• If you have wood cabinets in your home, then there’s a need for proper maintenance, one of which is regular cleaning. However, sometimes, that might not be enough to prevent odd smells from creeping in. In this article, we’ll be looking at the different ways to get these smells out of your wood cabinets.

Bad smells are generally annoying, especially if you can’t just get them to go away. You must have had a couple of experiences with bad smells, be it in your toilet, or the cabinets in your kitchen. It’s even worse if the smell comes from your kitchen cabinets as it will definitely create an uncomfortable environment which you will find annoying for so many reasons. Firstly, it is not so healthy because a kitchen is where a lot of cooking activities go down and preparing your food in a smelly environment might result in different health issues; although they might not be so serious initially. For this reason, you really need to know how to get these smells out of your wood cabinets.

Most cabinets are located in the bathroom or kitchen, both of which have water activity going down in them more frequently than in any other room in the house. If there’s a leak of water in any of these rooms, it could create a healthy environment for mildew to grow comfortably. In return, you’ll have cabinet(s) with an unpleasant smell and if care is not taken, it will extend to the rest of the room, or even the house generally. It shouldn’t get to that though. To prevent this, you need to know how to get smells out of your wood cabinets no matter where they are placed in the house.

There are other several reasons why there could be smells in your cabinets and this also largely depends on where your cabinets are positioned in the house. These smells can be taken out and the steps can be as easy as just removing some things or as difficult as having to fix a plumbing tool in your space. So, if you’re looking to get your cabinets to be fresh again, let’s take you on a learning trip on how to get smells out of your wood cabinets.


The first thing you need to know about these smells is that they are always caused by something. Once you are able to stop the cause from the source, then you can then proceed to get them out of your cabinet completely. The most important thing is to get these smells out of your wood cabinets and below are the necessary steps to take to remove odor from your wood cabinets;


This is the first and most important step because eradicating the smell from the source is a more lasting solution than just making the smell go away without checking where it came from in the first place. Most times, the smell is caused by water leakage or oil debris from your stovetop falling into the cabinets. And in cases where the house is not properly fumigated, it might be that some roaches have died in the cabinets. Whatever the case may be, never make the mistake of just making the smell go away on the surface. It will be for a while but it’s only a matter of time before it starts creeping in again if you do not get the smell out from the source.


After you must have discovered the main source of the smell, the next thing is to clear out your cabinets. Take out the items stored in the cabinet and if you have food items in there, make sure you check them out well to see if they haven’t been contaminated by the initial cause of the smell. If they have, this might contribute more to the intensity of the smell in the cabinet. For the items that are not edible, make sure you clean them thoroughly to also make them free of the smell.


Letting in fresh air is as important as every other step you need to take to get odd smells out of your cabinet. After clearing your cabinets and taking off all the items, you’ll have to leave it for a while to allow the bad air to escape and fresh air come in. If the handles of your wood cabinet are movable and water leakage is the initial cause of the unwanted smell, you might have to take them out and set them on a dry surface so the sun can take off the damp particles. This is also a great way for fresh air to fill the cabinets up, leaving you with little to do to ensure the smell goes away completely and is replaced with something fresh.


Cleaning every surface of the cabinets is also very important. It is advisable to clean with disinfectants to make sure you’re not allowing any element that might cause your cabinets to start giving out odd smells to remain in and around them. The process of thoroughly getting smells out of your cabinets is a delicate one and if one step is not properly executed, you might just realize the smell is creeping back after a couple of days; even hours in some cases.


This should be the last resort and it’s mostly the next step to take after you must have tried anything and everything possible and the smell isn’t going away. Sometimes, water leak might be the main cause of the smell and this definitely requires a professional touch because it’s a problem from the plumbing tools in your kitchen or bathroom. In this case, the best decision might be to get a professional involved.


Cleaning your cabinets when they smell musty is very important and there are so many recommended options you can use for this purpose. These options have proved to be highly effective over time and a lot of people have resorted to them. Below are some of the best things to use when it’s time to clean your cabinets to make them free of unwanted smells

NOTE: With safety in mind, it is highly recommended that you wear protective gears (gloves and masks) when using some of these options. Do not also forget to prioritize proper ventilation by leaving your windows open when you’re cleaning the cabinets.


This is one of the most effective, yet inexpensive ways to clean your kitchen cabinets and free them of unwanted smells. Without doubts, cider vinegar is widely known for being a versatile cleaning element and the fact that it has survived so many decades is enough proof that it is really effective. So, to clean your cabinets, you might need to get a bottle of vinegar as it has proved to be a very effective cleaning agent. It does more than just combating odors too. You can also use it to disinfect germs, which is also one of the things you need to pay attention to when cleaning your cabinets.

A bottle of vinegar sitting in your cabinet for a while will do the simple trick! This method is highly effective but if after you do this, the annoying smells do not go away, you might have to combine it with baking soda. Both vinegar and baking soda have proved to be a perfect combination for cleaning. Just mix the two together to make a cleaning paste and apply it in your cabinet. After this, wipe your cabinet clean with water and a towel to clean off the paste and any residue left in the cabinet.


Another thing you can opt for when cleaning your cabinets is the combination of alcohol and mineral oil. This comes in handy when the natural methods are not enough to make the smell go away. A lot of people prefer this method because it works very fast and will also prevent your wood cabinets from future unwanted smells.

Once you get these two elements, add a pint of mineral oil to a cup that is halfway filled with rubbing alcohol. Get a towel and use this mixture to clean every part of your wood cabinets and watch the magic unfold!


Odor absorbers have been very effective when it’s time to get unwanted smells out of wood cabinets and drawers. Things like baking soda, lavender, and mint among many others will get the job done for you. Just find the right combination of these odor absorbers and place it behind your cabinet doors. The sweet scent coming out of this mixture is strong enough to take out any foul smells.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I make my kitchen cabinets smell better?

Every method we’ve listed in this article is super effective and will get the job done for you cleanly. If you’re using odor absorbers, it’s just a matter of getting the right combination of the elements. Vinegar is also a very strong option. Once you place it behind your wood cabinets, it’ll draw the odd smells and fill the cabinets with its strong, sweet scent.

2. What is the best thing to absorb odors?

Scented sachets, baking soda, dried lavender, flavored herb, geranium flowers, and cedar wood chips among many others are some of the best odor absorbers to use in getting rid of bad smells.

Final thoughts

Nobody likes bad odor in the house; it can make the atmosphere very uncomfortable and dull. It’s even more annoying if the smell sticks around for much longer than you expect.  The steps we’ve discussed in this article can help you get rid of these bad smells from your cabinets. Additionally, these steps are very simple and safe to use. Just ensure that you’re fully protected when making use of some of these methods and make sure the room where the cabinets are positioned has enough ventilation.