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ANTIQUE FURNITURE RESTORATION DISCUSSION BOARD

Re: Musty odor

Posted By: roger demuth <fero@sbcglobal.net> (adsl-68-72-222-209.dsl.akrnoh.ameritech.net)
Date: 2/6/5 15:59

In Response To: Musty odor (Kristin)

Kristin, As I am sure you are aware, the musty smell is mold or mildew, either of which can be very bad for some people - especially a baby! You get rid of the smell and most likely you will be rid of the mildew or mold. I recently had this problem with two pieces I did for a customer. Both had been stored in a damp basement for a number of years. They were so damp it took two weeks of applying heat to the one dresser to dry it enough to open the drawers! Needless to say, they smelled pretty bad. On the upside though, there were some really pretty colors inside the drawers!

I have found from experience that usually the mold forms in enclosed areas - on the inside. I have heard it said that you can never kill mold but the method I use has been successful so far. I believe in the bleach method. 50/50 is just about right but I mix it in a spray bottle to apply it. Quite often the insides of drawers are not finished, so when you apply the bleach solution there is no finish to damage and it will penetrate well, killing any mold inside. The worst it will do in this case is raise the grain of the wood inside the cabinet which can be sanded smooth in no time at all.

If the mold has formed on the outside, assuming the finish is in good shape, the mold has not penetrated the wood so you just have to remove it from the surface. A good washing with trisodium phosphate (TSP) will probably take care of that. Just don't soak it or you might damage the finish.

If you are uncomfortable using bleach, I think Dep has a product out for taking care of mold. Check at Home Depot in the janitorial dept. Don't quote me on this but I think I have seen it in the store here. In any case, don't worry about using bleach. Just let the piece sit in a dry area of the house for a week or two after applying it.

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