How to Get Rid of a Storage Smell

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Vinegar and baking soda are effective odor fighters.
Vinegar and baking soda are effective odor fighters. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A storage space can develop a musty smell that can permeate through the walls in your home. The smell can also seep into items you are storing, leaving them with a stale scent. Combat that stuffy smell with natural products to keep the space smelling fresh, while preserving items you cherish.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bins
  • Mop
  • White vinegar
  • Bottle with spray nozzle
  • Sponge
  • Dehumidifier
  • Scissors
  • Cotton cloth
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground mint leaves

Go through belongings and toss items you don’t want, or that have mildew or mold damage. Purchase plastic bins with tight lids for storage instead of cardboard boxes, which allow moisture and smells to permeate them. Remove all items from storage and wash clothing and other washable items.

Mop hard floors in the storage space with a solution of three parts white vinegar and one part water. This will help eliminate bad odors. If the storage space is carpeted, vacuum and then spray the carpet thoroughly with the vinegar solution and allow to dry.

Spray walls with the vinegar mixture. Allow the mixture soak into walls for 30 minutes, and then spray again before wiping walls with a sponge. This mixture will also help remove dirt or bacteria that might contribute to the storage odor.

Place a dehumidifier in the storage space overnight to allow it to remove moisture. After you have put items back into the storage space, use a dehumidifier in the area overnight once a month to combat moisture problems.

Cut a piece of cotton cloth and lay flat. Pour one-half cup of baking soda and two tsp. ground mint leaves on the cloth. Gather the edges of the cloth and tie with string. Make a sachet for each bin in your storage area. The sachets will absorb odors help keep the contents of bins smelling fresh.

Place items in plastic bins along with the sachets. If you have items that will not fit into bins, wrap them in plastic garbage bags or cover them with a tarp.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fitted plastic wrap for furniture can be expensive but worth the investment if you plan to store furniture for a long period.
  • If you discover mold in your storage area, find a home improvement specialist to help you get rid of it. No amount of cleaning or air freshening can combat pre-existing mold. Allowing it to grow can be hazardous to your belongings and health.

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