Kitchen Cabinet Odor - Tried Everything


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Old 11-08-22, 10:14 PM
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Kitchen Cabinet Odor - Tried Everything

I've got an all wood kitchen cabinet that's used exclusively for cups, plates, and bowls.
About two weeks ago we noticed a very unpleasant odor from the cabinet. The odor
is very difficult to describe. It smells something like a lumber yard after a heavy rain.

The cabinet looks completely clean. There is no staining from mold, mildew, or water
damage.

Here is a list of products I've tried:

1. All Purpose Cleaning Vinegar (Home Depot)
2. OdorBan (Home Depot)
3. OxyClean
4. Bleach
5. Baking Soda
6. Awesome - This product is an extremely potent cleaning agent. It's frequently used
in carpet machines and it will quickly emulsify heavy grease, motor oil, etc.

The other cabinets in our kitchen are not afflicted with the same odor, thank goodness!

Temporarily, we are using one of those air fresheners that's filled with a scented oil.
I don't like fragrances, but what else can we do?
 
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Old 11-09-22, 04:43 AM
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Wood cabinets can absorb certain odors, which come from the items kept in them, or from the solutions used to clean them. I don't know that you will get the odor out unless you encapsulated it (such as by applying several coats of polyurethane or lacquer).

Years ago, my old employer got some used cabinets from a vetrinarian and the cabinets to this day have very medicine/ vitamin smell to them even though the cabinets haven't been at the vet for 30+ yrs.

Could a mouse have gotten in there? Urine smells are permeating and difficult to remove.
 
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Old 11-09-22, 06:00 AM
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I have never seen wood suddenly develop an odor. I suspect there is something else in the area making the smell. I would inspect for signs of a water leak. It's also possible a mouse has died in the wall.
 
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Old 11-09-22, 05:46 PM
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I am very familiar with the plumbing in this house. There is no water leak. The odor
is not from urine or an expired mouse or bird. When I was a boy I visited lumber yards
with my father. There were always unpleasant odors hanging in the air. I remember
a kind of sour chemical smell. That's closer to the odor from this kitchen cabinet.

I'm almost certain this odor was gradually increasing for months, maybe years. It was
not strong enough to be noticed by my family.

We use a high quality liner in all our kitchen cabinets and drawers. It's a thin, slightly
spongy sheet that's cut to fit. Just to rule out the liner as the cause of this odor, it was
replaced in all cabinets and drawers.

XSleeper, I had the same thought about encapsulating the cabinet with polyurethane.
The cabinet is not small. It's big and heavy. If I just smeared on some poly stuff it would
look horrible. The entire cabinet would have to be refinished. After all that work it
wouldn't match the other cabinets.

My family discussed replacing all the kitchen cabinets. Definitely expensive, but that
would be easier than a massive sanding and refinishing of the old cabinets.

The oil based air freshener is working. We no longer smell that foul odor. It's not the
ideal solution, but for the next several months it's probably the best solution. The
fragrance from the scented oil may gradually permeate the wood and replace the
unpleasant odor.

 

Last edited by Rewinder; 11-09-22 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 11-09-22, 11:01 PM
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If I just smeared on some poly stuff it would look horrible. The entire cabinet would have to be refinished. After all that work it wouldn't match the other cabinets.
I suspect the recommendation is to top coat the interior of the cabinet!
 
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Old 11-10-22, 04:01 AM
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Ya, I'd consider apply a coat or two of poly to the inside of the cabinet. While applied neatly always looks best once the cabinet is loaded back down with dishes and stuff you won't see much of the poly. An oil base poly will do a better job of sealing the wood than it's waterbased counterpart. It will also adhere better to any existing finish.
 
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Old 11-10-22, 05:37 AM
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You only mentioned water pipes. Have you checked for roof leaks or other places water can enter? Wood usually looses scent over time so it takes something else to cause it to increase it's odor.
 
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Old 11-11-22, 08:33 AM
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I agree that this seems like a source other than the cabinet itself is likely. If you don't identify and remove that, the odor may never truly go away.
 
 

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