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What Is an Airing Cupboard?

What is an airing cupboard used for?

An airing cupboard is primarily used to store a home’s hot water tank. Airing cupboards are commonly found in larger properties because larger homes have higher demands for hot water, demands which usually cannot be met by a combi boiler. Conventional boiler systems are better able to meet large demands for hot water because they use separate tanks to store hot water ahead of time.

Hot water tanks vary in size and are usually installed near a bathroom, a bedroom or on a stairway landing to deliver hot water when it is needed. Boiler cupboards were installed to house the water tank.

This airing cupboard, or boiler cupboard, is kept warm by the heat inside the hot water tank, which means it is a popular place to dry damp laundry. Airing cupboards usually include shelves to dry and store towels, bedding and even clothes, which opens up storage space elsewhere in the home. Airing cupboards are particularly handy for properties without utility rooms or general space to dry clothes. It should be noted, however, that soaking wet items should never be dried in an airing cupboard as this could cause significant damp.

How can I make my airing cupboard smell nice?

Boiler cupboards are renowned for smelling musty. The high levels of condensation means that the space can become damp, which can create an unpleasant smell if left unchecked. Nevertheless, there are ways of combating this beyond ensuring that it is well ventilated.

One option is to spray your laundry with a pleasant fragrance before placing it in the airing cupboard. The smell on the bedding and towels will fan out and improve the damp smell. Another option is to place scented sachets in the airing cupboard. Rose, lemon and lavender are common fragrances people choose and for good reason; aside from smelling good, scents like lavender are proven to deter moths.

Can I put a combi boiler in an airing cupboard?

Combi boilers do not need a separate tank to store hot water as they take water directly from the mains and heat it on demand. Homeowners looking to replace a regular or a system boiler with a combi boiler sometimes choose to place their combi boiler in the airing cupboard. It is perfectly safe to do so, but here's something to bear in mind. New appliances are classed as room sealed – this basically means that the air within the boiler is separate from the air in the room. The flue has the air inlet which draws in air, as a result you don’t need any ventilation on a current room sealed appliance.

Consult with a Gas Safe Registered (GSR) engineer to make sure your airing cupboard is a suitable place for installing your new combi boiler, as they may recommend other more suitable locations when they survey your property.”


  • An airing cupboard is a space traditionally used to house a hot water tank. It is also commonly used to store laundry.
  • Airing cupboards can become musty, so it is important to ensure that air can circulate freely through it, as well as using fragrances to keep it smelling fresh.
  • You can have a combi boiler installed in your airing cupboard, but request that a Gas Safe Registered (GSR) engineer surveys your property to make sure an airing cupboard is the most suitable fit for your new appliance.