Skip to main content

How To Make Your Closet & Clothes Smell Great

How To Make Your Closet & Clothes Smell Great

Clothing fabrics can pick up the scent of their surroundings, which can be a problem if your closet smells musty, and generally unpleasant. Don’t let your closet dictate your signature scent. Air Wick has a range of products to help freshen up the scent of your closet space.

Find out how to identify where the bad smells may be coming from, how to deodorize your closet, and steps you can take to transform even the tightest of closet spaces with a closet air freshener. 

Dampness and the resulting mildew is a common cause of nasty closet odors1 as it produces a distinctive smell. Closet spaces are usually filled to the brim with clothing, shoes, and more often than not, used as extra storage space for miscellaneous items. This leads to poor air circulation and stuffiness which only makes dampness worse.


Dampness can either come from freshly laundered clothing which hasn’t been sufficiently dried before storing, or from worn-in sweaty shoes. Lingering odors could also be the result of storing dirty laundry on the floor of your closet as this might lead to a build-up of sweaty, stagnant odors. 


Your closet walls and flooring could also be the source of the problem2 if the room itself has poor air circulation, or condensation from an en-suite bathroom isn’t being effectively extracted(3). This combination of a lack of air flow, high humidity and moderate temperature provides mildew with the perfect breeding ground to spread to clothing and the surrounding closet structure (ceiling, walls, carpet/ flooring).     

There is no quick fix to permanently deodorizing your closet, but with a little trial and error you should be able to deal with the source of the problem and get your clothing smelling fresh again.


What you will need:


Baking soda (for absorbing moisture and bad odors in fabrics)

White Vinegar (for neutralizing bad odors on hard surfaces)

Step 1: Remove all contents from the closet, including items on the floor, hangers, and shelves.


Step 2: Sprinkle baking soda on the closet’s carpet and vacuum after an hour. This should help absorb excess moisture and remove unpleasant odors that could be lingering in the carpet fabrics.(1)


Step 3: Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of half water, half white vinegar. Test it on a hidden spot first to see if the mixture causes any adverse reaction on surfaces. Next gently spray all the surfaces in the closet, including the walls, shelves and ceiling. If you have hard flooring also spray with the mixture. Don’t worry about the smell of vinegar, this will disappear soon after evaporating.(4)


Step 4: Give the room with your closet a thorough cleaning, paying special attention to dust and any damp patches.


Step 5: Placing a bowl of baking soda in the closet will help absorb lingering smells in the air. Make sure you remove the bowl after 24 hours.1

To prevent your closet from smelling again, ensure your closet space is damp-free and well-ventilated in the future. Try not to pack clothes in too tightly, and make sure all clothes are clean and dry when folding away. You can also place activated charcoal in your closet space with, or instead of the baking soda – this can help absorb odors in your closet space(5) (6).

If your closet greets you with unpleasant, musty smells then you know only too well unpleasant smells can transfer onto your clothes, no matter how much detergent and fabric softener you use.


Scent and clothing reflect your personality and more importantly, your mood. The smells you encounter on a day-to-day basis can have more of an effect on your mood than you first thought. So if you’re not smelling your best, you’re not feeling your best.


See our range of Air Wick Solid Room Fresheners, perfect for tucking away in tight closet spaces. Solid room air fresheners carry no risk of spills, are perfectly suited to spaces with no power outlet.

Freshen Up Your Closet

Try our scented oil Fresh Linen fragrance. Fill your space with the refreshing aroma of freshly cleaned linen, perfect for your closet or any other space that needs a boost of freshness.  Air Wick© scented oils will last for up to 60 days (on low setting) to keep your home smelling great week after week.