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Isabelbr 11-14-2011 05:38 PM

get rid of old stinky varnish
Dear all,

I need your help big time.

I have been trying to get rid of a horrible smell that comes from the unpainted wood inside an old closet. The house was built in the 1930s, but I suspect this wood closet must have been made in the 60s.

The painted part does not smell as bad, but the drawers ,which are not painted, smell terrible. It is not pet urine, mold or anything that someone left there. It is the wood itself (pine and pine plywood). I have cleaned the drawers with different products (water and vinegar, Fabreeze, Nature's Miracle, water and Lysol) but it does not come off. When I scrub, the rag or sponge turns yellow. I finally decided to put two coats of primer on it, but it seems like it smells worse.

Could it be that the old varnish is disintegrating and sending off this stink? Should I try to paint it with oil based paint? What should I do?



Brushjockey 11-14-2011 05:59 PM

You could coat them with shellac- that is well known for stopping odors. there is a great product called Universal Sealer by Zinsser that is a clear shellac.
It dries very quickly so you need to put it on and not play with it.
Should do the trick.

Matthewt1970 11-14-2011 06:38 PM

I would also recommend the shellac. That is the industry standard for locking in smoke damage & smell.

user1007 11-14-2011 06:52 PM

Might want an aspirator working with an alcohol solvent based product in a closet and adequate ventilation. Plan on leaving the closet door open for a time.

Sounds like you are smelling some sort of mildew going on. Closets are perfect territory.

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