How To Keep Clothes Smelling Fresh In Drawers And Closets

How To Keep Clothes Smelling Fresh In Drawers And Closets?

When it comes to maintaining fresh-smelling clothes in drawers and closets, there are several factors to consider. Even after thoroughly washing and drying your garments, they may still come out of storage with a slight musty odor. This can be caused by the lack of air circulation in small, enclosed spaces like closets. To combat this issue, there are various solutions you can implement.

Firstly, it is crucial to ensure that your clothes are completely dry before storing them. Dampness can contribute to unwanted smells. Additionally, you can utilize dryer sheets, baking soda, potpourri, essential oils, cedar wood hangers, soap bars, and fabric softener to keep your clothes smelling lovely and fresh. These options not only add a pleasant scent but also help absorb any odors that may be present.

In addition to these measures, it is advisable to keep your clothes hamper and shoes separate from your stored garments to prevent the introduction of unpleasant smells. By taking these precautions, you can maintain the freshness of your clothes and extend their lifespan.

In summary, closets and drawers, being confined spaces, often lack adequate air circulation and can develop undesirable odors. However, by employing the aforementioned techniques and paying attention to proper storage practices, you can ensure that your clothes remain pleasantly scented and free from unpleasant smells.

Why Do Closets Smell Bad?

Clothing often ends up crammed into every nook and cranny of closets and drawers, creating tight spaces that are rarely ventilated. Consequently, these confined areas can become breeding grounds for unpleasant odors.

Having a clear understanding of the root causes will greatly assist in effectively eliminating these foul odors.

There are several factors that contribute to a malodorous closet. Let’s delve into the top four culprits:

  • Mold and mildew growth: Excessive moisture can lead to the development of mold and mildew, resulting in a musty smell permeating your wardrobe.
  • Damp clothing: Leaving wet or damp clothes in the closet can create an environment conducive to the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
  • Odorous footwear: Storing shoes in close proximity to your clothing can transfer unwanted smells, adding to the overall unpleasantness of your closet.
  • Foul-smelling garments: Neglecting to wash or properly store dirty clothes can contribute to persistent odors within your closet.

By addressing these issues systematically, you can restore freshness to your closet and ensure a more pleasant clothing storage experience.

Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are common culprits behind unpleasant odors in closets and drawers. These foul smells often arise from the presence of damp clothes stored in these areas. To prevent this issue, it is advisable to avoid placing wet towels or clothes in hampers located within your closet. Instead, store your hamper in the bathroom or another suitable location. Failure to do so may result in the growth of mold or mildew in your closet.

Here are some signs that indicate the presence of mold or mildew in your closet:

  1. Green stains, brown stains, or yellow stains on your clothes.
  2. Bubbling or uneven texture on the walls of your closet.
  3. Black or brown spots on the walls of your closet.
  4. A chemical smell emanating from the closet.
  5. A dank or musty smell on your clothes or in the closet.

It is important to be mindful of these signs as they can help you identify and address any mold or mildew issues in your closet promptly.

Damp Clothes

To ensure optimal clothing storage, it is important to thoroughly dry your clothes before placing them in the closet or storage drawer. If possible, consider air-drying them in the sun to maximize freshness. 

Avoid hanging damp clothes in the closet or folding damp clothes in your drawers, as this can lead to musty odors and promote the growth of mold and mildew. Therefore, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to keep your clothes dry and prevent potential damage.

Odorous footwear

One way to prevent your shoes from contributing to the overall smell of your closet is by storing them outside the closet, such as on a shoe rack or shelf. Additionally, consider using shoe deodorizers, such as cedar balls or activated charcoal, to absorb any odors. 

Another helpful practice is to rotate your shoes and not wear the same pair every day, allowing them time to air out and reduce any lingering smells. Taking these steps will help maintain a fresh and pleasant environment in your closet and prevent your clothes from picking up unwanted odors.

Foul-smelling garments

If your clothes are coming out of the washer with an unpleasant odor, it might indicate that your washing machine requires maintenance. To deodorize your washing machine effectively, follow these steps:

  1. In the detergent drawer, mix ¼ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of water.
  2. Pour 2 cups of white wine vinegar into the machine’s drum.
  3. Run a full cycle on the warm setting.

By following these instructions, you can eliminate any unwanted smells and keep your washing machine fresh and clean.

How to Keep Clothes Smelling Fresh in Drawers and Closets – 9 Easy Tips

Understanding the primary causes of unpleasant smells in closets and drawers is crucial. In the following sections, we will explore effective methods to maintain the freshness and cleanliness of your stored clothes. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that your garments remain odor-free and in optimal condition.

Make Sure There Isn’t Any Mildew or Mold

Before proceeding, it is crucial to ensure that there is no presence of mold or mildew in your closet or drawers. In the case where mold or mildew is detected, you can take immediate action by combining two caps of household bleach with hot water in a spray bottle.

To commence the cleaning process, start by removing all the clothes from the affected area. Thoroughly spray the carpets, walls, ceiling, and the surrounding areas of the drawers with the bleach solution. Once sprayed, carefully wipe away any visible mold or mildew that lifts off after the application.

Clean and Vacuum

It is recommended to perform a thorough cleaning of your closet and drawers at least twice a year. Begin by removing all the clothes from the closet and drawers, ensuring to vacuum and clean every surface. 

