The one place in your home you're forgetting to clean (and why you shouldn't)

These expert tips will help you clean the dirtiest spot in your home

Teal wardrobes in a pink room
(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Jane Watson)

We never thought we'd have to add 'clean a wardrobe floor' to our cleaning calendar, but it turns out we really, really need to.

It's not an area we've ever really thought about, to be honest: after all, it's hidden from view and usually covered in stuff – be it shoes, storage boxes, or stray hangers. 

As such, these overlooked areas are usually one of the grubbiest spots in our homes.  Which isn't exactly the vibe we were going for when we came up with all of our beautiful walk-in wardrobe ideas, quite frankly.

Vintage colonial style wardrobe with wicker doors, bamboo chest of drawers, wooden door with lever handle. Home owned by Holly and Chris Levett,

(Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd/David Merewether)

'Cleaning your wardrobe doesn’t always spring to mind when thinking about chores around the house,' says Helen Hope, senior stylist at Studio.

'What’s more, dust and dirt might be hard to see in a dark closet, so we don’t always notice if it’s due a wipe down. However, closet floors collect so much dust and dirt which is why it’s important to clean just like any other floor in the home.'

So set aside your wardrobe storage ideas (just for a moment, we promise), then, because it's time to make like Eminem and start cleaning out your closet.

How to clean a wardrobe floor

While it's incredibly tempting to leave your wardrobe floor to its own devices, cleaning experts strongly advise against doing so.

'Not cleaning this space can lead to the accumulation of dust and dirt, which could create an unhygienic environment,' explains Olivia Young, product development scientist at Astonish

'This of course then turns the space into a location that is less than ideal for storing the clothes and shoes we wear every day. As well as the dirt potentially damaging our clothing, if those in your home suffer from allergies, then dust gathering is the last thing you want!'

Bedroom with green walls, green fire surround and wardrobe, wooden floor and double bed with green bedding.

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Thinking about the impact neglecting your closet floor space can have, it’s definitely advised to give it a good clean. 

'This isn’t something that needs doing on a daily basis, however it should certainly be introduced into your monthly cleaning at a minimum, to keep the space dirt and dust free,' suggests Olivia. 

'This may seem a lot if it’s usually a space you don’t clean, however it’s a task that doesn’t need to be time consuming, can be kept really simple and you can more than likely use a product you’ve already got, such as a ready-to-use disinfectant spray.'

Keen to get your wardrobe looking fit for Aslan, should he happen to stroll on through from Narnia? Then here are some tips on how to get started.

1. Dust from top to bottom

Detail of a galvanised steel caddy used to store cleaning equipment with a feather duster propped against it

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

The first thing you should do to get your wardrobe looking spick and span is remove everything from the wardrobe floor, before giving it a good old fashioned dusting.

'Always dust from top to bottom, as the floor is a perfect dust trap,' says Lucy Rhead at Gtech. 'Clothes that you might not wear often are particularly prone to dust build-up.' 

'If the dust is on your clothes for a long time, the dust can become stubborn, which can affect those who suffer from allergies and are sensitive to dust,' adds Lucy.

With that in mind, then, it's important to make sure you clean every part of a closet.

OXO Good Grips Microfibre Hand Duster | £12.50 at John Lewis

OXO Good Grips Microfibre Hand Duster | £12.50 at John Lewis

With a flexible head and long fluffy fibres, this clever brush gets into every nook and cranny and removes dust efficiently with just a light touch.

2. Whip out the handheld vacuum cleaner

White built in closet doors, bedside table, double bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Once you've given everything a good dusting, it's time to give the wardrobe floor a quick vacuum or sweep to remove excess dust. 

'Once this is done, simply spray your disinfectant, leave for five minutes to work its magic and then wipe with a clean cloth,' says Olivia. 

'This will help to sanitise the area, eliminate bacteria and leave a nice fresh fragrance.'

'A handheld vacuum cleaner is a great lightweight option for this chore as stick vacuum cleaners can easily get into smaller spaces like closets and also turn into handheld vacuum cleaners for more flexibility,' adds Lucy.

3. Start mopping

mop bucket in room with hardwood flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC / Polly Eltes)

If you don't already own one of the best mops, now is the perfect time to buy one: you can use it all around your home, including your wardrobe floor.

'If your closet can be mopped, then this is a great way to make sure it is squeaky clean for you to start putting your clothes back in,' says Lucy. 

'Just don’t forget to let your closet dry before putting clothes back in!'

4. Invest in some storage boxes

Built in vertical shoe and basket storage

(Image credit: Future PLC/Philp Lauterbach)

Want to make your job easier for next time? Invest in some storage boxes.

'When it comes to closets, storage boxes are an inexpensive way to increase storage space, especially if you are known to dump clothes at the bottom of the closet floor collecting dust,' says Helen. 

'This way when it comes to cleaning the floor, the dust will easily glide off and the contents in the box are dust-free!'

And just like that, we feel empowered to tackle the grimiest spot in our homes. If you'll excuse us, then, we're off to dig out our favourite cleaning hacks so we can get started...

How often should you clean a wardrobe floor?

'You should aim to give your wardrobe a thorough clean every couple of months to avoid dust building up,' says Helen from Studio. 

'It’s a good idea to write out a checklist for ‘deep cleaning’ which includes easily forgotten chores, such as cleaning the wardrobe floor and washing clothes that have been in storage, and set a calendar reminder every few months to complete these jobs around the house.'

What can I use to clean the inside of my wardrobe?

It's reasonably easy to clean a wardrobe floor: you simply need a good duster, a handheld vacuum, and either cloths and disinfectant, or a mop and a bucket of soapy water. 

Start by dusting your closet from top to bottom, before vacuuming. You can then either wiping the floor with the disinfectant and cloth, or get your wardrobe floor extra squeaky-clean with a good mopping session.

When should you clean a wardrobe floor?

It's a good idea to clean your wardrobe at the start of each season, as this is the time we are naturally looking to switch up our clothes to suit the changing weather. 

'Rather than just swapping the essentials, pull all your clothes out, see what old items you don’t want or need anymore and give your closet a deep clean,' says Lucy from vacuum experts Gtech.

Why should you clean a wardrobe floor?

'You may think that if your closet doors are shut you are protecting your clothes from dust,' says Helen from Studio. 

'However, dust settles on any surface and can travel from carpets and clothes into your closet very easily. If there is a build-up of dust on the closet floor, this can cause your clothes to eventually smell and even become discoloured in some cases.'

Kayleigh Dray
Acting Content Editor

Kayleigh Dray became Ideal Home’s Acting Content Editor in the spring of 2023, and is very excited to get to work. She joins the team after a decade-long career working as a journalist and editor across a number of leading lifestyle brands, both in-house and as a freelancer.