How to keep clothes fresh in storage

How to Keep Clothes Fresh in Storage – 5 Easy DIY Methods ( January – 2024 )

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Are you tired of opening the storage box or closet only to be hit with a stale and musty smell? If not stored properly, clothes will become smelly. I struggled for years with parting ways with my clothes as I did not know how to store them properly.

But after some trial and error, I have finally found ways to keep clothes fresh in storage, and I’m here to share them with you. So worry not, my fellow clothes hoarders. In this in-depth article, I will share some tips and tricks for preparing clothes for storage and methods for keeping clothes fresh in storage.

Before we move on to the methods of “how to keep clothes fresh in storage, it is important to know, “why do clothes smell after being stored?”

Why do Clothes Smell After Being Stored?

There are several reasons why clothes smell after being stored. Some of the main culprits are:

  • Lack of air circulation: When you store your clothes in a sealed container or a tight and closed space, air circulation is limited, which can trap odors and cause them to become stronger over time.
  • Humidity: High humidity is another reason why clothes become smelly in storage. High humidity can cause mold & mildew to grow over fabrics which can result in musty or damp odors.
  • Stains: Not cleaning the clothes properly before storage is a mistake many people make, and as a result, the stains present on the clothes can cause an odor to develop over time.
  • Pests: Moths and other pests can cause damage to fabrics and leave behind smells.

In a nutshell, the combination of all these factors, such as lack of air circulation, absorption of odors, and presence of pests, can cause a bad smell in the clothes that have been in storage.

Related Article: How To Freshen Clothes That Have Been In Storage

Preparing Clothes for Storage

The first step in keeping clothes fresh in storage is to clean and launder the clothes. This is where the keeping fresh process actually starts; as mentioned above, no proper cleaning before storage is one of the main reasons for smelly clothes.

Cleaning and laundering the clothes will ensure that clothes are dirt free, odorless and it will also protect the clothes from potential damage.

While cleaning the clothes to be stored, make sure to read the care labels. Use a suitable detergent and the right water temperature to prevent the clothes from any harm.

Another measure to be taken while preparing clothes for storage include repairing any damages and tears.

Deodorize & Clean Storage Space

Before storing the clothes, it is essential to ensure that the storage space is neat, clean, and odor-free. Cleaning & deodorizing the place where the clothes are going to be stored is a crucial step in keeping the clothes fresh in storage. Here’s how to do it:  

  1. Clean the place by removing dirt, dust, and cobwebs.
  2. Use any natural odor remover, such as vinegar and baking soda, to remove any lingering odor.
  3. Use essential oils such as lavender, lemon, or peppermint oil, mix a few drops of oil with water and spray it in the storage area to freshen it up.
  4.  You can also use air freshener & scented candles.
  5. Allow fresh air to circulate in the storage space before storing your clothes. 

How To Keep Clothes Fresh In Storage

Now that the clothes are cleaned, laundered, and repaired, and the storage space is also cleaned and deodorized, it’s time to store the clothes. To keep the clothes fresh and free from unwanted odors and pests, here are a few simple tried and tested methods you can try:

Storing Clothes in a Well-ventilated Area

Now that the storage space is clean & odorless, the first step in keeping the clothes fresh in storage is to ensure that the area is well-ventilated.

For this purpose, you can use containers with lids that allow proper air circulation. You can also install a small exhaust fan in the storage area to provide fresh air and get rid of humidity, making the area less musty.

Other than that, choose racks and desks that are open to air circulation and allow air around the clothes to keep them fresh in storage.

The clothes should not be directly exposed to sunlight or humidity as it will result in making the clothes smelly.

Natural Fresheners

Now that the place of storage is all set. Other methods to freshen clothes in storage include placing sachets filled with natural fresheners such as cedar chips or lavender in the storage to keep clothes fresh.

Cedar chips and lavender are also natural pests repellent that can help in keeping away moths and other insects from damaging the clothes. You can place cedar chips in a container or a small pouch and lavender in a sachet.

These are also natural fresheners, so they will surely make the clothes fresh and smell good in storage.

Scented sachet hanging in a closet full of clothes

Use Dryer Sheets

You can also add scented dryer sheets between layers of clothes or in the storage container or cupboard. Keep in mind that a dryer sheet will make your clothes scented, so choose your favorite scent before placing them with the clothes.

Use a Dehumidifier

Weather conditions and humidity are one of the main reasons for foul odor in stored clothes. Purchasing a dehumidifier can be the best way to get rid of humidity and keep your clothes fresh. A dehumidifier will help keep your clothes fresh in the following three ways:

  1. Remove humidity 
  2. Keep mold and mildew from growing 
  3. Make the environment less hospitable to moths.

It might be challenging to manage electric supply for dehumidifiers in the storage space. Still, it is worth the effort as using dehumidifiers to eliminate the odor is the best measure to make the clothes fresh and safe in storage.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has many beneficial properties, one of which is absorbing odors. You can simply place a small box or jar of baking soda in a container, bag or cupboard wherever you store your clothes.

It will help by absorbing the odor and moisture, keeping the environment better for storage. You can change the baking soda box every month. Using baking soda really helps in keeping the clothes fresh in storage.

Scented Tissue Papers

If you want your signature scent to stick to your clothes, using scented tissue papers to keep your clothes fresh is the best option. For preparing scented tissues, all you need to do is : 

  • Pick an acid-free plain tissue paper 
  • Pick your favorite perfume 
  • Apply the perfume on tissue paper 
  • Let it dry 
  • Place these scented tissue papers in between your clothes while storing them. 

This method is clearly the people’s choice and my favorite also, as it makes your clothes smell like you for a long time. Also, if you ever get bored of that one smell, you can use another perfume or multiple perfumes to make all of your clothes smell different. 

Place Soap Bar

Pick a scented soap bar for this purpose and place it with your clothes in the storage. The soap bar will spread a pleasant aroma and deodorize the storage place as well as the clothes.

But make sure that you wrap the soap bar in a thin fabric. Wrapping a thin piece of cloth around the soap bar will prevent the clothes from staining. This is an easy and economical method to freshen up your clothes in storage.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your clothes fresh in storage is vital to maintain their good condition and longevity. By adequately preparing your clothes before storage and using proper methods for keeping clothes fresh in storage, you will be ready to wear your clothes right after you take them out of storage.

By placing clothes in a well-ventilated area and using other methods mentioned in the article you can keep clothes fresh in storage. But while following these tips and tricks, it is also important to check the clothes occasionally to ensure that they are still fresh and protected from any kind of dirt, germs, mold, and mildew.