How to Keep a Winter Jacket Smelling Fresh

A little lavender goes a long way in keeping your coat fresh.
... Tay Jnr/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Winter jackets offer all sorts of style benefits, lending your favorite layered ensembles a satisfying sense of texture, structure and fullness -- not to mention warmth. No matter how well your coat accents your outfit, however, a stale-smelling jacket quickly casts a pall over the whole affair. Fortunately, both during winter weather and when you stow your jacket for the warm seasons, you have plenty of low-cost, no-fuss options for keeping it fresh.

Machine-wash or dry-clean your winter jacket before storing it for the warm seasons. Request a high-heat treatment at the dry cleaners or use a high-heat setting on your washer, unless your jacket's label recommends otherwise. High-heat cleaning helps eliminate the potential for attracting bugs and washes clothes free of smelly oils and particles.

Include fresh scents in your machine wash if your coat is machine-washable. Give your coat a quick spritz with an essential oil mist, made from a few drops of essential oil in the scent of your choice -- lavender, citrus and vanilla all do the job well -- mixed with clean water in a spray bottle. Likewise, substitute all-natural peppermint laundry soap for your regular detergent or toss a reusable scented dryer bag or wool dryer ball in the dryer. These tricks work both for regular washing and for the coat's final wash before summer storage.

Store your coat in a new or thoroughly cleaned bag or container. Avoid cardboard boxes, which let in moisture and scents, in favor of heavy-duty plastic trash bags, garment bags or lockable plastic containers. If your plastic container isn't brand-new, wipe it clean with a spray disinfectant to remove foul smells, and allow it to air-dry completely before storing your coat. Whether you're storing your coat for the summer or just hanging it up, select a clean, cool and dry indoor storage location free of constant temperature changes for maximum freshness.

Add a homemade, eco-friendly freshener to your clothes storage: Fill a small cloth pouch with cedar chips or throw in a lavender sachet to keep your coat smelling fresh. You can even add a pouch or sachet to your coat pocket when hanging it normally for a pleasantly scented touch.

  • Always follow any care instructions or warnings provided by your coat's manufacturer. If using an essential oil mist, test a small spot on your coat before spraying.
  • Don't starch your winter coat before storage. While some spray starches offer fresh scents, starch often attracts pesky bugs to stowed clothes.
  • If freshness is your goal, avoid using moth balls or dryer sheets, as they often leave garments with a stale or chemical odor.
  • Avoid air-tight locking containers or tightly tied trash bags if you have a lightweight jacket or one made of fine, expensive fabric. Simple locking containers or garment bags do the job just fine, and they allow the coat to breathe a bit.
  • Keep your winter jacket neatly folded in an indoor drawer. Line the drawer with a cedar liner to add a fresh scent to the garment.

Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.