Nothing can be more displeasing than dirty and musty odors on clean clothes. A little investigation may lead you to discover that the origin of the bad odors is in your closets, because of which all your clothes smell musty.

In this short read, we’re going to discover the reasons behind closets smelling musty as well as what we can do to make musty closets smell and stay fresh.

Why does my closet smell musty? Pro tips

Here’s the thing we need to remember about closets: they are small, enclosed spaces, most often with little or no air circulation. This means they’re like an odor magnet, and getting rid of the odors is really hard if you do not know where to begin. Sure, you could simply put in an air freshener, but that would only be a temporary solution. 

So if you have a closet that smells musty, the best place to begin is by figuring out what is making the closet smell.

Check your closet

closet lighting

There are a number of reasons why closets could be smelly. Dirty clothes, animal droppings, especially if you have rodents like rats and mice infesting your home, sweaty shoes, wet clothes, and even dust could be the cause of the odors. However, most often, the cause is mold and mildew.

Closets are the perfect place for mold and mildew to grow in, especially since there is already very little ventilation and light for most parts of the day. If you inadvertently put sweaty shoes or damp clothing into the closet, you’re giving mold and mildew the nutrition they need to grow.

How to get rid of mold and mildew

Once you spot the mold and mildew, remediation is not a difficult thing. Put two caps of bleach into a spray bottle and fill it up with water. Spray it over the affected area and let it sit for a few hours. Then, wipe the mold and mildew away.

However, that’s only half the battle. Keeping mold and mildew away permanently will take some more effort.

  • Make sure there are no leaks on the wall behind the closet.
  • Insulate the closet ceilings. This will reduce the difference in temperature between the outdoors and the inside of the closet during summers, reducing the chances of mold and mildew growth.
  • Cabinet carpeting and wallpapers also help trap moisture that enables mold and mildew growth. Get rid of both of these.

Clean your closets regularly

Clean your custom closets on a regular basis. This includes vacuum cleaning the insides, cleaning all the surfaces with soap and water or an all-purpose cleaner, and making sure everything is completely dry before returning your clothes and belongings to it.

Read more: Attic cleaning cost

Tips to keep your closet smelling great

Coffee beans for cleaning a closet
  • Coffee grounds are great at soaking up bad odors. Store a container of coffee grounds with holes in the lid in your closet, and change the grounds once a month. Your closet will never stink again.
  • Essential oils can be used in two ways. Use a rag with a few drops of essential oil on it to wipe your closet clean on the inside. This will keep your closet smelling fresh for a while. An essential oil diffuser will keep your closet smelling fresh longer.
  • You could also spray equal parts of white vinegar and water into your closet or simply keep a bowl of white vinegar in your closet to keep it smelling great.
  • You can leave an open packet of baking soda in your closet for as long as a whole year, and rest assured that bad odors will all be soaked up. Activated charcoal in a container with holes works in the same way as well, although you will need to keep the charcoal in sunlight for a while every now and then to activate it again.
  • If you’re planning to renovate your bedroom, consider swapping out your closet doors for new ones with slats or vents. That way, your closets get some amount of ventilation, decreasing the chances of mold and mildew growth, and as a result, your closet smells musty.
  • Remember you can also use naphthalene balls to keep your closet both clean and out of insects.

Read more: Why does my bedroom smell?

Smell removal pro tips: Why does my closet smell musty? was last modified: August 29th, 2023 by Narayan Shrouthy
Your opinion matters, leave a comment
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I can tell why my closet smells musty. My wife keeps clothes so old that the TV was on black and white when she bought them, haaaa. Throw away your old clothes, please…