How To Store Clothes To Prevent Mold - 7 Effective Tips

Discover preventative wardrobe storage fixes using dehumidifiers, airflow circulation, cedar sachets and more to stop musty stenches ruining your favorite garments.

February 8, 2024
min read
Subscribe to our blog and get a FREE Red Cedar Sachet.
a piece of cedar wood on top of cedar chippings
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Shipping rates apply. £1.95 UK, £4.95 Other
In this article:

Fighting that dreaded musty smell when unpacking stored clothing requires understanding what environmental factors enable mold taking hold ruining fabrics in the first place. Follow essential wardrobe and seasonal storage tips guarding against costly mold damage of precious apparel investments long term.

What Causes the Moisture?

Clothing packed away wet or stored in damp spaces generates excess moisture residues perfect for opportunistic molds sporing and spreading across fabric fibers. But what makes closet microclimates so prone amplifying risks this happens out of sight?

Poor ventilation trapping stuffiness allows relative humidity climbing over 60% creating dampness on surfaces. Stagnant air also prevents effective evaporation essential dispersing moisture from wet gear properly.

Leakage and floods pose obvious trigger risks less noticeable than condensation forming once warmer outdoor air contacts colder interior walls and seeps into rooms overnight. Paints or wall paneling barriering insulation can exacerbate chilled wall interface zones prone causing issues.

Basements and attics make convenient but risky clothing storage spots long term without proper moisture regulation. Being underground or spaces under poorly insulted raked ceilings enhances condensation contact driving humidity levels too high.

The mildew smell results from molds releasing chemicals called microbial volatile organic compounds or mVOCs creating that nasty 'musty odor' alongside actively colonizing across polymeric textile fibers, cardboard boxes even timber products over time.

By understanding the environmental factors encouraging mold footholds, storage areas better protect precious clothes using savvy preventative fixes onwards.

The Mildew Smell

Ever noticed that instantly unpleasant damp stale smell hitting nostrils when grabbing stored sweaters from a basement chest left untouched for months?

Chances are mold spores already settled across forgotten wardrobe items or cardboard packaging during sedentary storage periods. Unchecked humidity enabled microscopic mold colonies etching destructive expansion plans crossing otherwise pristine surfaces.

Responsible for slowly breaking down organic matter naturally, molds release waste byproducts like carbon dioxide we cannot smell. But trace amounts of more volatile metabolites get produced too - specifically microbial volatile organic compounds interacting on fabric interrupt long molecular chains destroying structural integrity over time.

It's these trace mVOCs creating the musty ‘mildew' stench announcing mold’s insidious presence thriving among beloved clothes, linens or textile stashes thinking them safely packed away clean perfect for next season's wearing.

Unfortunately once that distinct odor presents itself, mold already found conducive conditions setting about their fabric feasting unchecked...

woman worried about wardrobe mold

Make Sure Clothes Are Completely Dry Before Storing in Closets

Moisture retention amongst stored clothing poses biggest risks enabling mold infestations taking hold out of sight. Drying methodology before storage makes a massive difference preventing this.

Use dryer heat finishing smaller wardrobe loads avoiding any leftover dampness that might transfer into closets or drawers. Moisture trapped against fabric fibers kickstarts problems. If line drying instead, give items extra day insurance by fluffing and rehanging pieces bringing indoors before night moisture possibly reintroduces itself through air contact.

Shake out bigger woolen pieces like sweaters and blankets before folding too dislodging any humidity trapped inside fibers.

Consider moisture wicking hangers and storage bins preventing condensation forming externally and impacting clothes. Breathable fabric lids do better than solid plastic trapping stale air against garments. And cedar wood draws moisture naturally repelling moths too.

The goal is ensuring zero pre-existing humidity journeys into storage spaces alongside dry seasonal clothes cosseted for months on end. Mold needs moisture so don't gift any unnecessarily!

Use Silica Gel Packets to Absorb Moisture

Those little ‘do not eat’ gel sachets frequently found among packaged clothing accessories and new shoes serve an important moisture protection purpose ideal for wardrobe storage boxes. 5 grams of colored bead-filled desiccant can absorb 40% of its own weight in atmospheric moisture makes tiny but mighty wardrobe allies.

Silica gel's extreme hygroscopic prowess results from a porous honeycomb molecular structure attracting and capturing water vapor easily. Just a few sachets tossed inside storage bins inhibit spore propagation depriving mold forming abilities.

