16 answers

Getting Rid of Musty Smell in Closet

Hi everyone,
Our downstairs closet, which houses most of our coats (except for a very few we keep outside on hooks), has the most disgusting musty smell. We use moth balls in it to "help" the odor, and that's in quotes because we're not sure what to call the true effect the moth balls have on the smell in there. Weird, worse, definitely not improved at all. One of the worst things is that when I wear one of the coats from the closet I walk around giving off this odor. Hate it. I'd appreciate any suggestions for making that closet smell pleasant. I suspect that is a two-part project: first, getting rid of the horrid odor; second, getting a pleasant fragrance in there to STAY. Any ideas? Thanks.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

This is a bit late, but I had the same problem and after I cleaned it out (there was some mold on the inside of the door), I hung Damp Rid. The crystals absorb the odor and it is working very well. No more smells. I found it at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Don't know how to get rid of the smell, but Damp Rid will keep the smells at bay.

Actually, Bac-Out cleaner by Biokleen is great for eliminating odors. Might try that!

More Answers

Hi, when we were looking for a dehumidifier we found these packs you can hang in closets called UltrZorb. Our hardware store carries them. They absorb humidity and you throw them out after while. This website has them: http://www.dampsolutions.com.au/catalog/index.php/cPath/6
I would clean out the closet, wash or air out the coats, leave it empty for a few days to see if the smell goes away. If not, you could have a dead rodent in the walls. Could also be mold inside the framing if there is some way for moisture to get in there (a leak from a bathroom above). Then you might have to break through the plaster to check what it going on. Good luck!

You can purchase cartons of moisture absorbing crystals at Walmart. The musty smell probably comes from too much moisture in the closet. If you eliminate the moisture, the musty smell should disappear.

I suggest investing in some cedar planks, it will both get rid of the smell AND give it a subtle pleasant fragrance. Best of all, no chemicals involved (unlike mothballs). You don't have to refinish the whole closet in cedar planks, but of course just putting in some cedar balls or hangers would not be enough. Depending on the size of your closet, I would put anywhere from 5-10 square feet of cedar there. Hope that is a helpful suggestion.

T., first take everything out of the closet to determine if it is something in the closet, or the closet itself. It's possible there is an old coat or shoe (that you forget was in there) that is the offender. If that's not it, then once everything is out, clean the closet and see what it is like the next day. If the odor is still there, you might have a problem under it in the basement or crawl space.

Good luck!

So after reading your question and the 2 responses, at the time there were 2, I think both ideas are great but for keeping a nice smell in there I would put drier sheets in the closet. I personally love the way they smell and if you get the ones mixed with febreeze it's just a bonus. I have a small boxes in my closets and they all smell amazing and I never run out of drier sheets. :)

This is a bit late, but I had the same problem and after I cleaned it out (there was some mold on the inside of the door), I hung Damp Rid. The crystals absorb the odor and it is working very well. No more smells. I found it at Bed Bath and Beyond.

First you have to clean out the closet by removing all the coats, jackets , etc... out of the closet. Then gets some pure fresh Pine Sol and wiped down the closet real good and after you finish then spray the inside with Licesol germs, smell removal spray! Before you put all the coats and Jackets back in the closet either wash them or take them to the cleaners so the old musty smell can come out the coats and jackets! Let me know how things go!!

First, empty the closet out totally and make sure there is nothing growing in there from wet stuff, like if you stick boots in the bottom of the closet, or if wet mittens or scarves got thrown in etc. Clean the closet walls and floor with a solution of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 hot water. Let it try completely before you put anything back. Unless you really like the smell of mothballs (I hate it!) I would stay away from those because that smell really clings to clothes. Next, wash the jackets you can, spray the ones you can't with febreze and hang them outside for a while if you can.
You can get air fresheners for closets that hang on the bar, use boxes of baking soda in the corners, or both.

Our closet in the front hall got that smell and we discovered that the porch roof was leaking into the closet and there was actually mold growing in the back where we couldn't see it! Gross! Vinegar works great to get rid of odors and it's really inexpensive. If you find you have a bad and visible mold issue, use bleach and water 1/10 solution. DO NOT mix your chemicals, use either bleach or a cleanser, not both! That can make toxic fumes! You sure don't want to do that. Good luck.

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