Preventing Mold on Stored Clothing

Closet Full of Hanging Clothes
Whether they are being boxed up in the attic or hanging in the back or your closet, clothing that is stored for a while can get moldy. Ensure your clothes are ready to wear again, when you need them, by preventing mold infestation. This is a page about preventing mold on stored clothing.


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November 19, 2011

Mold is everywhere in area I live. It is in every closet, under cabinets, and linens. It can ruin everything, if you aren't careful. I have a couple ways I deal with it. Depending on your location, and finances, one will work for you.

If you have the plastic bags that sheets, and blankets come packaged in, they work great. I have always kept mine, and they are great for storage. It's a heavier plastic and has a zipper.

If you do not have these, you can use the largest freezer bags possible. You will need child size hangers or you can cut down the wire ones. Plastic small hangers for a child's closet is the right size. They can be found at any discount or dollar store.


At Petco or any pet store they sell charcoal filters either pre-made or ones you make yourself. I would use both. The ones you fill up yourself is very easy to dump into top part of the plastic bag, which you can divide in half by simply stapling it across the middle. The pieces of charcoal absorb the moisture, mildew allowing extra liquid to go to bottom of the bag.

If you hang it in closet, add some drops of essential oil leaves a wonderful smell. It will take the moisture out of the air preventing mold and mildew. Most of the mildew is where we have too many things, to close together in a dark closet. It helps not hanging up anything damp, and leaving the closet opened when possible if only for a couple hours a day.

There is a product called Damp Rid however it is very expensive but works great. Those same containers can be found at discount stores or dollars stores.


Instead of paying so much for replacements you simply use charcoal or charcoal filters we used in our fish tank. This cost little and can be dumped right into the toilet. The filters of charcoal take moisture out of the air preventing mold. You can also put charcoal in old plastic pitchers, plastic bowls or containers. Make sure they are placed where they won't get dumped over, and are out of the way of children. I was so surprised when I saw how much moisture this pulls out of the air. Hanging the baggie last about 3 weeks.

If you don't want to buy the filters or make the ones from the fish store, just take brick of charcoal, hit with a hammer making them small enough to fit into the top of the hanging bag. A whole bricket can be placed in closet, under sink, with towels, and other tightly stored items.


Don't hang anything up or put away until completely dry. Mildew spreads onto other things, walls, and anything that it touches. I found keeping my hanging things not so close together helps keep air flowing between the items of clothes.

When I store my sweaters, instead of taking up room in closet I wrap these in news paper (cheaper than tissue). I find that this absorbs moisture prevents mildew. This also works when putting away summer items; making room so clothes have more space between them.

Never keep anything wrapped in plastic. This is a great area for mildew to grow. Always take things out of plastic. Covering in plastic may ruin your favorite dress or coat. Having as much air as possible is what prevents mildew. Don't hang up if its damp and use charcoal or buy product like Damp Rid to take away extra moisture. If you live where it is very damp, have dark closets that are tightly packed, and a bathroom where steam makes towels damp; all of this causes mildew.


Everything I had stored, I now have wrapped until ready to use. I got rid of things I didn't use or need allowing more room and air flow to available. That back, dark area in my closets isn't the best place to put my nicer clothes. My black leather skirt turned green! Having charcoal to absorb any moisture that I can has really helped. I like adding the essential oil.

Leather jackets, skirts even shoes, boots can be sprayed to help with mold and mildew. The cost of water proofing things that get wet saves in the long run. Once you wash these items the water proofing tends to wear out or over time. Heat (like blow dryer) can reactivate the water proofing, if you find it isn't repealing water like it should. In some case washing less is better, especially if something has been water proofed.


Source: I live in San Diego where everything is damp. I was told by a neighbor about damp rid products. Since we use to have fish I knew the filters were made of charcoal.

Growing up in Indiana, my dad always packed things away with a couple charcoal bricks. He used moth balls, but I dislike the smell. In San Diego I haven't seen moths, only lots of mold, mildew and moisture.

By Luana M. from San Diego, CA

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November 18, 2011

We have a underground storm shelter that we store our "off-season" clothes. Unfortunately, some of the time it was also damp and "musty". To the rescue is kitty litter. I chose kitty litter because it is scented and absorbent.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
November 17, 2011

If you have a Dollar Tree close, you can find DampRid. It comes in large and small containers. I find the smaller ones perfect for closets and under the sinks.

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June 11, 2014

I live in the tropics where the air is very damp and mold on everything including clothes, shoes, and other leather goods is a big problem. I have had lots of success using the Space Saver brand plastic storage bags.

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7 Questions

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November 3, 2004

We have a lot of baby clothes that we would like to store now that she has grown. I purchased some of the clear plastic, flip-lid boxes from Home Depot, and we have put the clothes in plastic bags. But we live near the ocean, and have a high humidity environment, and are wondering what other steps you would recommend to reduce the risk of mold on stored clothes?

They would be stored for a couple of years at a time, so we are looking for some solution that doesn't require maintenance (like Damp-Rid). Any ideas?


By Judy (Guest Post)
November 3, 20041 found this helpful

I live in South Florida, and am familiar with the mold problem. Air is the enemy - especially moist air. So the solution is to either remove the air from the garment or dry the air around it. Those new plastic bags that suction out air with a vacuum cleaner are excellent. Please don't be penny-wise and pound foolish and buy imitations. They leak and break easily. You also get the added advantage of being able to store almost twice as much clothing in the same amount of space. Then put the garments in the flip-lock container. Additionally, purchase some damp-rid crystals for the closet.