Recharge indicating crystals work multiple times too. Nontoxic silica beads change color signaling saturation. Simply drying packets in oven reactivates moisture absorbency so pods get reused instead of immediately trashed protecting stored fabrics and leathers long term.

While too small alone eliminating existing moisture reservoirs or leaks, strategically tossing moisture grabbing gel packs among vulnerable heirloom garments, gloves and hats offsets risks keeping horded hand-me-downs free from deterioration through generations more.

Cheap bright packets buy peace of mind that treasured wool, silk or cashmere pieces avoid becoming tragic lunch for ravenous mold colonies detected too late.

Install a Dehumidifier in Your Wardrobe

Portable dehumidifiers effectively battling moisture accumulation in damp basements and attics also earn merits placed strategically inside larger wardrobes or walk in closets protecting extensive apparel investments against pernicious mold seeking silent footholds.

Whether freestanding full size models pumping extracted quarts (liters) into buckets or smaller thermoelectric peltier units suited smaller storage spaces, appreciate specifications suiting your needs choosing best solutions.

Pay attention PET plastic bucket capacities, tankless or continuous drainage options, humidistat sensors intelligently gauging ideal percentages without frost risks plus noise levels and energy efficiency factors suiting spaces utilized.

Most importantly ensure units appropriately sized respective overall room volumes or closets accommodating garments needing protection. Undersized models won't cope adequately while oversized dehumidifiers cycling excessively stress components burning out fast becoming costly paperweights instead.

Once correctly installed maintaining 40-45% relative humidity – levels impossible for molds proliferating in - inspect stored fabrics regularly safeguarding hard won mold free storage equilibrium delicately balanced preventing gradual damage going unnoticed.

Dehumidifiers offer reliable mechanical assistance controlling ambient moisture risks but handling cleanliness and maintenance aspects fall on us. But the mold proof peace of mind is priceless for beloved seasonal wardrobes or specialty textiles protection.

Keep Your Closet Door Open, Even When You’re Not in the Room

Beyond mechanical interventions tackling moisture encouraging mold takeovers on stored clothes, simple airflow fixes help enormously working with natural environmental conditions combatting problems at source prevents issues arising rather than mitigating dampness after its already an issue.

Leaving closets housing susceptible off-season items like woolens open routinely prevents air stagnation trapping stuffy stillness encouraging particles clinging to fabric weaves as condensation eventually builds up over time untouched.

Maintaining ventilation airflow denies spore proliferation cycles crucial footholds in first place. Drip drying contained dampness also dissipates freely escaping limited spaces before microbes sense conducive surroundings colonizing exterior surfaces unchecked

Similarly consider leveraging cross ventilation opportunities wherever seasonal gear resides tucked out of mind for lengthy durations. Even basement and attics benefit locating containers along natural draught flows wafting through barriers. No area remains immune so consciously limiting dead air around stored clothes eliminates another vulnerability dampness thrives within initiating unwelcome infestations.

Keep internal doors ajar aiding precious indoor cubic meter refresh rates. External covering weather strips block insects not free flowing breezes able to lift staler layers lingering where fabrics lay sealed. Work with architecture aiding freshness. Let closets breath easy again!

rearranging clothes

Rearrange Your Clothes So They Aren’t Packed Tightly Together

Overstuffed wardrobes crammed chaotically brimming with garments limit essential air circulation drying surfaces crucial preventing moist environments molding microbes adore establishing within. Consider storage logistics keeping clothes fresher.

Ideally position hanging rails at maximum capacities leaving reasonable garment separations and evenly distribute drawer contents too. Avoiding compression packing bulging textiles tightly together allows humidity dissipation from fibers and fabrics instead slowly becoming damp reservoirs.

Similarly consolidate overfolded piles into roomier shelved containers lined with acid free tissue layers. Even budget muslin or calico barriers create breathable spacers protecting crease prone fabrics like dresses and preventing sensitive beading or sequins snagging during handling. Natural cloths also wick minor humidity away from material surfaces minimizing risks. Just ensure adequately thick weaves pose decent mold barriers alone initially.

Only hang lengthier specialty garments like bridal gowns and heavy coats using well-spaced wider hangers preventing shoulder dents over time. Synthetic covered cushioned hooks prevent metal rusting onto fabric too. Then stuff body cavities with buffered acid free tissue helping shapes keep form while absorbing environmental humidity internally over months cosseted into storage spots out of mind. Handle fastidiously preventing pointless damages downstream eventually.

