General Question

suzyq2463's avatar

Why do clothes get that musty smell in the closet?

Asked by suzyq2463 (2224points) April 21st, 2009

I store winter clothes in a different closet during spring and summer and switch out clothes in the fall. The clothes in the “storage closet” get this nasty smell and I always have to wash them before I wear them. The clothes in my “in use” closet never get that smell, even if I don’t wear them regularly. Is it because the door gets opened and shut regularly on the “in use” closet but not on the storage closet? What makes the smell anyway?

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8 Answers

SeventhSense's avatar

Musty smells usually have to do with moisture and high humidity levels. If it’s in a basement that’s most likely the case. Consider that a dehumidifier might help in that room regardless of its location. You can also use cedar lined draws, chests or cedar chips in the closet to absorb moisture and give a nice pleasant woody smell.

suzyq2463's avatar

@SeventhSense We live in West Texas where there’s nothing, including humidity. Really. Dust is more common than rain. No basement either. This closet isn’t even on an outer wall or close to a water source. So, I doubt it’s a humidity thing, at least not in my situation.

SeventhSense's avatar

So maybe it’s just stale air that’s not circulating. I think the absolute best solution for storage is those vacuum sealed bags. You suck all the air out and they are watertight. When they come out they’re fresh as a daisy. And in addition they’re so compact you can store tons in a small space.

MacBean's avatar

You’d smell funny, too, if you were stuffed in a small space with poor air circulation for a long time!

Larry's avatar

This is not a moisture issue. I have fought this for years. I think it is a question of skin oils on fabrics that don’t get completely removed in the laundry. With exposure to oxygen, the oils oxidize and get an irritating (smelly) quality. Oxidized oils are associated with the rancid taste and smell in vegetable oil. I’m still working on this, but I think I’m making some progress. Anyone else actively working on this? I hope so.


SeventhSense's avatar

I’m working on the “why asparagus makes your pee smell” but I’m a rebel. ~_~

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