How to Keep Clothes Smelling Fresh in the Closet?

It boosts your confidence whenever you wear clean and presentable clothes that smell great. When you look nice, you will feel great, and that positivity can rub off on the people around you. Perhaps, you’re asking yourself, “how to keep clothes smelling fresh in the closet?” Well, we’ve got answers for you in this article.

How to Clean Your Closet

how to make your closet smell good

Your first task is to clean your closet. Even if you use all kinds of products to remove unwanted smells, but your wardrobe is dirty, your clothes will come out smelling musty.

We’ve rounded up some ways to clean your closet and keep it organized.

1. Prepare the following cleaning and organizing supplies:

  • A pail with three cups of water and 15 ml of dish soap
  • Rags
  • Dust mask
  • Vacuum
  • Three laundry baskets or old boxes
  • Large trash bags
  • Hangers (matching ones work perfectly well)
  • Markers, masking tape, and paper
  • Pocket organizers, hooks, and scarf or tie hangers

2. Remove all accessories, clothes, and other items from your closet

Before you start your task, wear a dust mask. For sure, there will be dust inside the closet, even if it’s often closed. You wouldn’t want to experience allergies or headaches when cleaning.

It may seem complicated to remove everything, but it is the best way to clean your closet. Removing your clothes will keep them safe from contamination or spills. It will also give you a chance to check if there are items that you don’t use anymore.

closet smells musty

3. Clean all surfaces and closet floors

Vacuum all surfaces and crevices of your closet. Ensure that you clean all corners efficiently. Then wipe down all walls and floors of your wardrobe using the water and soap mixture your prepared earlier. Use a clean, soft sponge to scrub the dirt off your closet.

Remember to squeeze excess water before wiping to avoid making a dirty puddle on your closet floor. Next, rinse with a separate sponge moistened with clean water. Lastly, dry with a soft towel. If you have plenty of time to spare, you can keep the closet door open to air dry.

4. Sort your clothes and accessories

Now is the time to group your clothes and get rid of the ones taking up space in your closet. Sort them according to those you want to keep, give away, or wash. The rule of thumb is to give away clothes that are still nice but haven’t worn in a year.

Here is a video to guide you on how to organize your clothes.

How to Wash Your Clothes Properly

Now that you have sorted out your clothes, it’s time to wash the ones you have been keeping for so long but still want to wear. Sometimes when garments are stored for a long time, they smell like mildew. These clothes may contaminate the ones you use regularly.

To help you with your laundry, here are some practical steps:

1. Sort your laundry

Separate your clothes based on their color and fabric type. Check the care label of each one so you’ll be guided on the proper temperature and washing machine setting. Group the clothes that have similar care instructions.

If you have delicate items such as silk blouses or lace lingerie, it would be best to place them inside a mesh bag and wash them using a delicate cycle. Another way would be to wash them by hand.

how to keep your closet smelling fresh

2. Set the washing machine using the proper wash cycle

The care instructions on your clothes will dictate the correct wash cycle. Here are some standard wash cycles for various types of dresses to give you an idea.

  • Synthetics – medium agitation wash and low-speed spin.
  • Delicates – low agitation wash and low-speed spin
  • Cotton – high agitation wash and high-speed spin.

3. Set the correct water temperature

Reserve hot water use for beddings, towels, and filthy items. Hot water can sanitize fabrics better, but it can also fade and shrink them, so use it with caution.

Use warm water for dark clothes and moderately dirty laundry. On the other hand, fill your washing machine with cold water to wash delicate items, clothes that are not colorfast, and those that aren’t that dirty.

how to keep closet fresh

4. Put detergent and fabric softener

To know the amount of detergent required by each load, read the product label. It will tell you how much soap you need to add.

5. Toss your clothes in the washing machine

Ensure that you do not overload your washing machine. A general rule would be the following:

  • Large loads: ¾ of the drum
  • Medium loads: ½ of the drum
  • Small loads: ⅓ of the drum

Overcrowding may result in your clothes coming out not as fresh smelling as they should be.

6. Turn on the washer and wait for your clothes to go out sweet-smelling!

Grab a book or do some other household chores while waiting for the spin cycle to end.

