How to get clean shirts to not develop stale smell?
September 10, 2005 6:46 PM   Subscribe

How can I keep the clean t-shirts hanging in my closet from getting that stinky/stale/sour smell?

I don't have cabinet space to fold and put my t-shirts away. So after I wash them and they are fully dry, I put them on a hanger and hang them in the closet. If I don't wear a shirt soon though, after say about two or more weeks, the shirts develop that sour "I've been hanging in the closet for too long" smell. I don't have crazy b.o. that seeps into the fabric or anything like that, and there is nothing unusual about my closet that would cause this... in fact it's happened to me when I lived elsewhere, so I can't blame the closet.

Is this caused by the type of detergent I use (usually earth-friendly types without fragrance or color) and/or is there something better to use (that's still non-toxic and not evil for the environment or my skin) that can help prevent this? Or is there some special technique for keeping clothes smelling fresh in the closet that I never learned?
posted by RoseovSharon to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total)
You might try this detergent. It's earth-friendly, but it does have fragrance. A wonderful natural citrus fragrance that I am in love with.
posted by leapingsheep at 7:11 PM on September 10, 2005

Oh, and don't let the price scare you off. It's highly concentrated. You only use a very little bit per load.
posted by leapingsheep at 7:12 PM on September 10, 2005

Sometimes this problem is caused/exacerbated if you keep your shoes in the closet.

Either way- tack a couple dryer sheets to the walls of your closet, or hang them from clippy pants hangers, interspersed with your tshirts. That should do the trick!
posted by elisabeth r at 7:15 PM on September 10, 2005

Also, don't completely shut your closet. Air circulation is a good thing.
posted by pmbuko at 7:54 PM on September 10, 2005

Definitely get the air circulating, that's usually a big part of the problem, and it's better if you can hang your shirts with a little space between them. You might also get some cedar blocks and/or balls for the scent.

If you have anywhere safe to hang your shirts in sunshine and fresh air for a few hours before you put them away, it will make a world of difference even after dryer-drying.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:27 PM on September 10, 2005

Damp Rid has always worked for me.
posted by tetsuo at 9:34 PM on September 10, 2005

I was just going to suggest Damp Rid. Works great for absorbing moisture.
posted by 6:1 at 10:01 PM on September 10, 2005

Cedar chips might help; yeah, you'll find them in the pet aisle, but you can make a potpourri out of them with old nylons or socks, hidden in a corner. Good for moths too.
posted by verytres at 12:19 AM on September 11, 2005

1) Try a regular, not-quite-earth-friendly detergent, and see if it helps.

2) Maybe you should get more cabinet space.
posted by iviken at 3:45 AM on September 11, 2005

Seeing as iviken is on the Ikea links, I don't have a smelly problem with this wardrobe. Plus it looks good too!

The smell you describe tho sounds like that 'left damp for ages' smell. Are you sure your clothes are not stored damp for a while before drying/hanging?
posted by floanna at 5:08 AM on September 11, 2005

Aww my link isn't working and I love my wardrobe- try this one instead.
posted by floanna at 5:11 AM on September 11, 2005

In Louisville our closets had light bulbs and attic vents to prevent mold.
posted by craniac at 5:47 AM on September 11, 2005

it could be that you have mold or something icky growing in your closet. have you tried taking everything out of the closet and giving it a good cleaning with some disinfectant cleaner?
posted by sergeant sandwich at 1:00 PM on September 11, 2005

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