14 Ways to Make Your Closet Smell Good Right Now

Get rid of that stale closet smell once and for all with these super easy DIY ideas.

Published March 15, 2023

Whether you're dealing with that front coat closet or your bedroom walk-in, knowing how to make a closet smell good is one of those useful skills that will improve your life. These easy solutions will keep your coats and clothing smelling fresh and clean, and they won't break the bank.

Recycle Those Old Dryer Sheets as Closet Deodorizers


After that dryer sheet has done its job with your towels in the dryer, repurpose it as a closet deodorizer. Stash old dryer sheets between sweaters and stacks of clothes in your closet or tuck them into the pockets of coats you don't wear very often. You can even stick them into shoes. The possibilities are endless.

Let Your Morning Joe Perk Up Your Closet


Okay, so you can't actually put a cup of coffee in your closet (and please don't try), but you can use those old coffee grounds to absorb unwanted odors. They're pretty perfect for the front hall closet that has those rain boots and things. Just let the coffee grounds dry on a paper plate and then set them on the closet shelf.

Embrace the Aroma of Cedar


Cedar wood is a classic for closets, and it's not only because it helps to ward off wool moths and other pests. Cedar just smells great. Give your closet the scent of fresh wood with a cedar board propped in the back. You can find them at most lumberyards.

Add Some Ventilation to Your Closet


There's a reason closets can get a little stuffy: they tend to be closed off from the rest of the house and jammed full of stuff. Leave plenty of space around hanging coats and stacks of sweaters to help keep things fresh. Then consider leaving the closet door open just a crack or installing an air vent somewhere in the closet to give it better ventilation.

Quick Tip

Just because it can fit in your closet doesn't mean it should. This is where you get ruthless about your decluttering. If you can't part with some of the things in your closet, consider storing them in another place.

Make a Closet Smell Good With Baking Soda


Blast those unwanted closet odors with that old-fashioned superstar, baking soda. It absorbs smells (that includes you, musty gym clothes funk), so it's perfect for this job. Just set an open box of baking soda somewhere in your closet. It can be on the shelf, on the floor, or back in a corner where it won't be in the way. Leave it there for at least a day, but it's fine to rotate new boxes and always have one in there.

Use Your Favorite Perfume


If you have a scent you love, you can use it to keep your clothes closet smelling amazing. You might not want to do this with a super expensive perfume, but it's ideal for anything reasonably priced. Just spray some cotton balls with the scent and tuck them into pockets of clothing or the nooks and crannies of your closet.

Hang Dried Lavender and Herbs


For a natural solution to closet odors, hang bundles of dried herbs from the rod. Lavender is an awesome choice because it is really effective at banishing musty smells, but other great options include eucalyptus, rosemary, and lemon balm.

Invest in Some Wood Hangers


In addition to having an awesome upscale look, wood hangers can help your closet smell better in a couple of ways. First, they help absorb moisture, which can lead to stinky closets. Even better, they work as a safeguard to keep you from overstuffing your closet, since you can't fit as many wooden hangers on a rod as wire or plastic ones.

Quick Tip

Make those wood hangers do double duty by choosing ones made of a scented wood. You can find them made of cedar or pick up hangers that are infused with essential oils.

Stash Some Soap in Your Closet


You know those fancy soaps you get as gifts? Sometimes they're just too pretty to use for washing, but they actually work super well to make your closet smell good. Stash a bar on a shelf or anywhere else in your closet and let that pretty scent banish nasty odors.

Break Out the Essential Oils


Essential oils can be awesome for making any enclosed space smell better, and that includes your closet. Soak some cotton balls in essential oils and place them on the shelves of the closet. Keep the oil away from the things you're storing, though, since some oils can discolor fabrics. Great scents to try include eucalyptus, lavender, mint, and lemon.

Bring Nature Inside Your Closet


If you live near woods, you can harness the power of nature to make a DIY natural closet freshener. Start by collecting pine needles, bark, and other nice-smelling goodies. Put them on a cookie sheet in your oven and cook at a low temp (like 200°F) to get rid of any insects or mold. Then place the items in a cloth bag and hang it in the closet.

Make a DIY Closet Freshener With Cinnamon Sticks


Cinnamon sticks smell amazing, and they make a perfect natural solution to a musty closet. Wrap the cinnamon sticks in a piece of cotton fabric and tuck the bundle in your closet. This is a subtle solution to make everything smell festive and fresh.

Mix Up a Linen Spray


You can make a simple DIY linen spray to give your clothes and linens a fresh scent in your closet. Just add about three drops of your favorite essential oil to a bottle of distilled water. Shake and mist the air around the clothes and inside the closet, rather than spraying it directly on the fabric.

Use a Block of Activated Charcoal in Your Closet


If you're dealing with musty closet odors, a block of activated charcoal can be your best friend. Just pick one up at any home goods store and place it in a container near the bottom of your closet or on a shelf. It will absorb the moisture and odors in your closet and leave things smelling great.

Find the Cause of the Smelly Closet


Knowing how to make a closet smell good is only the first step to keeping things fresh while you store them. If you can, pinpoint the cause of the smell. That way, you can deal with the root problem and keep your closet smelling amazing all the time.

14 Ways to Make Your Closet Smell Good Right Now