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November 3, 20040 found this helpful

I have seen packets which absorb damp....maybe try to seal the lids to the bottoms with duct tape??? How about regular clay cat litter in old stocking legs you've cut off!! That absorbs moisture!

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By (Guest Post)
December 7, 20041 found this helpful

THANKS! I will try both the bags and the cat litter.

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By farida (Guest Post)
June 29, 20050 found this helpful

you can make small sachet of muslin cloth and fill up very loosly with cloves
this will suck away any moisture in the fabric---keep the bugs away and will smell good and last in the long run
you have to make sure your clothes are dry---or u can just put them in the dryer and after it cools down put it away in palstic bag

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December 27, 20130 found this helpful

The best thing that is smelly and absorbers moisture is incense, save any crepe paper you get with gifts and roll 2 incense sticks into a little bit of the paper then place them at the top and bottom of draws, cupboards, storage boxes etc... any plastic packaging you get from storage boxes too save that and put it at the bottom of your storage box you bought don't let it go to waste. The smell on incense lasts forever as long as it's wrapped up in some sort of thin paper and it is strong smelling too, any type will work.

Here in Lancashire in England everyone has problems with major mold. Right now I have a tone of mold on the walls near the window, behind the heater and because I have a small room, I have to put storage under my bed. The stuff in the boxes stink now though and I haven't been able to stop it so far.

I'm going to take your suggestion and use newspaper though, my mum is going to get some from work and I'm going to lay 3 pieces on the bottom of each one, add some incense sticks then add another piece of news paper on top of each of the lids because a tone of mold and dust just collects on top of them.

I'm probably going to tape the newspaper on top of them into the side grooves of the lids. After that I'm just going to hope for the best and hope it works, if that doesn't i don't know what will.

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December 28, 20130 found this helpful

Wrap some crepe paper around some incense sticks and put a bit of tape on the ends and in the middle just to seal it and put a few in your storage boxes (this preserves the scent and they last forever, strong ones, use newspaper like we are recommended too, put a few pieces on the bottom, some on the sides, some over the top of the clothes and some on top of the lid as a lot of dust will get on storage boxes too, i would tape them on so the dust and stuff goes on the paper not the baby clothes. Any thick plastic packaging like you get from new baby clothes keep them and store them in them as nothing can get though them and use zip-lock bags as well.

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May 22, 2018

I placed Damp Rid in my closet and on the top shelves of my furniture after mold destroyed most of my clothes and shoes and some of my furniture, but yesterday when checking the Damp Rid bag in the closet I found the dripped water had crystalized. That did not happened in the previous 2 bags I used. Can you tell me why it happened?

Using Damp Rid - bag of crystallized Damp Rid


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
May 23, 20180 found this helpful

This is normal. After a few days the crystals will melt and the water will drip into the chamber.

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May 23, 20180 found this helpful

If your issues are like ours were in our basement, you may be better off investing in a good dehumidifier. It ends up paying for itself in the long run. We started out with the Damp Rid product and it worked nicely, but the problem was too big for it. The other challenge for us is products like this are not good around if you do have pets, be sure to keep them away from the container--esp. when it turns to liquid. I use the water from the dehumidifier for my plants so even through my electric costs went up slightly, my water bill dropped slightly. Just a suggestion for long term moisture/mold control.

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
May 25, 20182 found this helpful

You probably just checked the bag at different stages as that is the normal process - crystals to liquid - no matter which part of the bag/container it is in. Damp-Rid says a sudden change in temperature causes different changes.

  • Damp-Rid products are expensive and are not really designed for a big damp/moisture problem. They are really designed to be used where a normal (small) amount of moisture may (or may not) occur but they are especially useful where any leather products are stored.
  • It sounds like you may have a serious moisture problem and your first step should be to try and determine the originating source of the problem so you can try and stop it from getting into your house in the first place.
  • Damp-Rid will not remove mold or mildew - it will only remove the moisture that causes it but old mold/mildew with still be there until it is cleaned with a product that will kill the spores/fungus.
  • Please remember, you are still breathing the mold all the time you can see it and it can definitely cause health problems.
  • If you are renting your house/apartment then you should discuss this problem with your landlord as this is a hazardous situation and it would be their responsibility to take care of it immediately (and really should provide you another place to live until your place is completely clean and repaired).
  • Here is an article about Damp-Rid.
  • If you have no choice but to take care of this yourself then you should think about buying a dehumidifier as that is what it will take to remove the type of moisture you are describing. These units can be purchased from Walmart type stores or online but the larger units will cost more than $100. There are smaller units available if you need to put them in several places.
  • If you are adventurous and want to make your own Damp-Rid that is pretty easy to do.
  • You will need some type of filler to absorb the moisture and that would be Calcium Chloride (most often used - same as in Damp-Rid), silica or silica gel cat litter. All of these can be purchased at your local stores. Some say the Calcium Chloride is the same as used from a pool supply store but that I have not checked out.
  • Here is a link that explains how to make and set your own containers in place.

I would also suggest you try to leave your closet doors open as much as possible and also burn a 40 watt light bulb in the closet until you correct your problem.

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June 2, 20230 found this helpful

That is not normal. I have used it for many years in my closets, and in my guest bedroom. Over the last several months, I have noticed that it is now forms a hard thick crystalized coating on the top of the granules. Very little liquid pools in the actual container. I have four containers. I actually used a small hammer and a screwdriver to breakup the hardened top layer of crystalized granules. It is a fairly recent issue. What changed?

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February 5, 2018

This is a page about storing leather coats and jackets. Here are some great tips to help your jackets keep their shape when not in use, as well as avoiding mold while they are being stored.

A row of leather jackets hanging up.

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