7 Ways How to Keep Clothes Smelling Fresh in Storage

Keep your stored clothes and linens smelling fresh with these 7 tips - invest in moisture absorbing products like cedar blocks, and scented sachets to place inside bins and closets.

February 8, 2024
min read
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Why Do Clothes Smell After Long Storage?

Clothes can develop musty, stale, damp odours after being packed away in storage for a while. This is often caused by moisture getting trapped within fabrics and storage containers. Areas with excess humidity allow mold and mildew growth, which leads to bad smells permeating clothing, linens and other textiles.

Bacteria and dust mites also accumulate over time, breaking down fibers and organic debris within fabrics to produce foul odours. Plastic bins and garment bags can seal in existing sweat, oils, and grime if items weren’t washed first. Improper ventilation and tightly crammed storage spaces further lock in unwanted stenches.

Following proper clothing storage methods helps avoid strong unwanted odours from developing while keeping garments and fabrics smelling fresh. Implementing moisture control, using odour eliminating products, regularly airing out contents, and cleanly storing clean articles are all effective ways to maintain pleasant scents.

1. Use a Dehumidifier

Using a dehumidifier prevents humid conditions that breed smelly bacteria and mold growths. Portable electric or rechargeable dehumidifiers efficiently extract excess moisture from the air and condense it into tanks for easy draining. Just close storage unit doors after placing an appropriately sized dehumidifier inside.

For entire rooms, attics and basements, continuous pumping dehumidifiers will perpetually regulate optimal humidity levels down to 45-50%. This deprives mold colonies of needed moisture to multiply while limiting musty stenches within fabrics. Replace dehumidifier filters regularly so the units run efficiently at full odour fighting strength.

2. Store Clothes With Deodoriser

It’s imperative to only store clean clothes and linens that have been freshly washed devoid of existing odours. Machine or hand wash clothing with laundry detergent alternative products that use plant based enzymes and oils for gentle, hypoallergenic odour removal instead of irritating perfumes.

White vinegar or vodka work wonderfully for removing stubborn funky smells too.

Make sure to fully machine dry items on high heat or hang outside in direct sunlight to prevent any lingering moisture and eliminate hidden mildew. Consider professionally dry cleaning coats, suits and delicates using non-toxic methods beforehand.

well organized clothes on rack

3. Pack With Dryer Sheets

Toss individual dryer sheets in between layers of clothing as a simple odour absorbing barrier. Dryer sheets infused with fresh linen and cotton scents adsorb smelly compounds and bad odours through negative ion exchanges. The cleaner scents take over to leave a light tropical breeze or morning laundry aroma embedded within fabrics.

Over time the pleasant fragrances will fade but the protective odour neutralizing effects remain intact. Periodically air out contents to restore potency. For stained or smelly shirt collars and armpits, pin dryer sheets securely in place to concentrate treatment. Moth repelling cedar blocks and scented charcoal packs also keeps mells at bay.

4. Protect with Cedar Wood & Natural Oils

Essential oils like lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, cedarwood and lavender make fantastic natural odour eliminators for fabric storage. Just sprinkle a few drops directly onto clothing or cotton balls before sealing storage containers. The cleansing anti-fungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial volatile compounds prevent mildew and stinky feet smells from taking over.

For a concentrated solution, add several teaspoons of preferred essential oils into a spray bottle filled with purified or distilled water. Mist the oil infused water over stored items’ surfaces. The fresh notes will remain intact for months. You can also hang cotton pads soaked in oils or place open dishes filled with a water/oil mix inside storage bins.

5. Include Cedar Wood Chipping Sachets

Red Cedar Wood Sachets infused with cedar fragrances is commonly used for archival storage to preserve historical textiles and fabrics. The quality cedar adds a protective barrier that absorbs harmful pollutants and prevents oxidation while emitting a fresh aroma. This also prevents direct contact between stored items.

Tuck individual pieces of fragranced Cedar Sachets between clothing layers and blankets. Use it to line storage bins and box bottoms before loading them up. The earthly, cedarwood and other perfume notes transfer mildly onto contents. After unloading boxes, reuse the sachets for future storage purposes or composting.

6. Use Cedar Wood Clothes Hangers

Outfit closets with moth and odour repelling cedar wood clothing and suit hangers. The rich aromatic red cedar timber releases natural oils called thymoquinones that strongly resist moths, mildew and general foul stenches. Redolent cedar boards and planks are traditionally used to line attic rooms, chests, basements and garment boxes for protective fumigation.

The strong cedar scent forms an invisible shield on fabric surfaces to prevent future odours. Cedar oil properties also eliminate existing musty smells that get trapped within fibers. Over time the aromatic potency diminishes so occasionally restore revitalizing oils by sanding cedar down or leaving pieces in bright sunlight. Keep using the restored cedar wood hangers and planks for lasting effects.

wardrobe full of organized clothes

7. Properly Store Clothing

Clothes maintained loosely stuffed together without structure promotes microbial growth and prevents airflow circulation. Make sure all stored clothing articles have been thoroughly laundered without lingering stains, debris or odour issues beforehand. Use space efficiently by folding garments uniformly to maximize air pockets rather than overstuffing areas.

Try items categorized by type within breathable unsealed cotton storage bags. Wrap coats and suits in cotton garment bags with cedar plank inserts. Swap out plastic bins and cardboard boxes for wood crates and cedar chests lined with activated charcoal pouches. Open lids and doors periodically to air units out and redistribute contents. Keeping fabrics clean, dry and uniformly spaced is key for fresh scents.

Freshen Up Clothing After Removing It From Storage

Despite meticulous preventative storage precautions, garments and linens can still absorb ambient musty odours over time. After removing stored clothes and textiles after prolonged periods, inspect for any mildew spots and launder again with enzymatic cleaners if necessary. For quicker touch ups between washes, use these simple freshening methods:

  • Hang clothing outdoors and let sunlight and fresh air naturally restore vibrancy. Turn pieces inside out periodically.
  • Stuff small damp washcloths with lemon and thyme into shoes and bags overnight to deodorize interiors.
  • Hand steam clothing with an essential oil infused steamer to eliminate odours trapped deep within fabrics.
  • Lightly spritz vinegar or vodka over clothes and let air dry to help break down stubborn lingering stenches.
  • Sprinkle carpets and curtains with borax powder before vacuuming to lift odours from fibers and underlayers

With watchful storage hygiene and periodic air circulation, clothing and textiles can stay pleasant smelling for years saved in storage bins waiting to be worn again!

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About Wood Blocks

Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge to curate a wardrobe that not only reflects your personal style but also aligns with environmentally friendly practices. From exploring the wonders of natural mothballs and sustainable garment storage to diving deep into DIY solutions and green living, we're here to guide you on a journey towards a more eco-conscious, stylish, and intentional lifestyle.

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