Why Do the Clothes in My Drawers Smell

We’ve all been there – you open up a drawer full of clothes and are met with an unpleasant smell. It’s a distinct and usually irritating aroma that seems to come from nowhere.

Sometimes it can be tough to track down the source of the odor, but there are a few common causes that might be at play. The most common reason is because of the way you’re storing them

In this post, I am going to show you some of the reasons your clothes might be smelling bad, as well as some tips on how to get rid of the smell once and for all. Read on to learn more!

What Causes the Clothes in the Drawers to Smell?

A few different things can cause the clothes in your drawers to smell. Here are some possible reasons that can cause your dresses to smell.

Lack of Air Circulation

One possibility is that your clothes are not getting enough air circulation. If your clothes are constantly crammed into a drawer, they may not be able to breathe, which can cause them to start to smell. If there isn’t enough airflow, the clothes can start to stink because they are trapped in a humid, stuffy environment.

Not Properly Washed

The main culprits of smelly drawers are sweat and body oils. One of the most common causes is simply not washing them often enough. If you don’t wash your clothes regularly, sweat and body odor can build up on the fabric and cause an unpleasant smell.

Sweaty clothes that are left in a drawer for too long can start to develop a musty smell. When you open a drawer and are welcomed by a musty smell, it’s likely due to a combination of sweat, body oils, and bacteria. The scent can linger even if you don’t wear the clothes often.

Your Pet Can Cause the Smell

If you have pets, their fur can get into the drawers and make the clothes smell bad. Even sometimes, pets will urinate in a drawer if they can access it, which will also lead to an unpleasant smell and make your dresses very dirty.

Humid Environment

Another common cause of smelly clothes is storing them in a humid environment. If your dresser is located in a bathroom or near a window, the moisture in the air can cause mold or mildew to grow on your clothes.

This can also lead to a musty smell. If the drawer is located near a source of strong odors, such as a garbage can, the clothes may start to pick up those odors as well.

Food and Drink Spilled on Dresses

If you have any food or drinks stored in your dresser, they may spill and cause the contents to stink. This is because something has been spilled on the clothes or in the drawer itself and has not been cleaned up properly.

Food or other organic matter can also start to decompose and cause an unpleasant smell. Be sure to keep your dresser clean and free of any potential food or drink spills to prevent this from happening. 

How to Get Rid of the Smell of Clothes in Drawers?

If you’re dealing with a musty smell in your clothes drawers, there are a few things you can do to get rid of it.

Let the Air Get into the Drawers

One is to ensure that the drawer is well-ventilated -keep the drawer slightly open when not in use to allow air circulation. If possible, place the drawer in direct sunlight for a few hours every so often to help disinfect and remove any lingering odors. Next, keep the drawer itself clean by vacuuming it out periodically and wiping it down with a damp cloth.

Use Fabric Freshener and Herbs

Ensure the drawer is clean before adding clothes; this means wiping down the inside and any runners or tracks. Next, add a sachet or potpourri to the drawer; lavender is known for its relaxing and refreshing scent.

Another is to put a sachet of fresh herbs in the drawer. You can also try spraying the inside of the drawers with a fabric refresher or lavender water.

Clean the Affected Area of your Drawer

Try sprinkling some baking soda on the affected area and letting it sit for a few hours. You can also try using a fabric freshener like Febreze. You may need to wash the affected area with a mild soap and water solution if the smell persists.

Be sure to dry the drawers entirely before putting your clothes back in them. Hang a small fabric bag filled with baking soda inside the drawer; this will absorb bad smells over time.

Wash Your Clothes Before Storing

Be sure to wash clothes before storing them in the drawer, as dirty laundry is a common source of bad smells. Periodically wash all clothing in the drawer, even if they don’t appear to be dirty. Laundry detergent and fabric softener can help mask any remaining odors.

If the drawer is part of a larger dresser, make sure to clean the rest of the piece as well to avoid smells coming back. 

What to Do If Your Clothes Still Smell Bad?

If you notice that your clothes still smell bad in your drawers, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the issue.

Dry Clothes Properly Before Storing

Dry all of your clothes completely before you put them away. They will mildew and start to stink if they are even slightly damp. Hang the clothing item in direct sunlight for a few hours.

Avoid storing your clothes in plastic bags or containers in damp conditions, as these can trap moisture and lead to musty odors. Moisture is one of the main causes of mildew, so it’s important to get rid of excess water before putting your clothes away.

Clean the Drawers Regularly

If your drawers are particularly prone to smells, consider keeping them clean with a weekly vinegar wipe-down. This will help kill any bacteria that might be causing the odor.

Try using some type of drawer liner or sachet to help absorb any moisture and odors. You can find these at most home goods stores. 