Additionally, remember to wipe the rods, dust the shelves, polish any wooden surfaces, and wash any shoes, bags, or extra items that may have accumulated dust. By following these steps, you will be amazed by the marked improvement in the cleanliness and aroma of your closet.


It might be time to declutter your closet if it’s overflowing (you can donate any items that you haven’t worn in a while but are still in good condition). You need room in your wardrobe for air to flow. Learn how to quickly declutter your closet.

Reduce the amount of stuff hanging and resting in your closet and drawers to prevent stale air from building up and starting to smell. Make sure there’s adequate space between items for air to flow. To aid in air circulation, occasionally leave your drawers and closet open.

Use Cedar wood Hangers or Blocks

Cedar wood hangers are considered to be an excellent investment for individuals who are committed to maintaining an aromatic and pristine closet environment. These hangers not only emit a delightful woody scent but also serve as a deterrent for moths, preventing them from causing damage to your clothing.

If you are currently using plastic or wire hangers, it is highly recommended that you consider making the switch to cedar wood hangers. By doing so, you can ensure a long-lasting and refreshing fragrance within your closet.

In addition to cedar wood hangers, another option to infuse your closet and drawers with an invigorating scent is by utilizing cedar wood blocks. Simply place a couple of these blocks in your closet and drawers for an enhanced aromatic experience.

Use Dryer Sheets

Scented dryer sheets, whether new or used, are highly effective in removing unpleasant odors from closets. Simply placing them flat on the floor of drawers or folding them into the pockets of coats or trousers can provide long-lasting freshness. 

These dryer sheets continue to eliminate odors until the scent is no longer detectable, at which point they can be replaced with new ones.

Baking Soda or Activated Charcoal

Baking soda is a versatile and highly effective ingredient that can be used in various ways to eliminate bad smells and keep your clothes smelling fresh for a longer duration. In order to take advantage of its odor-absorbing properties, you can place a small bowl or box of baking soda in your closet. It is recommended to position it out of the way to prevent accidental spills.

Another excellent option to combat unpleasant odors is activated charcoal. This remarkable substance not only absorbs bad smells but also helps in removing mold spores. You can place activated charcoal in your closet or drawer, ensuring that it works its magic to keep your clothes smelling great. Whenever you feel that the capacity of the activated charcoal is diminishing, simply place it in direct sunlight for a few hours to recharge its odor-absorbing properties.

Some individuals also suggest using coffee grounds as an alternative solution. However, it’s worth noting that coffee grounds may impart a slight coffee scent to your clothes. If you decide to explore this option, you can place coffee grounds in a jar and cover it with a lid. Don’t forget to create small holes on the lid to allow the coffee grounds to absorb the unwanted smells effectively.

By implementing these strategies, you can enhance the freshness of your clothes and bid farewell to any lingering odors.


Vinegar, a versatile household item, serves multiple purposes, including keeping your clothes smelling fresh. Would you be surprised to learn that you can utilize it during the washing phase too?

To make your clothes emanate a pleasant fragrance, consider adding a tablespoon of vinegar to your clothes softener during the washing cycle. This simple addition will enhance the freshness of your clothes from the moment they come out of the washing machine.

Unused Scented Soap or Fabric Softener

If you have recently purchased a new scented soap, a great way to utilize its fragrance is by placing it in either your closet or drawer. By doing so, you can effectively keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean for an extended period. 

For an added touch, consider wrapping the soap in tissue paper or a thin fabric to prevent any transfer of color or residue.

Likewise, another alternative to enhance the scent in your wardrobe is by using a fabric softener refill bag. Simply place the bag in your closet or drawer, and not only will it infuse your clothes with a lovely fragrance, but it can also double as a car air freshener when discreetly positioned under the seat. 

This multifunctional approach ensures that your belongings consistently retain a delightful scent wherever you go.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be beneficial in various aspects of our lives, including our closets. To freshen up your clothes, here’s what you can do: Take cotton balls and add ten to twenty drops of your preferred scent, such as lavender, lemon, peppermint, or any other fragrance of your choice.

Place these scented cotton balls in a glass jar. Cover the jar with a thin fabric, ensuring it is secure. Now, find a safe spot in your closet or drawer to store the jar.

This method will create a pleasant aroma that will last for an extended period. Whenever the scent starts to fade, simply add more oil to the cotton balls and relish the delightful fragrance all over again.

Aside from using essential oils for your closet, you can also incorporate them into potpourri. Blend the delicate flowers and herbs with essential oils for a captivating aroma. Moreover, consider using dried lavender to craft exquisite fragrance sachets for your closets and drawers; it will leave your clothes smelling wonderful.

Final Verdict

To maintain fresh-smelling clothes while stored in your closet or drawers, there are several steps you can take. First, it is important to keep your storage spaces clean and well-ventilated, ensuring that no mold or mildew develops. 

Additionally, you can utilize baking soda, activated charcoal, or other odor-absorbing ingredients to eliminate unpleasant odors. 

Lastly, consider using sweet-smelling deodorizers to impart a lovely scent to your clothes while they are being stored for future use. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your stored clothes remain fresh and pleasant-smelling.

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