Ways To Get Rid Of The Musty Smell In Your Basement
Scroll down for more detailed information on each of these seven tips.
How To Prevent That Musty Smell From Returning
The best way to prevent a musty smell from returning is by maximizing air circulation and minimizing dampness as much as possible. Install fans in your bathrooms, kitchen, and basement, and try to keep them running whenever moisture enters your home, such as the day of a rainstorm, while showering, or when cooking. After bathing or cooking, leave the fans on to allow the area to dry fully.
The Path Of Resistance
Initially, Mikes landlord tried to fix the problem himself, bleaching the moldy walls. We call that spray nâ pray, said Scott Armour of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, a global industry body for remediators. They, along with the EPA, advise against bleach for a variety of reasons, namely that fumes can be dangerous and its usually ineffective.
Bleach only works for non-porous surfaces. It cant touch the mold that has burrowed into surfaces like wood or drywall . But the most important reason bleach fails is that people dont stop the molds water supply.
First thing I do is check for leaks, in the bathroom or roof or a crack in the foundation, said Greg Bukowski, who runs the Chicago-based remediation company Moldman USA. Theres always a leak. If you dont fix that, dont bother with bleach or vinegar. Then kill and remove the mold with detergent and water, then prevent its return with mold-resistant paint like Kilz .
When bleach didnt work, Mike paid for an indoor airborne mold test, which raised more questions than it answered. We had no idea how to interpret the results. I just couldnt find any information out there that isnt written by remediation guys, he said. They told him he had the dreaded black mold, and needed professional remediation.
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What Are The Signs Of Mildew Growth
Like mold, a sure sign of mildew growth is the smell. In rarely-ventilated areas like the basement, the smell is bound to be stronger.
Another sign of mildew growth is the powdery or downy growth on surfaces. As mentioned above, mildew has two types: powdery or downy.
Having either powder or downy growth on your surfaces is a sure sign of mildew growth. However, we do not recommend touching contaminated areas.
Despite having less serious health problems like mold, mildew can still cause an allergic reaction. Hence, touching it with your bare hands is a no-no.
Also, when you remove mildew from your basement, make sure you have protective gear. Avoid mildew exposure by wearing gloves and long sleeves.
Lastly, wear a mask to avoid inhaling its spores. After putting on protective gear, you are now prepared to tackle the mildew problem in your basement.
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How To Get Rid Of That Musty Basement Smell
Friday, August 6th
Identify the cause behind your musty-smelling basement and find out what you can do to eliminate the foul odors for good.
Most musty basement smells are a symptom of a mold or mildew problem caused by excessive moisture.
That unmistakable musty smell, often described as being similar to that of a pair of wet socks or a wet dog, is the signature scent of mold and/or mildew. Most basements are damp and dark – ideal conditions for these fungi to thrive. Not only can their musty odor make its way up into the rest of your home, but mold spores can also cause allergy symptoms and structural problems.
If your basement smells musty after rain, when the weather is humid, or all the time, simply removing the odor wont eliminate the problem. The first step to getting rid of the musty smell in your basement is identifying the source. Most of the time, the smell is a symptom of a mold or mildew problem caused by moisture. This guide will help you identify whats making your basement smell musty and outline solutions for getting rid of the odors for good.
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How Do You Get Rid Of Mold Smelling Bacteria And Indoors
A regular cleaning schedule and checking of vulnerable areas is the right thing to do. Not only can you get rid of unpleasant smells but prevent them. The use of disinfectants and deep cleaners can come in handy. If you want a cheaper solution, go DIY with vinegar and baking soda, which are excellent at odor removal.
Set Other Odor Absorbers
Besides commercial deodorizers, other natural substances can also absorb musty odors. One of them is lemon.
Lemon is a citrus fruit that has a pleasant scent. But thats not all, it can also absorb odor molecules. This means lemon can act as both a natural air freshener and a deodorizer.