Wash Clothes Using Solutions

Soak the clothing item in a baking soda and water solution overnight. Then, spray the clothing item with a mixture of one part rubbing alcohol to one part water. You can wash clothes with vinegar and water to eliminate the bad smell and wash them more often.

Use Rack Instead of Drawer

Use a clothesline or drying rack to air out smelly clothes instead of storing them in a drawer. Store clothes in drawers made of materials that don’t trap smells, like wood or metal.Ensure the drawer is well-ventilated by opening it periodically or putting a small fan in it.

Tips for Preventing Clothes in Drawers from Smelling 

If you notice that the clothes in your drawers are beginning to smell, there are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening.

Wash and Dry Under Sunlight

One way to prevent clothes in your drawers from smelling is to keep them clean. Regularly wash and dry your clothes. This will help to remove any dirt or sweat that could be causing the smell. If possible, line dries them in the sun. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant and will help kill any bacteria that might be causing the smell. 

Use Containers to Store Dresses

Another tip is to keep your clothes in sealed containers. This will help to keep them fresh and free from any musty smells. Although you can find specialized boxes for clothes, you can also use plastic storage boxes with lids or airtight plastic bags to prevent smells from seeping in.

Use Dehumidifier

If you live in a humid climate, consider using a dehumidifier in your bedroom to help keep the air dry and prevent mold and mildew from growing. This will help to avoid moisture build-up, which can lead to mold and mildew growth and cause clothes to smell musty. Also, make sure to keep your drawers clean and free of clutter. It will prevent any smells from developing.

Take Professional Help

Contact a professional cleaner if you have any concerns about smells in your drawers after trying out all the DIY methods. They will be able to advise you on the best way to deal with the problem.

Take all the precautions and open your drawers regularly to allow air to circulate inside them. It will reduce the chance of developing musty smells. 

How to Store Clothes So That They Don’t Get Musty or Mildewy Over Time?

Like most people, you probably have a closet or dresser full of clothes that you never wear. But just because you don’t wear them doesn’t mean you should get rid of them. After all, you never know when you might need that little black dress or that white button-down shirt.

Store in a Cool and Dry Place

Store your clothes in a cool, dry place. A closet or dresser drawer is ideal. If you’re storing clothes in a storage unit or other enclosed space, be sure to use moisture-absorbing packets or silica gel packs to help keep the air dry.

Heat and light can cause the fabric to deteriorate over time, so keeping your clothes in a cool, dark closet or drawer is best.

Use Hanger

Use cedar hangers. Cedar is a natural moth repellent, so using these hangers can help keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Store in Breathable Material Bags

It is good to store your dresses in plastic bags and containers for a short period of time. But if you have a plan to store them for a longer time, then it’s best to store your fabric using some storage bag and containers that are made using breathable material and support air circulation. Look for cotton, linen, or other breathable storage bags.

Some Fun Facts about the Smell of Your Clothes

Let’s learn some amusing facts about body odor and how it gets in your clothes.

Smell Differs by Clothes and Body

Did you know that your clothes can actually tell a lot about your personal smell? In fact, the way we smell is often determined by the type of clothing we wear. For example, people who wear a lot of wool tend to have a musky smell, while those who wear cotton or polyester tend to be more neutral-smelling.

Even the way we wash our clothes can affect how they smell. For example, people who use scented laundry detergent or fabric softener often have clothing that smells fresher and cleaner than those who don’t.

Dress Smell Brings Back Our Memories

Interestingly, our sense of smell is also closely linked to our emotions and memories. This is why certain smells can instantly bring back happy (or not so happy) memories. It’s also why we often associate certain smells with people or places.

The Smell is Created by Bacteria

Bacteria actually create the smell in your clothes. These bacteria are attracted to sweat and other body fluids, and they break down these substances into various acids. These acids then interact with the fabric of your clothing to create that characteristic body odor.

Different people have dissimilar types of bacteria on their skin, which explains why some people seem to produce more body odor than others.

Foods Affect Your Body Odor

Certain foods and medications can also affect the way your body smells. For example, garlic and onions can make your sweat smell stronger, while antiperspirants and deodorants can mask body odor.

So, the next time you catch a whiff of your body odor, don’t be too quick to blame it on your clothes. Instead, it’s probably just the result of some food you had previously.

Some People Sensitive to Smell

Some people are overwhelmingly sensitive to smells than others. There is a lot of person with a condition called hyperosmia, who may be able to smell things that other people can’t.

Final Thoughts

Clothes in drawers can start to smell for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s because the clothes are dirty and haven’t been washed in a while. Other times, it might be because the drawer isn’t getting enough air circulation. And sometimes, the odor is caused by bacteria or mildew.

If your clothes start to smell bad, you can do a few things to get rid of the smell. First, you can try airing out the clothes by leaving them outside on a sunny day or putting them in the dryer on high heat for a short period of time. You can also wash the clothes with some vinegar or baking soda. 

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