How to Make Your Drawers Smell Good

Use deactivated charcoal to remove stubborn odors.
Use deactivated charcoal to remove stubborn odors. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

The first step in creating drawers that smell good is to eliminate any odor-causing materials, such as soiled clothing, musty papers, or old leather. Set the drawers outside in the sun for a few hours to air out if they smell dank. Once you've removed unpleasant odors, you can place air freshening materials in the drawers to create a pleasant scent.

Things You'll Need

  • Sachet bags
  • Potpourri
  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Cedar chips
  • Deactivated charcoal

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Wash soiled clothing before you store it in drawers. Even minor perspiration odors lingering in clothing will cause an unpleasant smell in drawers. Soil and grime left on clothing also provide food sources for mildew.

Fill sachet bags with potpourri, which will give a pleasant floral or spicy scent, depending on the scented oil used, and will freshen drawers for several months. Replenish the potpourri when the scent is gone.

Lay fabric softener sheets in the bottom of the drawer for a clean laundry scent. Replace the fabric softeners sheets every two to three months.

Place small bags of cedar chips in the drawer for a clean, slightly masculine scent. The cedar chips will freshen the drawer, and may deter moths.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make potpourri sachets from dried plant materials, such as lavender flowers, orange peel, balsam or roses. Dry the materials in a warm oven (100 degrees Fahrenheit) for one hour, and mix the materials with a few drops of scented oil and 2 tbsp. orrisroot, a fixative available at natural food stores. Store the potpourri in a brown paper bag for two weeks to allow it to cure before use.
  • Mix 2 tbsp. chlorine bleach with 1 pint water. Dip a clean cloth in the mixture, and wipe out drawers to remove odors.
  • Place deactivated charcoal, available at hardware stores, on a plate in an empty drawer to remove stubborn odors, such as urine or cigarette smoke. Leave the charcoal in the drawer for several days.


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