Here’s a video to walk you through the steps of doing your laundry:

Products You Can Use to Keep the Clothes in Your Closet Smelling Fresh

After you’ve cleaned your closet and laundered all clothes, the next step would be to maintain the fresh smell. It is where some household and cleaning products will come in handy.

Check out these things that you can use to keep the clothes in your closet smelling fresh and clean.

1. Essential Oils

how to get musty smell out of closet

Essential oils have become famous recently for their health benefits. But do you know you can use it to sweeten the smell of the clothes in your wardrobe? Add a few drops of any oil that you fancy on a cotton ball or paper towel and leave them in a corner inside your closet. Remember to change the cotton ball after two weeks.

Another way would be to add a few drops to the dryer before the last rinsing cycle. These beneficial oils also have moth-repelling properties, so you get added benefits.

2. Scented Dryer Sheets

how to get rid of musty closet smell

Dryer sheets can make your closet and clothes smell fresh. They absorb unwanted odors, too. You may use them to line your closet shelves, or you can place them inside coat pockets. Another great idea is to tuck a few sheets inside the storage bin or box where you store seasonal clothes such as winter jackets and ski suits.

3. Baking Soda

clothes smell musty in closet

The ever-reliable baking soda is not only an exceptional stain-remover but a great odor-absorbent, too! You can add 2-3 tablespoons of this unique powder in a fabric pouch or any breathable container and place them inside your wardrobe.

Baking soda can also prevent your clothes from smelling like mold or mildew since it absorbs moisture.

4. Soap Bars

how to make closet smell better

Do you have extra soap from hotels and wedding giveaways lying around? Now is the best time to put them to good use. What you can do is to wrap a strongly-scented soap in a clean handkerchief or fabric and place it inside your drawer, closet, or even your suitcase.

It would be best to use a thin piece of cloth to ensure that the fragrance will pass through without contaminating your clothes with soap residue.

More Tips to Keep Your Clothes Smelling Fresh Inside Your Closet

There are still other lifehacks that you can use to make your clothe sweet-smelling even if they are stored in your closet for a long time.

Check out this list to learn more:

1. Make potpourri

how to freshen closet

Now is the time to put your crafting skills to good use and make homemade potpourri. These dried herbs and wood chips can bring the smell of nature to your clothes and closet.

Place dried lavender, spearmint, rosemary, and cedarwood chips in a sachet to make potpourri. Please place it in the corners of your closet. Remember to replace them every month to keep your clothes smelling fresh all year round.

Here is a video to teach you how to make potpourri at home.

2. Use scented wooden hangers

You will undoubtedly need hangers to organize your closet; why not use scented ones to hit two birds with one stone. Wooden hangers are sturdier and can maintain the shape of your coats and suits.

It would be best to use cedar hangers since they smell good and absorb moisture. They can also keep moths at bay. You can also purchase lavender-scented wooden hangers for a more feminine touch.

3. Place perfumed tissue paper in a jar

how to freshen up a closet

If you’re fond of perfumes, this tip may resonate with you. You may apply a few drops of your favorite scent on tissue paper or a few pieces of cotton balls. Put them inside a glass jar and secure a piece of thin fabric on top. Place the pot inside your closet and enjoy sweet-smelling clothes every day.

Don’t forget to replace the tissue paper or cotton balls when you notice that the smell is fading.

4. Use activated charcoal

This natural material is one of the most effective air purifiers and odor absorbers. It can also filter mold spores efficiently. Mold is one of the causes of nasty odors in closets, and activated charcoal can solve this problem.

Place some chunks of activated charcoal inside a breathable container or pouch and put it inside your closet. It would be a brilliant idea to place it under the sun once in a while to release the foul odors. After this process, you can use the charcoal repeatedly for about two years.


Having clothes that smell nasty is frustrating. However, you won’t have t worry as long as you follow the tips we’ve discussed. These methods are doable and won’t put a dent in your wallet. The rewards of having clothes that smell fresh all the time are worth the time and effort.


how to keep clothes smelling fresh in closet

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