Secrets to Keeping Wardrobes Smelling Fresh

Let’s admit it, no one wants to wear a musty-smelling shirt anywhere. If the smell doesn’t bother you, it might offend other people if you don’t cover it correctly. The problem occurs because most closets are tightly enclosed spaces with little to no air circulating. As time passes, foul odours develop and will permeate the contents.

Homeowners know that they want to prevent and avoid such problems at all costs. However, aside from being a headache-inducing event as you’ll have to launder the clothes again, it can be pretty irritating if it happens repeatedly. So, if you wish to keep your fitted wardrobes smelling fresh longer, here are some great secrets that we’d like to share.

Locate the culprit 

You can’t resolve the problem if you don’t locate the source. Foul odours can develop if you store dirty clothes or sweaty items inside without laundering them. The smells can also be due to pest droppings, moulds, or mildew. If there’s a leak, find it and patch it up. If there’s humidity, try using a dehumidifier. If it’s due to dirty items, remove them hastily.

Regularly clean your closets 

One of the best ways to keep your closets clean and smelling fresh is to clean them regularly. First, remove everything inside (it’s also a great time to declutter) and vacuum the floors and walls. Then, use a disinfecting spray and wipe it clean. Finally, ensure that your closet space is completely dry before returning the clothes.

Clean and dry clothes before storing them 

It doesn’t matter if you wore an item for only a few hours – don’t store them without laundering them. Ensure that your clothes are completely dry before putting them inside. Any damp clothing will cause problems because it will attract moulds which cause foul odours. If there’s a presence of mold in your closet or any part of your house, it is advisable to contact a mold remediation company immediately.

Reorganise your closets

Another thing that prevents bad smells from developing is to ensure that clothes have space to breathe. So don’t cram clothes together tightly. Instead, reorganise the area by removing items that you don’t need so there will be some air circulation. You can use storage bags or bins to compartmentalise the space, too.

Consider using wooden hangers

Consider ditching plastic or wire hangers for wooden hangers. Wood absorbs moisture in the air to help prevent moulds from developing. Wood also has a natural scent that can keep your space fresh. If you can buy wood hangers made from cedar or infused with lavender, it would also help.

Use baking soda, coffee grounds or activated charcoal

Place a small open container of baking soda in your wardrobe where it wouldn’t get toppled over and leave it for up to a year. This will absorb moisture and prevent bad smells from developing. If you’re a coffee-lover, an acceptable alternative is to fill a container with coffee grounds (dried, if used) and poke holes to let the aroma freshen up the space. Replace the grounds monthly. 

You can also choose activated charcoal to freshen up the space. Place it in a breathable container and leave it inside. The charcoal will absorb not only moisture but also bad smells.


Find the source of the foul odour to resolve the issue of smelly closets correctly. There are several effective ways to keep your closets smelling fresh.

Eve Crabtree

Eve Crabtree is a journalist with a passion for interior design. She keeps up to date with the latest trends in the interior industry and regularly tests her hand at crafting and redecorating during her spare time.