Professional cleaners reveal how to clean bedroom drawers in 5 easy steps

It's important to clean your bedroom drawers regularly to keep your clothes smelling fresh

A split image of bedroom drawers, one is a bedside table with a lamp, the other is a large pink set of drawers
(Image credit: Paul Massey / Future)

Home to all manner of things – from stray socks to valuables – our bedroom drawers are hardworking spaces that are perfect for neatly storing essentials out of sight. 

But over time, this essential bedroom storage can begin to get disorganized and gather dust. Your clothes may start to smell musty, and in some rare cases, you may even notice signs of mold. 

Fortunately, it's easy to clean bedroom drawers as part of your usual bedroom cleaning routine. Keep reading to discover the five cleaning and organizing steps professionals swear by. 

How to clean bedroom drawers

We asked professional cleaners how to quickly clean bedroom drawers to keep them looking spotless and organized. This is what they recommend:

1. Empty the drawers

Gray bedroom drawers against a yellow wall with eight bird illustrations framed and displayed above it

(Image credit: Future)

'If you're like me, you probably have a bunch of stuff in your drawers that you don't use often,' says Elizabeth Shields, Operations Manager at Super Cleaning Service Louisville. 'Well, if that's the case, take everything out of the drawers first. This will give you a chance to sort through your stuff and get rid of things you don't need anymore.'

'We advise our clients to remove everything from their bedroom drawers, sort them into like items, and then refold them again, ready for restocking later,' says Delah Gomasi, professional cleaner and Founder of MaidForYou

You may want to take this opportunity to declutter your drawers and assess which items you don't wear very often. Learn how to fold clothes to save space, donate unwanted clothes with plenty of wear left in them, and recycle the rest. 

2. Vacuum and Dust

Once everything has been removed from the drawers, go in with a handheld vacuum to get rid of any dust. Use the crevice attachment on your vacuum to reach nooks and crannies, and follow this up with a cloth or duster to wipe away anything that remains.  

'If there are any weird smells coming from your drawers, just sprinkle some baking soda inside and let it sit for a while,' adds Elizabeth Shields. Then, vacuum or wipe this away before you move on to the next step. 

Brigii Crevice Vacuum |

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The Homes & Gardens team rated the Brigii cordless handheld vacuum very highly. Its sleek and compact design makes it perfect for vacuuming tight spaces like bedroom drawers and closets. 

3. Wash them

Ebonized wood chest of drawers in a white bedroom

(Image credit: Styling, Katrin Cargill / photograph jan Baldwin)

'Once you've removed any lingering dust, use a microfibre cloth dipped in a mixture of dishwashing liquid and water to wipe down the inside of the drawers,' explains Delah Gomasi. You'll rinse and repeat this process until the microfibre cloth runs clean. 

Remember, the cloth should be damp but never wet. Wipe down all the surfaces of the drawer, corners, and tracks, and make sure your drawers have air-dried completely before you restock them. 

4. Organize and Restock

Don't be tempted to immediately reclutter your bedroom drawers. Take this opportunity to organize your sock drawer or underwear drawer with handy dividers and drawer organizers.  

Separating your items into dividers will not only help you keep track of what you have, but it will also make cleaning your bedroom drawers much easier next time around. 

5. Wipe and polish the exterior

Now that the interior of your bedroom drawers is spotlessly clean, it's time to focus on the outside. Repeat a similar process to the inside, dusting and wiping the drawers with a clean microfibre cloth. 

'If you have wooden bedroom drawers, polish them up to make them look shiny and new,' recommends Elizabeth Shields. 'There are plenty of wood cleaners and polishes out there, so find one that works for you and follow the instructions on the label.' We like Murphy Soap Oil, as it will help make your wooden cabinets and drawers shine again. 

You may also want to take this time to update the hardware on your drawers. New handles can instantly transform the look of furniture and these small updates can make a big difference in your home


Vintage drawers used as bedside table

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors/Julie Soefer)

How often should you clean bedroom drawers?

'I admit, I often forget to include the inside of my drawers in my daily wipe-downs, but I try to clean them once every four months or so,' says Elizabeth Shields, professional cleaner. 'However, if you're always opening and closing them to get your clothes or other stuff, then they're going to get dusty and messy pretty quickly. So, you might need to clean them out every two weeks.' 

'But of course, there are some situations where you'll need to clean your drawers right away. For example, if you spill something or notice a bad smell, you'll want to get in there and clean everything up ASAP. And if you see any pests, like bugs or signs of mice, you'll definitely want to give your drawers a good scrubbing.'

Do your clothes need to be periodically aired out?

'Yes! Keep an eye – or nose – if they need some fresh air,' says Elizabeth Shields. 'If you store your clothes in a closet or drawer for a long time, they might start to smell musty, and if it’s humid in your home, things might get moldy too.' 

'Being active in sports makes us sweat, so workout clothes need to be aired out to avoid odors. Natural fibers like wool and silk trap odors more than synthetic ones. All you have to do is let them hang outside or near an open window. This helps eliminate any odors that might have built up in your clothes over time, especially if they've been sitting in a drawer or closet for a while. 

'Moisture will not stand a chance when you air out your clothes, and there will be fewer wrinkles, so you don't have to spend as much time ironing or steaming your clothes,' Elizabeth continues. 'And aside from that, sunlight can even disinfect your clothes because of its natural properties.'

'You could also put cedar chips in the drawers or in your closet to ward off dust mites,' adds Barbara Brock, professional organizer. 

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You can hang up these cedar hangers in your closet and place cedar chips and balls in your drawers to banish bad odors from your clothes.

Once you've conquered cleaning your bedroom drawers, cleaning your clothes closet, and giving your bed some much-needed TLC, too. It's important to air out bedding periodically, and even your bed frame and headboard can benefit from a thorough clean occasionally. 

Gabriella Dyson
Head of Solved

Gabriella is Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens. She is a DIY enthusiast and a lover of all things interior design, often found antiquing or browsing the aisles of her local hardware store. 

She has a particular passion for historic buildings and is in the process of renovating a Victorian coachhouse in the British countryside. 

For much of the past decade, Gabriella has worked as a freelance writer, crafting copy for national publications and renowned homeware brands. Most recently, she worked on Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, focusing on case studies for the magazine and website, as well as writing features about issues surrounding historic and listed building projects.