Install Plastic-Coated Shelves in Your Closet So Moisture Doesn’t Build Up

Even solid wooden shelving and storage chests risk slight moisture damage prolifically manifesting during lengthy seasonal storage gaps where things lie forgotten allowing spores silently advance across beloved but abandoned belongings. But some proactive steps reduce risks considerably.

Seeking out plastic coated shelving introduces non-porous surfaces better repelling ambient humidity building gradually in still undisturbed spaces. Mop and dust rigorously before loading clothes eliminating dust and debris offering organic matter boosting mold growths indirectly across areas.

Metal racks and modular plastic storage cubes add affordable robust options configurable suiting needs that wipe over easily with mold killing solutions periodically during access. Consider incorporating electric plug-ins around the perimeter to further moderate risks constantly.

Where possible, lift stored textiles completely off floors onto elevated grids allowing better under airflow. Similarly raise boxes onto wooden pallets or concrete paved tiles preventing dampness seeping into packaging long term storage supplied gratis to colonizers lurking below.

Remember moth larvae cheerily cohabit alongside mold and mildew colonies drawn towards gravitational moisture sinking into places hardest assessing until too late. So consciously drying out such lucrative microclimates denies free food sources cueing infestations down the line eventually.

Use Cedar Wood Chipping Sachets to Absorb the Extra Moisture

Aside from structural and spatial concessions managing seasonal storage risks, introducing natural humidity regulation solutions makes perfect sense without chemicals or electricity doing the job just as effectively long term.

Fragrant cedar wood shavings bundled into small permeable muslin sachets work wonders keeping mold causing moisture at bay while lending a pleasant aroma to stored clothing layers. Famed for natural repelling properties chasing moths away too, red cedar bags placed around susceptible fabrics manage humidity splendidly.

The porous cellular structure of cedar timber absorbs ambient water vapor readily without over drying delicate materials immediately pressed against them. But the moisture regulating action discourages dump environments continuing surrounding clothes gunning for trouble otherwise. Just shake cedar sachets outdoors routinely reversing accumulations for sustained protection newly vulnerable apparel again.

For quick deployments against detected leaks suddenly introducing excess threatening moisture, spread cedar wood chips across effected zones swiftly mopping excess puddles safely denying mold feeding grounds taking hold. Their high lignin oil content inhibits fungal growths gaining momentum on many naturally vulnerable fabric surfaces broadly. Just ensure speedy intervention before spore propagations accelerate past nibbling perimeter footholds!

Either teamed with other suggestions combating untenable humidity levels organizationally or alone free of technological trappings, fragrant cedar wood chippings or sachets conserve treasured textile investments begging to be spoiled impatiently by moisture mold microbes menacingly awaiting opportunities flourishing first signs of weakness literally feeding them! So swap synthetic solutions with an eco-friendly biodegradable ally tolerating most skin types and budgets seasonally.


Guarding beloved seasonal garments or specialty textiles from mold damage simply requires accepting ambient humidity poses ever present risks needing diligent mitigation through preventative measures or swift strategic responses minimizing costly damage once environments begin deteriorating uncontrolled.

Acknowledge moisture lies at the heart of all mold and mildew explosions impacting cherished fabrics disastrously if left unchecked during lengthy storage periods lying forgotten stuffed out of mind. Then commit responding appropriately addressing proactively through airflow improvements, desiccation assistance scientifically or common sense layering logistics giving spores no chances gaining footholds silently across treasured heirlooms under trusted guardianship secure safe keeping.

It pays staying vigilant against microscopic adversaries opportunistically seeking destructive nourishment on inert legacy treasures unless consciously denied ideal proliferation conditions from the outset. So be prepared conserving what cannot be easily replaced if unexpected flooding suddenly inundates storage sanctuaries Merely imagining the worst case scenario motivates reasonable readiness responses reality could manifest testing anytime through simple twists of fate. Plan to prevail denying mold winning representation among artifacts carrying personal privilege through time for lifetimes beyond initial curation clearly.

Back to blog
Share this article

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.

Other articles you might like

Shop Natural Red Cedar Mothballs

Pick your bundle based on your home size. You can always add extra blocks, rings and sachets.