How Do You Ventilate a Built-in Wardrobe?

Written by: Zoona Sikander, Interior Design Writer & Social Media Content Creator
Edited by: Emma Cyrus, Senior Copy, Content & Editorial Writer
Reviewed by: Rey Amini, Senior Interior Designer & Architect
Fact-checked by: Benjamin Ibanez, Development & FF&E Manager

If you have noticed signs of mould on your clothing, shoes or even linen you might be asking: How do you ventilate a built-in wardrobe? 

This common problem is often due to cold, rainy weather which, if you live in countries like the UK, is par for the course. So to mitigate the situation, stay healthy and save your belongings from getting damaged, let’s examine the many ways in which you can get air circulating.

How do you ventilate a built-in wardrobe

What is ventilation and why is it important for built-in wardrobes?

Built-in wardrobes have become a must-have in most modern homes. Made to fit into any space, they are easily customised and can be tailored to suit your exact storage requirements. From hanging rails to bespoke compartments for your belts and jewellery, the world of customised storage literally your oyster.

Because of this, not only do they increase your property value, but they make life much easier, allowing you to organize your belongings according to your needs.

While fitted wardrobes have numerous advantages, they are more susceptible to mould and dampness than their free-standing counterparts. Why? Because they are generally attached to your existing wall, ceiling and floor, making it difficult for air to circulate.

To mitigate the formation of mould, which forms as a result of dampness and condensation, proper ventilation is required. This is most easily achieved through air vents which can be installed during the building process, allowing for a balanced atmosphere throughout. 

However, many already established built-ins do not have vents, making them more susceptible to mould and mildew and putting your precious fashion collections at risk. 

Effective ways to ventilate built-in wardrobes

Whether you’re in the process of designing your bedroom wardrobe or need to improve the airflow in your existing unit, here are 4 effective ways to optimise ventilation:

Open-door wardrobes: 

Consider using an open-door system. For those with extra space, you could even turn your spare bedroom into an expansive walk-in

Opt for something compact like the Pleione edition by Barel or go all out for something with stellar status like the Venice walk-in wardrobe by EmmeBi

Ventilated shelving: 

Using aerated baskets, racks, drawers and other units that can be easily height-adjusted is an excellent idea. They are easy to install, fashion-forward and can be customized to suit your style.

Air bricks: 

A commonly used way to ventilate both your bedroom and wardrobes, these specially designed bricks are a simple way of managing potential mould issues. Consult with your design team about how to go about implementing them. 

Mechanical ventilation: 

We recommend that, if you’re not going with any of the above, you install a good-quality heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. 

These maintain air quality, regulate your home’s temperature and purify the air by removing contaminants like dust and mould. 

If you’re looking for a more cost-effective alternative, enquire about an exhaust fan instead. Solar-powered ventilation systems for wardrobes are also now available, making it a more environmentally sustainable endeavour.

At FCI London, we offer a highly efficient UV-A LED purifying system which is remote-controlled for your convenience.

What are the benefits of ventilating your built-in wardrobe?

Any badly ventilated wardrobe is likely to be subjected to dampness which encourages the development of mould, a type of fungus that thrives in moist, badly-aerated environments.

Identifiable by its musty odour and patches of colour, mould is particularly troublesome on leather and can destroy bags and shoes completely if left untreated. It can also cause various health problems including coughing and asthma.

Once discovered, it should be dealt with immediately as it can spread from one area of your built-in to another. To eradicate it, read our tips on how to stop mould in your wardrobe.

Ventilating your built-in wardrobe will:

  • Allow for proper air circulation
  • Control condensation and a rise in humidity levels
  • Help your clothes remain damp-free
  • Stop mould and mildew from forming.
How do you ventilate a built-in wardrobe
How do you ventilate a built-in wardrobe


Signs that your wardrobe needs ventilating

If you experience any of the following while looking through your wardrobe, then chances are it needs more ventilation: 

  • Excessive Dust: You might find that as you move your clothes around, dust particles form in the air around them. 
  • A musty smell: When mould starts to form, it creates an unpleasant odour that will consume the entire space. 
  • Allergy attacks: You may find that you sneeze or cough more while you’re rummaging through your built-in.
  • Damp clothing: Your clothing will feel slightly wet all the time. And on this particular point, no matter whether you have ventilation or not, never hang damp clothing in your wardrobe.
  • Signs of mould or mildew: You will see small patches of black or green on your walls or clothing.

Should any of the above happen, we suggest you take the following measures:

  • Avoid overpacking your wardrobe with excess clothing.
  • Clean up any visible moisture and let your clothes air outside until they are completely dry.
  • Clean all the mould off your walls, clothes, linen, shoes and belts.
  • Install ventilation plates and a high-quality purifying system as soon as possible.

Other Ways to improve the air quality in your wardrobe

The best thing you can do to ensure that the air quality in your built-in wardrobe is up to standard is to have it fitted with a good ventilation system right from the start.

At FCI London, we go a step further in the construction and installation of all of our wardrobes by creating a completely encapsulated unit before it gets installed.

This means that instead of fitting shelving and rails directly onto your existing walls, we build a made-to-measure standalone that gets slotted seamlessly into your available space. In this way, your cabinetry will be protected from any kind of dampness, especially if it’s a pre-existing issue.

So, whether you love the L-shaped Design #30 wardrobe by Logo or the sleek sliding door Hopus by Jesse, we’ll make sure your cabinets are constructed seamlessly.

Two other ways of combatting ventilation issues in your built-ins are to use:

  • Closet dehumidifiers: Because they are portable and easy to use, these are a popular choice. There are numerous types of dehumidifiers on the market, so before investing in one, do your research to ensure that it meets all of your needs and has positive reviews. Choices include electric, rechargeable, fragrance-free, rock salt and single-use units.
  • Activated carbon filters: This is a type of filtration system that removes gasses, chemical vapours and odour molecules and is commonly used in air purifiers. They absorb pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), allowing you to breathe in fresh, clean air.

In Conclusion

Keeping your built-in wardrobe well-ventilated is extremely important and will help both you and your possessions stay healthy. So, if you’re considering installing new custom cabinetry, make sure you call a professional and get it done properly.

With almost 40 years’ experience creating bespoke wardrobes for both private and commercial clients, the FCI London design team is here to give you all the advice you need. And, with hundreds of different finishes, colours and materials to choose from, we’ll be able to build you something that suits your exact needs.

To find out more, get in touch today or pop into our showroom for a chat and a glass of bubbly. You can also browse through our latest projects portfolio for some fantastic home decor ideas. We can’t wait to get the ball rolling! 


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