Don’t Just Cover Up Musty Odors

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Dear Home-Ec 101,
My problem is that I keep towels that we have used in a closet until I do laundry at the end of the week, and I wanted to know if there is anything I could put inside the closet to keep down the musky smell until laundry day?
Musky in Muskogee

how to get rid of musty odors

Heather says:

There are countless things you could put in your closet to reduce the musty odor, but I don’t recommend any of them.

Why not simply cover up the smell of mildew?

You know that, fresh out of the shower feeling that goes completely away the second a funky towel touches your face? That is reason number one. Oh come on now, we’ve all had that experience, right? Yes, worrying about mildew and towels is totally a first world problem, but yuck. And hey, at least it is something I can help solve.

You solve the musty odor in the closet problem by not putting the towels in the closet while they are still wet.

Hang your towels until they are dry before storing them in a hamper or closet. It’s that simple.

Where you ask? You have a small apartment? I’ve said it before, real life isn’t tv set perfect, thankfully it’s also generally not quite reality show obnoxious, either. . . generally, but it does have its moments.

Use door knobs, doors, a chair back, a towel rack or coat hook. . . you see where I’m going with this, right? Bacteria and mold have a favorite place to grow and that would be in a damp, still, preferably dark environment. What is your current storage place? Damp, still, and dark. And the best part for the mildew is that it grows with spores, so the more you use the space to store damp laundry, the worse the problem will become.

Guide to Household Odors
Click the picture for lots more tips!

To help resolve any current funk, the best solution is to dry that closet thoroughly. DampRid is an option, as is leaving the door wide open and pointing a fan into the space until it is thoroughly dry.

Good luck and enjoy your fresh smelling towels.

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4 thoughts on “Don’t Just Cover Up Musty Odors”

  1. dehumidifier help? my father always had one running in the house when I was growing up, seemed to make the air smell better and keep the heat down.. now that you mention this I wonder if it also kept the mildew down as well.

    • A dehumidifier could absolutely help, but not if the door to the closet is shut and it’s full of wet towels. There won’t be enough airflow to get draw the humid air out of the closet. 🙂

      During the summer I use a dehumidifier in the master bathroom as it tends to get stay pretty damp.

  2. My laundry room is in the basement (alongside the water heater) and the humidity levels run well above 55%; if I do not run the dehumidifier on a regular basis.

    Instead of putting any damp clothing materials in a clothes hamper or closet, I hang them up above the washer to offer a quicker drying time and less time for mildew or mold spores to develop.

    Poor ventilation, low lighting and a consistent damp environment are conducive to mold and mildew growth.

    When a closed in closet has been subjected to higher levels of humidity and low light; the inside closet walls or drywall and carpet (if any) may also need to be examined for any mildew or mold growth as well.

    I have had excellent results using Damp Rid in my basement. And, I also place a tub of Damp Rid in my closet spaces and under the stairwell that adjoin the laundry room.

  3. This i more for a drawer, and for clothes that are dry when they go in, but I bought some rose incense from a local new age shop and it smells amazing. I wrapped it in a tissue and put in in the drawers and if smells sooooo good.


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