How Do You Prevent Damp in Built-in Wardrobes?

With humidity being a common problem in UK homes we often get asked: How do you prevent dampness in built-in wardrobes?

While custom cabinetry is popular because of its storage efficacy, it is certainly not immune to environmental conditions that may harm your treasured possessions. However, there are some simple tips and tricks that can help ensure that your fitted wardrobes do not become moisture traps. 

With 35 years of experience designing and installing these units, our experts have the inside edge when it comes to proper maintenance. So we have compiled this short guide to help you identify damp issues and the steps you can take to prevent or treat them. 

Read on to find out more.  


How Do You Prevent Damp in Built-in Wardrobes?

What is damp and why is it a problem in wardrobes?

Damp refers to the presence of moisture on the surfaces in your home such as your walls, windows and ceilings.

When it comes to wardrobes, this comes from two main culprits: condensation (often from steam in your en suite), and clothing that has not properly been dried before hanging. 

Having dampness in your cupboards is problematic and often leads to mould and mildew, which will not only ruin your garments but are also unsightly and unhealthy.

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Take a look at our range of contemporary wardrobes.

How can you prevent damp from forming in your wardrobe space?

Unfortunately, from corner units like Logo’s Design #30 to glass-fronted doors like Rugiano’s Zelo offering, most fitted wardrobes are not exposed to fresh air. This causes moisture to build up over time. It is therefore important to make sure that these conditions are properly combatted. 

Here are some options on how to do it:

  • Use low-wattage wardrobe heaters to help dry out any dampness and stop potential condensation from forming. 
  • Make sure that there is adequate airflow by installing top and bottom air vents or a ventilation system. This will help maintain a balanced internal temperature.
  • Keep your doors and windows open whenever possible. 
  • Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture.
  • Don’t overcrowd your clothing - tightly packed wardrobes are a damp trap. 
  • Clean your wardrobe regularly to avoid dust buildup.
  • Inspect your walls, floors and ceilings on a regular basis for signs of leaks.
  • Lastly, if your built-in is near your bathroom, we advise closing your doors during hot showers to prevent steam from escaping into your clothing space. 

When planning your storage expansion, consider the placement of your cabinetry to ensure that it’s in the best possible space for optimal maintenance. Our design team would be happy to explore your options with you. 

What are the signs of dampness in a wardrobe space?

Ideally, every corner of your home should smell fresh, so if your built-in wardrobe starts giving off a distinctive musty odour, you probably have a damp problem.

Moisture will show up on your cupboard walls as dark marks or, if it's on plaster, discolouration. You may also notice the peeling of paint or curling of wallpaper away from the wall in the areas where the wetness is collecting.

In the absence of visual signs, damp walls are cold to the touch so if your internal walls seem chillier than normal, it is time to sound the alarm.


How Do You Prevent Damp in Built-in Wardrobes?
How Do You Prevent Damp in Built-in Wardrobes?


What should you do if you have mould in your wardrobe?

The first step to stopping the spread of mould is to remove the existing signs of it. However, it’s important to avoid using harsh chemicals which may damage your wardrobe finishes, especially if they are painted like the Armadi options from Furbambini. These are our suggestions: 

  • Wear gloves and a mask for extra protection - mould can cause allergies.
  • Remove all your clothing and accessories from the interior of your wardrobe. 
  • Apply a solution made from equal quantities of water and white spirit vinegar to the affected area with a cloth. 
  • If the mould has been there for a while, you can then apply undiluted vinegar in the same places to get rid of any spores that may have permeated the surfaces. Leave this to dry for half an hour and then rinse with cold water. 
  • If your clothing has been affected, wash it thoroughly in hot water. 
  • Make sure that both your wardrobe and clothes are completely dry before repacking. 
  • If poor ventilation is the main cause of the damp, it may work well to drill holes into the back of your cabinetry to allow airflow and give moisture an escape. Or keep your doors open as often as possible so that the contents are exposed to fresh air. 

If the damage from mould and dampness is extensive, you may need to consider a rebuild. At FCI London, our professional design and joinery team will provide the full process from conception to installation, taking into account your ventilation needs. 

Tips for storing clothes in a built-in wardrobe to help avoid mould

These easy tips will help keep your wardrobe mould-free:

  • Whilst hanging your clothes when they are ‘nearly dry’ is said to avoid creasing, unfortunately it adds moisture to your wardrobes. This can be problematic if your cabinetry is poorly ventilated, so it's best avoided.
  • Another preventative measure is to never overfill your storage space. When garments are tightly packed against each other, mould can grow and spread easily from one item to the next. So we suggest you declutter on a regular basis.
  • Those lovely scented drawer liners you buy aren't just great for keeping your clothes smelling good, they also absorb excess moisture, thus serving as a humidity regulator. Use them in as many sections of your cupboard as possible.
  • Desiccants like silica gel packets or camphor balls will also help to absorb moisture. Keep them in your drawers and replace them regularly or they will lose their efficacy. 
  • And, of course, installing a nifty humidifier will regulate moisture in the air, thereby arresting the growth of any mould spores. 

In Conclusion

Good ventilation and moisture control are key to preventing dampness in your built-in wardrobes and keeping your belongings safe from any damage. 

However, if you’re investing in new cabinetry, consult with a professional company to ensure that it is built with all the right measures in place. 

At FCI London we have all the experience you need to create the wardrobe of your dreams and offer a vast range of customisation options to boot. To find out more, get in touch today or pop into our showroom for a free design consultation. 


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