Cure for a musty dresser
Q. I'm in the process of refinishing a 60-year-old, three-drawer dresser. The problem I'm having is a strong musty odor from this unit. It definitely smells of grandma's old limestone basement. I've tried leaving some cedar blocks in the drawers to deodorize it. But that hasn't worked. I'm not sure I want to continue to refinish this piece if it's going to continue to smell. Any hints on how to seal up or drive away this smell?
A. Michael Dresdner: "If there is any live mildew, a wash with laundry bleach will kill it. Follow by cleaning the wood (TSP and water works well) to remove any surface dirt or growth. When the wood is dry, seal it with a coat of Zinsser SealCoat. That will lock in the odor for good, and it is compatible both over and under any finish."
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