I made the mistake of staining the inside of some drawers. It has been a month, and the drawers still seem to be outgassing the solvent. What can I do to neutralize or get rid of the odor of the stain? Will I need to varnish the drawers inside? – Douglas J. Heckler
Rob Johnstone: It could take several months or more for the smell to go away. The best way to stop it would be to apply a coat of Zinsser SealCoat™ to the drawers. It dries quickly, and should seal the majority of the odor. However, some of that smell may have infiltrated the fibers of the rest of the casework. You may still smell it for a bit.
Tim Inman: Time and airflow are your friends. Open the drawers, turn on the ceiling fans, ventilate all you can. Rob’s suggestion to seal with a fast-drying solvent release material like Zinsser’s shellac products is good. It will help a lot. You may still get a little odor, though, until the finish you applied has stabilized. My grandmother’s dresser still has drawers that smell of her potpourri balls. She passed away in 1980…I think of her every time I open one of those drawers. If you can’t take the time to eliminate the offensive odors, perhaps masking them with your own version of the Victorian potpourri sachets would be a suggestion.
Chris Marshall: If those drawers are made from solid wood, I’d topcoat the insides for sure, in order to balance the finish inside and out and help stabilize the wood. SealCoat or other shellac is great stuff. It dries in no time flat. In that regard, it beats varnish hands-down for me when I don’t want to wait around for slow, sticky dry times or bad smelling solvents to clear.