How to Get a Smell Out of New Drawers

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Brand-new furniture drawers often smell like chemicals; everything from varnish to paint, stains and adhesives may be responsible for the unpleasant odors. While it takes time to remove the smells entirely, fresh air and a few natural odor-absorbing materials can get rid of a good deal of the stench.

Air Out the Furniture

Chances are, the drawers in your new furniture have been closed for a while, keeping the odors trapped inside as well. Remove the drawers entirely, if possible, and cart them outside where they can off-gas or get rid of their fumes. Air out the rest of the furniture piece as well, if possible, outside. Choose a dry, non-humid day for best results. Leave the drawers and the furniture outside for most of the day, if you can. If you're unable to take the items outdoors, air out the furniture in a small room for several days, opening all the windows and placing a portable fan in a window to draw air out of the room.

Absorb Odors

Step 1: Add an Odor-Absorbing Substance

Place a bowl of dry coffee grounds, baking soda or odor-absorbing kitty litter inside each drawer.

Step 2: Wad Up Paper to Absorb More Odor

Wad several pieces of newspaper or brown paper bags, placing at least one wad in each drawer as well. Close the drawers.

Step 3: Wait a While, Then Check the Materials

Open the drawers after several hours, sniffing both the paper wads and the odor-absorbing substance. If either material smells like chemicals, discard and replace it.

Step 4: More Fresh Air

Discard the materials in the drawers. If the drawers still smell strongly of chemicals, air them out outside for several hours or replace the odor-absorbing materials once again, leaving the materials in the drawers for several days.


  • If any chemical odor lingers, mist the inside of each drawer with equal parts water and white vinegar. Wipe the moisture away with a lint-free white cloth. Wipe the side walls in the drawer as well -- not just the bottom of the drawer.
  • Place small sachets of lavender or your favorite homemade potpourri blend in each drawer to help make the drawers smell a little better after you've deodorized them.

Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.

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