A kitchen pantry is not exempt from bad smells. On the contrary, even if perishables were not left to spoil on shelves, it can still end up smelling stale. Musty odors can come from a number of sources, but if the cabinet is otherwise clean and dry, steps can be taken to solve the problem. Use these easy ways to get rid of the odor. You can easily keep it from coming back, even after refilling it with food.
Remove Everything from the Shelves
When trying to get rid of a stale smell in a kitchen pantry, do not try to determine the source of the odor without removing everything first. It might be an old package of crackers, or it could be a long forgotten box of cookies. Either way, everything must come out. Sweep away the crumbs, and remove all shelf liners that are not connected to shelving. A stale smell can resonate from crumbs underneath liners. If anything perishable is left behind, the odor will remain.
Clean and Polish the Shelves and Doors with Natural Citrus Oil
Next, clean and polish the wooden shelves and cabinet doors with natural citrus oil. A little goes a long way, and a small amount is all that is needed to clean and condition the wood. A microfiber cloth will work better than any other type of material. It will absorb the citrus oil, and it will work to lock in dust other small particles that do not belong. If it was never washed and dried with other fabrics, it will also provide a lint-free shine. The pantry will have a clean fresh citrus scent, but to keep it from transferring to permeable containers, it is important to either seal everything or neutralize the smell.
Place Wads of Newspaper on the Shelves to Neutralize the Stale Smell
Newsprint is highly absorbent, and it works exceptionally well to absorb unwanted odors. If the stale smell is still there, or if you do not want a lingering citrus scent, fill the pantry with sheets of black and white newspaper that have been loosely wadded into balls. Close the doors, and do not remove the newsprint for at least 24 hours. The pantry will be clean, and it should no longer smell like anything.
Source: Professional Cleaning Experience