Posted on February 9th, 2022
Nothing ruins the scent of freshly laundered clothing faster than a musty, stale-smelling closet. Unfortunately, closets are a common area for odor problems to develop; as dark, poorly ventilated spaces, they provide the ideal growing conditions for mold, mildew, and bacteria. The presence of dirty clothes, shoes, and dust can also contribute to unpleasant smells in closets.
Instead of masking these odors with chemical air fresheners – which often contain high levels of toxic VOCs – use the simple, affordable strategies outlined below to stop them at the source. Or, if you’re looking to achieve even better results, you can quickly eliminate unwanted smells throughout your home with professional deep cleaning services from our Indianapolis maids.
6 Easy Ways to Keep Your Closets Smelling Fresh
1. Organize your closets.
If your closets are always full and cluttered, you won’t be able to clean them properly. Clutter also decreases airflow in closets, which traps moisture and odors inside these tight spaces.
To get your closets in order, start by removing things that don’t belong there. Closets are designed to hold clothes, jackets, shoes, and accessories only, so sports equipment, office (or school) supplies, electronics, decorations, and other non-wearable items should be stored elsewhere. (If you can’t find more appropriate places for these things, it may be time to declutter your home.) Similarly, unless you live in a small apartment, we don’t recommend storing dirty clothes in the closet. Instead, place them in clothes hampers in the laundry room or put them directly in the washing machine.
After you’ve freed up space in the closet, group accessories by type and place them in breathable plastic or wire mesh bins on the shelves. Then, install a shoe organizer to keep shoes off the closet floor.
2. Don’t forget to include closets in your weekly vacuuming routine.
Because closets are small and often crowded spaces, it’s tempting to avoid vacuuming them when you’re cleaning in a hurry. However, as high-use areas of the home, closets need frequent vacuuming to stay clean and fresh. Once a week, use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to quickly remove dust from the ceiling and shelves, then switch to the floor brush and vacuum the floor.
If your closets have carpeted floors, you can reduce odors by dusting the carpet with a light layer of baking soda and letting it sit for one to three hours before you vacuum. As a base, baking soda naturally neutralizes the acidic compounds present in most bad smells. It also absorbs excess moisture, which helps to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
3. Stop odors before they start by controlling moisture.
Mold and mildew, which are usually the main cause of musty closet odors, can start growing in damp areas in as little as 48 hours. As such, it’s crucial to reduce the amount of moisture in your closets, along with cleaning them regularly.
How you approach this will depend on the level of humidity where you live. In most cases, placing a bag of activated charcoal in each closet is all that’s necessary to absorb dampness and musty smells. Activated charcoal is a natural compound that filters the air, removing mold spores and other impurities without the need for chemicals or electricity use. If your area is especially damp, however, you might need to install mini dehumidifiers in your closets to prevent mold and mildew growth.
To keep activated charcoal working properly, place the bricks in bright sunlight once every three months. Over the course of a few hours, the UV radiation in sunlight will kill and release the mold, bacteria, and allergens that have been absorbed by the charcoal, restoring its ability to remove odors.
4. Neutralize odors with baking soda.
In addition to using baking soda during vacuuming, leaving some baking soda in the closet all month long is a great way to keep odors away. For this technique to work, you’ll need to pour half a cup of baking soda into a well-ventilated container (such as a box with holes in the lid, or a small bowl with no lid) and place it on the closet shelf. Replace the baking soda once a month to prevent odors from coming back.
5. Use dryer sheets to keep your clothes smelling fresh.
Instead of throwing out your used dryer sheets, fold them up and tuck them into the pockets of garments you don’t wear very often. Not only will this help your clothes retain that satisfying “fresh out of the laundry” scent, but the dryer sheets will also absorb closet odors, making the whole space more pleasant.
6. Try essential oils.
Essential oils contain fragrances derived from natural, plant-based sources. This means that unlike conventional air fresheners, they don’t release VOCs and other harmful compounds into the air. They’re also available in a wide range of scents, with popular options including lavender, peppermint, rose, cedar, and chamomile.
To use essential oils, soak a few cotton balls in the scent of your choice. Then, tuck them away at the back of closet shelves. Remove the old cotton balls and replace them with freshly scented ones every two to three months to keep the good smells going strong.
Tired of Unwanted Odors in Your Home? Try Our Cleaning Services in Indianapolis
Unpleasant smells often result from mold, dirt, and bacteria hidden in hard-to-reach areas of the home. Though routine cleaning and maintenance helps to prevent stale or musty odors, it isn’t always enough to completely eliminate them. Sometimes, a more detailed approach – like deep cleaning or professional cleaning services – is necessary to restore a home’s freshness.
If you’re struggling with persistent odors in your closets, bathrooms, or kitchen, our maids in Indianapolis can help you identify where they’re coming from and treat them at the source. To discover how we can make your home smell – and look – more inviting, use our online booking system to arrange an appointment or call us at (317) 721-1105.