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Why Does My Closet Smell Musty? Identifying and Eliminating Bad Closet Odors

5 minute read, by Closet America, on Mar 10, 2020

If you’re asking yourself, “Why do my clothes and closet smell musty?” you’re not alone. Luckily, if you have a closet problem, we have a solution on how to get rid of closet odor that’s sure to fix it.

Sometimes your closet develops an embarrassing problem. You open the door and your nose scrunches up in distaste. The bad closet smell in there is not exactly what you would call appealing.

If you’re asking yourself, “Why does my closet smell musty?” or “Why do my clothes smell musty?” you’re not alone. Life is busy—especially if you live, like we do, in a big city like Washington D.C.—and it’s all too tempting to put an onerous task like cleaning out your smelly closet at the bottom of your to-do list and perpetually put it off. But, like so many problems, ignoring it won’t help—in fact, it will only make it worse. So, how do you get rid of musty smells in closets?

custom design consultation

Luckily, if you have a closet problem, we have a closet solution on how to stop clothes from smelling musty in a wardrobe that’s sure to fix it.

So Why Does My Closet Smell Musty and Like Mildew?

Every now and then, it’s a surprise one of the kids left, like something from the backyard, or a forgotten tuna sandwich. But the kids aren’t always to blame, and sometimes, multiple factors may be at play. It may be the same funny smell that was coming from your washing machine before you ran the special cleaner through it. It’s bedding that wasn’t completely dry before you put it away, the blankets that didn’t get aired out quite enough, or the coat the dog rubbed against when he was wet. Maybe something leaked out of a bottle. And don’t forget, the plastic coating on those rickety wire closet organizers can get sticky and smelly sometimes, too.

A closet purge is often the first step on how to get rid of the mildew smell in closets, but sometimes you can take everything out and do what needs to be done with it, and it still might not be completely roses in there. Wood and plaster can absorb smells, and then impart them to porous items like clothes, food, or paper packaging. Worse, the mustiness may be coming from the other side of the wall, ceiling, or floor. So, how do you keep clothes from smelling musty in a closet that smells like shoes? When you empty your closet out, look for stains, cracks, or mold. These can be signs of problems with the roof, plumbing, crawl space sealing, or other serious structural issues that should be addressed as soon as possible. These problems can have a disastrous effect on your home.

cleaning a musty closet

Setting Up a Fresh, Organized Closet

How do you keep clothes smelling fresh in a closet? Once you have gotten the closet back into shape, whether that means a good wipedown or some repairs, you can think about how to put it back together so that it stays bright, fresh, and tidy. Even if you don’t have to do anything more than rewashing a few linens, this is a wonderful opportunity to upgrade your closet and make it not just clean, but beautiful and convenient as well. A coat of new paint on the walls and varnish on the floor will look nice. As for that old organizer, maybe some of the components are recyclable…

Besides making it look better, customizing your closet will make sure that items are stored properly. This is an important part of keeping them in good condition. Make sure that things are stored safely, right side up and with enough room around them to avoid crushing or wrinkling them.

Reach In Closet Designs

There are a few custom accessories that will be especially helpful when it comes to keeping your closet fresh:

  • Chrome baskets are good for storing almost anything. They allow plenty of air circulation—a must for a sweet-smelling closet—plus, they make everything easy to find.

  • With customized shelving, you can space shelves at convenient intervals so that your things are stored conveniently, properly and without crowding.

  • Shoe shelves will keep your shoes accessible, in order, and easy to maintain.

  • Islands will add more storage space if you have a large closet. Wardrobe lifts can help for the same reason.

Once your organization system of choice is installed in your new closet, there are a few things you can do to keep it looking and smelling nice. That pleasant scent of new construction will wear off quickly. You can scent the closet with sachets or potpourri, or simply remove scents with a tactfully disguised box of baking soda. If you have an abundance of things in the closet, they may need to be rotated as well. If you have so many towels that you never use the ones on the bottom of the stack, turn them over from time to make sure they get washed regularly. If you have coats or other clothes that you never touch, consider giving them to a charity so you can enjoy a little extra storage space.

More importantly, a custom closet organization system will have easy-to-clean, durable surfaces that will never wear down, and sturdy shelves that will never sag, as well as other features that distinguish high-quality craftsmanship. Closet America, for example, creates fully customized closet solutions using:

  • ¾-inch thermo-fused laminate—strong shelving with a tough exterior

  • Floor standing units with built-in levelers—for safety and stability

  • Metal cams and shelf supports—to ensure long-lasting quality

With components like these, your closet can stay fresh and organized forever—or at least for as long as you own it.

custom built shoe shelves

Get That Fresh, Clean New Closet

The first step toward getting a beautiful new closet is figuring out exactly what it should look like. That’s why Closet America offers a free design consultation with one of our experts, any day of the week at a time that is convenient for you, so that you can talk about what you need and want in your new closet. Our expert can create an interactive 3D model of your future closet for you to see using CAD technology. Once your choice is made, we make every system by hand to order, and give it a transferrable double lifetime warranty (along with a lifetime service guarantee).

Contact Closet America today to schedule your free design consultation and you can be on your way to a fresh and beautiful new closet.

Closet America was able to work with my unique circumstances in order to give me the best use of my space.

Amy B.,
Fairfax Station, VA

Let’s Start Your Project

Whether you’re interested in a custom-designed closet, office, pantry, or garage, starting your project couldn’t be easier. Just fill out the attached form or give us a call to schedule your free in-home design consultation. You can download our brochure and you’re welcome to visit our Landover Maryland showroom, to see how beautiful our custom-designed organization systems look in person. We want you to experience the Closet America difference and see how we build organizing solutions for life.

Schedule a free design consultation

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