What Can I Use to Get Rid of Odor in My Closets?

Updated February 21, 2017

Even if you wash or dry clean your clothes frequently, in time, your closet can take on an unpleasant odour. The first thing to do is identify the smell. Then try easy and inexpensive solutions to eliminate the smell, whether it's a musty, foul smell; a damp smell; smoke; or clothes that have captured kitchen smells from cooking foods. Open windows or turn on a fan after using techniques to remove smells from your closet to give it a good airing out.

Baking Soda

Just as baking soda is used to remove refrigerator odours, it can do the same thing for your closets. Sprinkle baking soda on the floors of the closet (whether hardwood, tile or carpet) and allow it to sit overnight. Keep the closet doors open to allow the closet to air out. The baking soda will absorb smells and oils. The next day, sweep away the baking soda or vacuum the carpet.


Vinegar will remove odours including smoke smells if you or someone in your home is a smoker. Take a small bowl and fill it with vinegar. Place the bowl in a corner of the closet and leave it there for several days. The vinegar will absorb the smells in the closet.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is also efficacious in absorbing orders. If you prefer a citrus smell, place a bowl of lemon juice in a bowl inside of the closet. It may take a bit longer to act, but it will be effective. Place a fresh bowl in the closet each time you clean your house to keep closet odours at bay.

Potpourri Sachets

Potpourri sachets are an easy and decorative solution to remove closet odours. You can purchase ready-made sachets just about anywhere. Hang sachets on nails on the back and side walls of the closet. You can also try making your own sachets with natural ingredients such as dried rose petals or with bags of potpourri from a craft store. Put the potpourri in cheesecloth and tie with ribbon. Hang the sachets on the walls or tie them to clothes hangers to help remove odours and keep the closet smelling fresh.


If the smell of smoke is the major issue, try using charcoal to eliminate the smell. Charcoal absorbs molecules from the air that cause the smell of smoke to linger in your closet. Place a few chunks on the floor of the closet. Leave the chunks there for two to three days to allow them to fully absorb the smoky odour, and then throw the chunks away.

Ground Coffee

If you discover that there is a particular item of clothing or something stored in your closet that's making it smell, isolate the item and freshen it with something you may not have thought about: fresh ground coffee beans. That's right. Put about a half-cup of fresh ground coffee beans in cheesecloth and tie the cloth with a rubber band or string. Put the "smell culprit" item inside of a plastic clothes bag, along with the coffee bean bag. Tie the end of the plastic bag and leave it hanging in the closet for at least 24 hours. The coffee beans will absorb odours, including smoke.

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About the Author

Cheryl Munson has been writing since 1990, with experience as a writer and creative director in the advertising industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a focus on advertising from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.