Custom Closet System

How to Prevent Foul Smells in Your Closets

Nobody wants a funky aroma ruining the atmosphere of their beautiful custom closets. Stop bad odors before they get comfortable in your stylish wardrobe. Then use some simple preventative measures to ensure that your perfectly organized closets forever smell fresh and clean. 

With these top tips, you’ll triumph over that musty funk like a true champion!

  • Find the source of the smell
  • Schedule a deep clean
  • Eradicate mold and mildew
  • Cut moisture
  • Use good closet practices
  • Install unbeatable scent relief

You deserve to enjoy your enviable custom closets to the max, so don’t let odious odors ruin your day - just follow these simple steps to beat bad smells for good! 

What’s Causing a Stink?

Generally, a musty closet smell is created because closets don’t typically get a lot of airflow. The first step for eternally fresh closets is to take all of your stuff out and carefully examine the interior. Is there an overflowing basket of dirty gym laundry making a smelly fuss? Do you see any brown patches on the ceiling that could indicate a water leak? Have your shoes tracked in something quite objectionable? Wet towels can also be a source of some extreme funk. 

Examine all aspects of your space to make sure that you’re ready to win the war against odor - know your enemy. Remove the offending materials, keep the doors open, and bring in a fan to get the air moving. 

Fresh and Clean

You’ve already taken everything out, so the next logical step is giving your closets a good, hard scrubbing. Be sure to use a high-quality yet gentle cleansing agent. 

The well-known cleaning blog How to Clean Stuff suggests pouring half a cup of white vinegar in a large bucket of hot water and using this mixture to wipe down the walls, cabinet doors, drawers, and baseboards. If you're worried about your entire closet smelling of vinegar, never fear. The bitter aroma will disappear quickly and take the stuffiness and odors with it! 

Sweep the floors thoroughly, or sprinkle some baking soda down before you vacuum if your closet is carpeted. An energetic cleaning will freshen up your closets immensely. 


Mold Must Go

If you’ve found a little bit of mold or mildew, don’t freak out - it’s easy to beat now and prevent it from happening in the future. Installing a small fan in your closet will help keep air moving so the spores have a hard time settling on clothes or surfaces. 

Spray any mildewy spots with a mixture of bleach and hot water, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, then wipe away your troubles. Make sure that all items stored in your closets are clean and dry before putting them away. Check all surfaces to make sure they are free of moisture - even the backs of drawers, closet rails, shoe racks, anywhere it could be hiding. Bleach is your friend and will terminate any chance of mildew making a comeback here.

High and Dry

Even a small amount of moisture trapped in a closet with warm, stagnant air can be a culprit in creating a big stink. Prevent foul smells by dehumidifying and keeping things nice and dry. Keeping the air moving as recommended above will go a long way towards eradicating moisture, but sometimes you need a little extra oomph. Dehumidifiers are an efficient weapon in the war against foul odors. To seal the deal, only store clean and dry shoes, garments, and linens in your closets.

More Closet Best Practices

What else can you do to prevent pungent perfumes from invading your beloved closets? Here are a few tried-and-true tricks:

  • Remove sweaty gym gear and damp towels immediately!
  • Don’t throw or put anything on the floor where germs can hide.
  • Store clean and dry clothes only in breathable storage like wicker or fabric bins.
  • Use high-quality hangers to keep moisture away and clothes wrinkle-free.
  • Keep adequate space between items on hangers for proper airflow.

Home organization guru Bob Vila notes that the proper hangers make all the difference- good, sturdy non-slip velvet hangers are an excellent option and won’t let your garments fall forgotten to the floor, where they could trap dirt and odors. Wooden hangers last forever and are perfect for organizing suits as well as dresses, skirts, and scarves. 


Smells Like Victory

Create heavenly-scented closets by using natural items and ensure that your clothes smell nothing but clean. Storing a small open container of baking soda up and away in your closet space will help prepare the air for your preferred scent. Utilize a proven old-fashioned method of hanging sachets of dried herbs like relaxing lavender or small chunks of aromatic cedarwood to create a signature fragrance. 

News and style magazine Bustle suggests using small bags of bamboo or activated charcoal, two natural powerhouse air purifiers, placed around your closets for maximum freshness. Anoint these bundles or make a spray with your favorite essential oils, like earthy frankincense, rejuvenating rosemary, or cheerful sweet orange.


Sometimes funky closet smells just happen but you’ve totally got this. Start by giving everything a deep cleaning and honest evaluation. Get rid of moisture, keep the air moving, and don’t let dirty laundry or linens overpower your space. Finally, incorporate a few tried and true household items to keep your closets smelling fresh!


Categories: Custom Closet Tips

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