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How to remove smell in kitchen cabinets?

basildill
Getting Established

How to remove smell in kitchen cabinets?

Just moved into a house built in the late 90's and the kitchen cabinets have a weird smell that doesn't leave after wiping down thoroughly, airing out and leaving baking soda inside.

 

I think maybe the wood has absorbed smells over time and maybe microbes that are causing the smell - see pictures attached. Or perhaps the underside of whatever the kitchen counter is made of. 

 

Any advice on my options, if I really can't live with the smell? I was considering:

- Covering parts where the wood is exposed (as opposed to the white lining part) with contact paper to test if that makes a difference

- Painting over the exposed wood with 'Zinsser' primer sealer (but would this be bad for health if I'm storing food and plates in these cabinets?)

- At worse, replacing all the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen (including below the counters) - I really like the counters though, not sure how possible or expensive it would be to replace the cabinetry while leaving the counters in place. 

 

I was also wondering if anyone can help me identify or name the materials used for the cabinets and counter - is it 'MDF' for the cabinets?

 

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EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Smell in kitchen cabinets from 90's - what should I do?

Hello @basildill 

 

Thanks for sharing your question about your kitchen cabinets. This is a bit of a mystery seeing that you've given it a good clean and have applied baking soda, but the smell still remains. It's possible that it's coming from the benchtop or somewhere from another part of the cabinet that you can't see or reach.

 

The open shelf you currently have with no edging looks like laminated particle board. I propose having a look at an odour neutralizer such as Peerless JAL 1L Attack An Odour Indoor. It is a highly effective odour neutraliser that also contains a pleasant residual fragrance. It has the capability to fully neutralise the smell of garbage, urine, sewage, body, tobacco and cooking odours.

 

I agree with your idea of using contact sealer to cover the cabinet surfaces. Changing the cabinetry would probably be the last option. My only other suggestion is to try and leave a basket of charcoal in the cabinetry and see if that absorbs the smell.

 

Let me call on our experienced members @Dave-1 and @prettyliving and @lifestylebymari for their recommendations.

 

If you have any other questions, please let me know.

 

Eric

 

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Dave-1
Home Improvement Guru

Re: How to remove smell in kitchen cabinets?

Good Morning @basildill 

Left over scents in cabinets area are a pain. I have had them before on old laminet timber/particle board thats been painted in my kitchen. Tho it wasnt a strong scent. I used orange cleaner and then went over with Eucalyptus disinfectant the surfaces with a light scrub, leaving it damp for 30mins ish and then came back. It certainly replaced the old spice scent thatw as around lol and over the next week or so the Eucalyptus smell faded into general background smells of teh kitchen. Or I became use to it. :smile:

 

The stone bench really should have zero scent. on it. I cant imagine what would "stick" to it for a smell to attach.

 

Does the smell come from one section of the cabinetry more so? Could it be a mouse/nest underneath the cabinet? was about all I can think of. To check that you could remove the kickboard and have a look.

 

Dave

basildill
Getting Established

Re: How to remove smell in kitchen cabinets?

Thanks for your thoughtful advice, Eric and Dave!

 

Do you think painting this primer sealer on the unlaminated edges/surfaces will be safe (in terms of once it has dried, the chemical not affecting food stored in the cupboards)? I guess I could paint the primer sealer on and then apply contact paper on top to be safe. 

EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How to remove smell in kitchen cabinets?

Hello @basildill 

 

An alternative to painting is to seal the edge with Moroday 5m White Iron-on Melamine Edge. This will cover the edge and restore it to its original look. Using this method you won't have to worry about paint in your cabinetry.

 

If you need further assistance, please let us know.

 

Eric

 

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basildill
Getting Established

Re: How to remove smell in kitchen cabinets?

Ah, that looks potentially promising!

 

The current edges for some of my cupboards are actually peeling - would you recommend trying to glue them back using some sort of glue?

EricL
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How to remove smell in kitchen cabinets?

Hello @basildill 

 

If the strips are coming off, I suggest gluing it back into place using Selleys 50ml Kwik Grip Crystal Clear Contact Adhesive. It's ideal for gluing laminate back onto wood.

 

If you need further assistance, please let me know.

 

Eric

 

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