Skip To Content
  • Home
  • Beat the Stink
  • Musty Closet? Here’s How To Fight the Funk and Banish the Smell Forever

Musty Closet? Here’s How To Fight the Funk and Banish the Smell Forever

Musty closet fixes

Getty Images

Musty closet smell is, quite frankly, gross. And all too ubiquitous. Just about all of us have opened a forgotten closet only to be subjected to a wave of old stink coming from somewhere between the hangers and the shelves.

While no mystery smells are welcome in the home, musty closet smell is particularly unpleasant because it might also cling to your clothes, sheets, towels, and whatever else you store. And no one wants to walk around reeking of eau de closet.

So in this installment of “Beat the Stink,” we’ll tell you how you can go about diagnosing exactly what causes the stale and offensive odor. Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning out your musty closet—and preventing the smell from ever creeping back in.

What causes musty closet smell?

The first thing to do to start fighting the problem is to determine where the odor is originating in your particular closet.

“The musty smell usually comes from a combination of moisture and insufficient ventilation,” says Sylvia James, an interiors expert from Home How.

This situation can easily arise when you innocently put away the laundry before your clothes have completely dried. And stuffing your closet with too many clothes—so that there’s no “breathing room”—can also trigger odors.

Pull everything out of your closet

It can be hard to determine which pile of clothes or linens started the foul smell when you simply peer into your closet. So the first thing you’ll want to do is empty your closet (as painful as that might sound).

“Take everything out so you can take a look and make sure the smell doesn’t come from any other source other than the objects in the closet,” says Chris Alexakis, home expert and co-founder of Cabinet Select. “You should also be on the lookout for mold or leaks, which are telltale signs of a humidity problem.”

Once your closet’s empty, you should be able to determine what’s causing the smell: the contents of the closet or an issue in or beyond the closet walls.

Make sure you don’t have pests

If your closet search doesn’t yield any apparent results, then you might want to rule out another cause of stench: pests and their droppings.

“When looking for pest droppings, be sure not to touch them with your bare hands,” says James. Instead, always use rubber gloves as droppings can cause you to become ill.

“If the droppings are on your clothes—or even bedding or toys in the closet—then make sure to wash them immediately with hot water,” says James.

Next, block up any holes in the closet with steel wool to keep pests out for good. Then determine what further pest control steps to take.

Eliminate the source of mold or bacteria

Sometimes the source of a smelly closet is challenging to detect, especially if the culprit is mold or bacteria. But if you don gloves and a protective face mask for a close inspection, you can usually find mold on objects in the closet or on the closet walls or floor.

“If you notice mold on your clothes or other items, they should be bagged up and discarded,” says James. “You can treat the building materials and surfaces, but make sure to empty your closet first and allow it to completely dry out before treating the mold.

Avoid future mold buildup by never storing wet or dirty clothes and shoes in your closed closet. Instead, reserve your closet space for clean, dry items to minimize the risk of the bacteria that leads to musty smells.

Improve air circulation

Let in lots of air.

“You want to have space between your clothes and not have them pushed up against the walls if you can avoid it,” says James. “So identify any clothes that you can get rid of.”

If you’ve already Marie Kondo‘d your wardrobe, consider switching out your closet each season to achieve better airflow.

“If you have a summer or winter wardrobe, store them in a separate bin when you’re not using them,” advises James.

Keep things smelling fresh

There are lots of tricks to keep storage spaces like closets smelling fresh. Some of our favorites include herb satchels of dried thyme or lavender, bars of bath soap, and cedar bars. You can also use dryer sheets or even ground coffee.

“Coffee is a fantastic foul-odor absorber,” says James. “Poke some holes in a can of coffee, close the lid, and place it in your closet. Just remember to replace it every couple of months for the best results.”

Another trick after you’ve pared down your closet and wiped down the walls? Get in the habit of simply leaving the closet door open every so often to let the space air out.

The post Musty Closet? Here’s How To Fight the Funk and Banish the Smell Forever appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Comments are closed.

About our blog

+1 us on Google Plus!

Categories