Smelly Kitchen Cabinets

Most of us have experienced opening up a kitchen cabinet and smelling that musty, old odor. Suddenly, the meal you were grabbing dishes to serve on does not seem as appetizing anymore. Although this scent may linger, there are ways to remove it from your home!

Empty Your Cabinets

The first step in removing the old smell from your cabinets is to remove everything from them. You will want to remove your dishes, bowls, and glasses, as well as any shelf liners or paper. These shelf liners may hold on to moisture or odors and can be the source of the smell coming from your cabinets.

Inspect Your Cabinets

After completely emptying your cabinets, you’ll want to inspect your cabinets to be sure that there is not mold or mildew growing in your cabinets. If moisture has been trapped in your cabinets, there is a good chance that one of the two is the source of the musty aroma. You’ll want to remove the mold by scrubbing it with very mild soap mixed with water. Make sure to wipe up any left over water to ensure you are not leaving the area wet. Moisture will only make matters worse. Wet spots in your cabinets may indicate a leak, which in this case, a plumber should be called.


Airing out your cabinets should be the first course of action. You may want to leave them open and turn on a couple of fans and open a few windows to get some air moving throughout the area. After they’ve been aired out, there are a couple of options you can choose from. Vinegar and baking soda have both been known to absorb odors, although you won’t want to mix them unless you want a mess on your hands! Leaving a bowl of vinegar in each cabinet overnight, or up to a day, can help remove the musty smell from your cabinets. You can also leave a bowl of baking soda in your cabinets to absorb odors just like you can in your refrigerator. Before placing your dishes and items back into your cabinets, you’ll want to thoroughly clean everything you store in them to assure that they are not holding onto the odor as well.

Replace The Odor

After you’ve gotten rid of the old, musty smell, why not replace it with something that you actually want to smell when you are reaching into your cabinets? Lavender oil or other essential oils with the fragrance of your choice can be very refreshing. A bowl of coffee beans can be another great choice. They will give off their relaxing scent and also absorb odors in the process.