How to Make a Closet Smell Good

A closet that smells less than fresh may be the last place you'd like to keep your clothing. Instead of plugging your nose as you look for an outfit for the day, freshen the closet by first dealing with the source of the odor. Once the closet has been freed from the funk, add sachets of your favorite air-freshening scents to keep the closet smelling its best.

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Find the Source of Foul Odors

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A quick whiff of the closet air can help you figure out what's responsible for the smell. If the closet reeks of wet, stinky shoes, take all the shoes out of the closet and perform an unpleasant but much-needed sniff test. A hamper full of dirty laundry may also be to blame. If the air just doesn't smell quite fresh but you aren't sure why, go through the items in the closet and remove any clothing or shoes that are not clean; dirty clothing shouldn't be hung among clean items -- nothing nearby will smell fresh.

Deodorize the Space

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You need to clean the closet out and deodorize it before you can make it smell nice, otherwise your efforts merely mask the foul odors rather than remove them. Remove everything from the closet floor and shelves. Sprinkle baking soda on the closet's carpeting, if the floor is carpeted, and then vacuum it after 30 minutes or longer. Spritz shelves, a hard floor and even the walls with a fine mist of a homemade deodorizer such as 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a cup of water, along with 5 drops of your favorite essential oil, such as a citrus or peppermint oil. Wipe the surfaces with a dry cloth after spraying them to both clean and freshen the space. Place all the clean items back in the closet; wash or deodorize items that don't smell very good before storing them.

Fresh and Dry

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To keep the closet smelling its best -- whether you add a fragrance or not -- the air inside it must be relatively dry. Even if you run an air conditioner or dehumidifier nearby, the closet door may keep excess humidity trapped in the closet. Open the closet door at least every other day for half an hour or so, or leave it opened slightly each day while you're out doing other things. Excess humidity and stagnant air in a dark space leads to musty odors and potentially worse -- mold and mildew.

Adding Fragrance

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Now that the closet is clean, keep it smelling fresh and wonderful using scents that you enjoy. Make a closet spray by filling a small spray bottle most of the way with water, then adding a few drops of essential oil such as lavender, orange or lemon. For a longer-lasting fragrance, place a few cinnamon sticks in a jar with a holed lid, or add drops of an essential oil or fragrance oil to a cotton ball before placing it in a similar jar.