natural alternatives?

  29. jen jafarzadeh

    March 9, 2010

    there's a company Fresh-Wave that makes natural, non-toxic odor removers. I've used everything and it really works — I'd suggest their jar of crystal gels for a dresser.

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