Do you unload your laundry as soon as it’s done, or does it sit for days before you tackle the task? Do you sort your garments by color or just stuff them into the washing machine? Do you hang up clothes immediately after they’re dry, or do they pile up in a chair until there’s no surface left? Despite how tidy your home may look, there are some places bacteria thrive. Your drawers are one of them. In fact, that musty smell coming from your clothing is likely caused by microorganisms. These microbes generally don’t make you ill, but their presence indicates moisture that encourages their growth and fermentation of natural fibers like cotton and linen. Fortunately, cleaning and maintaining your clothes drawers can help prevent the spread of these odors.
Why Do The Clothes In My Drawers Smell?
The clothes in your drawers may smell because you are not storing them properly. When clothes are stored in a drawer, the fabric can become matted together, which can create a dark and moist environment ideal for bacteria growth. To prevent your clothes from smelling, try to air them out regularly and store them in cloth bags or cardboard boxes instead of plastic bins. You can also sprinkle baking soda or lavender oil on top of the clothes to help absorb any unpleasant smells.
What Causes That Musty Smell In Your Drawers?
1. Clothes Are Stuffed
Clothes are often packed too tightly in drawers, and this can cause the fabric to wrinkle, which results in an unpleasant odor. When you notice a musty smell in your drawers, try unpacking your clothes and laying them flat on the floor to air out. Also, avoid storing garments with their tags still on or with tights or socks that have been rolled up.
2. Clothes Are Washed Too Frequently
Most people think that if they wash their clothes frequently enough, they won’t have to deal with any odors from their garments. However, frequent washing actually encourages the growth of bacteria. The more often you wash your clothes, the more likely they are to become contaminated by microbes and start smelling bad. It’s best to wash them every few days instead of daily so that you don’t have to deal with a persistent odor problem later on down the road. If you notice a musty smell in your drawers, try airing out your garments before you wash them.
3. Clothes Are Stored With Odor-Producing Chemicals
Some detergents and fabric softeners contain chemicals that can cause the spread of bacteria and lead to unpleasant odors. Avoid using these products on your clothes, as they can make your garments smell worse than they did before you started using them. If you notice a musty smell coming from your drawers, try washing your garments with gentle soap and water instead of using an air freshener or fabric softener.
4. Clothes Are Left In The Sun For Too Long
Your clothes might be packed tightly enough to prevent them from stretching out when stored in the drawer, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get damaged by sunlight or heat. Especially if you store your clothes in the summer, they can become dry and brittle over time thanks to exposure to excessive heat. Dress shirts, for example, may shrink or fray if they are left in the sun too long. In order to avoid this problem, store your clothes in a closet or other cool area that is well-ventilated so they can stay fresh.
How To Get Rid Of The Smell
- Start by cleaning the drawers. Use a mild detergent, such as Ivory or Woolite, to wash your clothes. For best results, use a soft brush to scrub out all the nooks and crannies of your drawers. When you’re done, wipe down the inside of your drawer with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or warm, soapy water.
- If you see any mold on the inside of your drawer, remove it now – before it spreads throughout your entire wardrobe! To do this, use a damp cloth to wipe away any mold that has been left behind by one of the other methods described below (like using vinegar). Then rub in some bleach over the affected area and let it soak for 10 minutes before wiping off any excess bleach with a clean cloth. Let this dry completely and repeat as necessary until you no longer see any moldy areas on your clothing.
- Next up is deodorizing. This is the easiest and most cost-effective solution. To get rid of the smell, mix 1 part Clorox 2 bleach to 5 parts water in a spray bottle and mist your drawers. Alternatively, you can use a disinfecting wipe or spray, but be sure to read the label before using any of these.
- If you’re still having trouble getting rid of the smell, consider hanging your clothes up as soon as they’re dry instead of leaving them in their drawers for days at a time. This will reduce moisture levels and help prevent mold from growing in your drawers. If you don’t have a drying rack, place an old pillowcase over your clothing until it dries completely to absorb excess moisture and prevent mold from forming.
- Lastly – if all else fails – replace your drawers! Not only will this give new life to your wardrobe by storing it more efficiently, but it will also prevent bacteria from growing in your clothes.
Why Does My Clothing Smell After Washing?
Drying a load of laundry can increase the chance of odors being emitted from clothing. When you leave your laundry to dry, bacteria can transfer from the clothes to your hands. The bacteria can also be transferred to your hands by touching other items that are wet, such as doors or doorknobs. Once they land on your hands, they may spread throughout the house and reach other surfaces like countertops and floors. If you’re worried about this happening in your home, it’s wise to hang up all wet garments as soon as possible on a line or drying rack.
2. Odor-Causing Bacteria
There are many odor-causing bacteria that can grow on fabrics, including stink bugs, molds, and mildew spores. These microbes produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSC), which give off unpleasant smells when they die or decompose in air circulation systems like fans and vents. If you don’t clean these bacteria off of your clothes, they may cause a smell on your garments.
3. Sulfur-Based Detergents
Some detergents contain sulfur compounds to help remove dirt and stains. The smell of these chemicals can cause odors in your laundry. The smell of sulfur compounds is particularly strong on cotton, linen, and wool garments, which are naturally prone to the growth of bacteria. To reduce the amount of VSCs emitted by your laundry, use chlorine bleach instead of detergent with sulfur compounds.
4. Bacteria On Clothes
Even if you clean and dry your clothes as recommended above, there’s still a chance that bacteria will linger on your garments after washing. This is because certain bacteria can survive in damp environments for months or even years without causing any harm to humans or the environment. This includes a number of common household pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus (staph), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (Typhimurium).
When your clothes smell good, you feel good. It’s important to address the root cause of any odor in your closet as soon as you notice it. If it goes untreated, it can lead to more serious issues like bacteria, mold, and mildew growth. Regularly clean your clothing drawers and closet to prevent odors from forming. Be sure to air out your garments when you remove them from the closet and don’t store them in plastic. These steps can help keep your closet smelling fresh and clean.