This simple DIY hack keeps clothes storage smelling fresh for months – here's how

Keep musty storage odors at bay with these homemade lavender sachets

Lavender sachets next to dried flowers
(Image credit: ChamilleWhite via Getty Images)

If you are like me and love to overstuff your dresser drawers or keep your shoes stowed away in a closed cabinet, you might be accustomed to a musty smell arising whenever you dig through them. 

This is far from ideal if you would rather your clothes stay smelling as fresh as when you just washed them, however. But how do you ward off these nasty smells? 

Besides cleaning bedroom drawers and cabinets to get rid of dust and freshen up the lining, I rely on homemade lavender sachets my Mom taught me to make.  

How to make lavender sachets

There are several hidden tricks people with nice-smelling homes use, but hiding scented sachets and liners in their drawers and storage cabinets is one of the best and most effective. While you can make them with a range of flowers and spices, my mom’s favorite was always lavender – cut and dried fresh from the garden. 

This is how my family makes our scent sachets at home. 

Materials you will need to make lavender sachets

  • Lavender: preferably freshly cut, or store-bought dried lavender, from Amazon 
  • Rice, uncooked 
  • Drawstring bags 
  • Essential oils: optional to help boost the fragrance  

1. Dry freshly cut lavender

Close-up image of beautiful summer flowering, Lavender, purple flowers in Terracotta pots

(Image credit: Getty Images/Jacky Parker Photography)

For the best results and strongest-smelling fragrance, it helps to do this with freshly cut lavender that you can dry yourself. My mom would always cut the lavender from the garden using sharp pruners before hanging it to dry upside down in our boiler cabinet, where it was dry and warm. This allowed the lavender to dry while maintaining its fresh scent. 

However, this can take weeks, which is impractical if you are looking for a quick way to make a house smell nice. I will buy pre-dried lavender instead when I feel lazy, or it isn't the right season. This doesn't always last as long, however, so the convenience sometimes comes with its drawbacks.  

2. Combine with rice in a fabric bag

Lavender being spooned into a drawstring bag

(Image credit: Julia Klintsova cia Getty Images)

Although rice might not be the most obvious addition to a lavender sachet, it is one of the best ways to prolong the flower's dried scent. Uncooked, dry rice will absorb the lavender scent and boost the fragrance without you having to regularly top up the sachet. It also means you can use a little less lavender in each bag and make more to hide around your home. 

We combine one part lavender with two parts rice in a small fabric drawstring bag. Tea-straining bags, available at Walmart, often work best as they are designed to keep small particles in while letting aromas out. 

To prevent the bags from accidentally opening and spilling all over the inside of my home storage ideas, I tend to tie a double knot at the top. It makes it a bit harder to open up and refill when the scent wears off, but it is worth it to save on cleanup.  

3. Add essential oils

Lavender essential oil next to dried flower

(Image credit: Svitlana Romadina via Getty Images)

If you really want to boost the scent or are interested in experimenting with fragrance layering, adding a few drops of essential oil to the exterior of the bag can go a long way. My mom would always add more lavender, but I have experimented with adding other floral fragrances such as lily, or neroli, and been quite pleased with the results.  

Floral Essential Oils $9.99 at Amazon

Floral Essential Oils $9.99 at Amazon
This essential oil set contains 10 popular floral scented oils - rose, jasmine, neroli, gardenia, lilac, cherry blossom, tuberose, plumeria, violet, and lily.

4. Place and replace as needed

White dresser, armchair, black vase

(Image credit: Cotswold Company)

With the bags filled and the string tied off, I will usually hide one or two in each storage unit. These will typically last for around four to six months before I notice the scent starts to fade, at which point I will either replenish the dried lavender or add a few more drops of essential oils.  


Do you have to dry lavender to make sachets?  

When making scented sachets, you should always dry the lavender first. Using fresh lavender may smell more pungent, but the buds will be more susceptible to mold and mildew, causing musty odors and possibly even damaging your clothing.  

What is the best fabric for lavender sachets?  

When making your own lavender sachets, it is a good idea to opt for natural, breathable materials such as jute, linen, or cotton to allow the lavender scent to escape without causing it to sweat or degrade. Tea-straining bags are ideal for this, or you can opt to sew your own if you are crafty. 

When making scented sachets for your home, consider using spices such as cinnamon and star anise to make a home smell like fall, or add in other dried flowers such as rose petals for an alternative fragrance. The options are endless.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.