To keep your basement smelling fresh after the flood, you can set bowls of lemon peels in different corners of the basement. This is an organic material so expect it to rot after some time. Replace the peels as at when due.
Rock salt and fresh charcoal are other materials you can use to absorb bad odors.
A lot of people dont know this, but fresh charcoal can absorb bad odors out of the air. The good news is, fresh charcoal isnt hard to get, you can make yours at home by safely burning some wood.
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Prevent Future Musty Basement Smells
You can help ensure your home and basement stay odor-free by regularly checking for moisture and airflow issues that could lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
Musty smells in the basement are never pleasant to deal with, but the multitude of potential negative impacts on health and your home means its worth the effort to deal with such problems as quickly as possible. The best way to avoid these problems is to implement basement waterproofing solutions.
What Causes Mold Smell In Car
The growth of mold or mildew in cars can cause a musty smell. Sometimes they grow in the cars air vents, upholstery, or fabrics in the interior. The fungus can quickly grow in vehicles because it is a closed space. Because of leaks in the pipes and air vents in cars, condensation is the most common factor of musty smell.
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Metazene Odor Neutralizing Surface And Wall Spray
Available in a gallons and transferred to quart-sized sprayers with a fresh mint scent, our oil-based Metazene Wall Spray works effective and different than standard water-based deodorizer products, which utilize perfume and water and rely on enzymes to eliminate odors.
When our Wall Spray is applied regularly to surfaces as needed, being sure to test any painted, varnished or plastic materials prior to application, odors are effectively neutralized.
Metazene Wall Spray, with industrial science and technology, attacks and destroys malodors at their molecular level.
This is a far more permanent solution that most retail products, which at best only serves to temporarily mask bad smells.
Metazene Wall Spray creates a neutralizing atmosphere because the foul smelling molecules attach themselves to the Metazene particles, which trap and lock in malodors.
So what are you waiting for?! Follow the above steps, order our and finally make your basement smell fresh again and eliminate musty odors once and for all!
Final thoughts about basement odors: If something bad smells in the basement, it will eventually make its way to the attic. ~ Anthony Liccione.
Professional Basement Waterproofing Services & More
Of course, all of these are short-term solutions to musty basement odor problems. For a long-term solution, you should turn to a basement waterproofing company that can provide you with a tried and true waterproofing system. For more than a decade, Engineered Solutions of Georgia has helped homeowners throughout Atlanta and surrounding areas eliminate musty basement odors by sealing groundwater entry points, installing vapor barriers, and other moisture control systems such as dehumidifiers and sump pumps.
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First Identify The Source Of The Smell
The easiest way to mask a smell is to spray a deodorizer or light a candle. However, this doesnt address the problem. As soon as the candle goes out, the smell will return. Plus, while a regular homebuyer might ignore a smell masked by a candle, a home inspector will not. You will have to address the must eventually.
Instead of masking the smell, eliminate it. Determine where the water in your basement is coming from and why it is prevalent. This may take some detective work. Walk through your basement and note where the humidity feels higher and where the air feels clammy. Follow your nose to different areas.
If you arent sure about the source of the smell, hire a mold specialist to evaluate your basement. Even if your downstairs area isnt moldy, these professionals can identify why water is getting in and how to remove it.
Once you know the you can take steps to fix the moisture problems. This could be a simple process like resealing the windows and repairing a small leak. However, you may need to take steps to reinsulate your basement to block water and humid air from traveling inside.
Maintain Healthy Humidity Levels
Have you ever noticed that your basement is always slightly cooler than the rest of your dwelling? Thats because of its lower position. While this can be pleasant during the hot summer months, it can cause excess moisture and lead to mold growth. When the warm air from your homes upper levels enters the basement, the water vapor can condense and cover the walls.
Mold likes a humidity level of over 60%. To keep your humidity levels in check, you can invest in a hygrometer to measure your basements humidity levels. It also might help to buy a dehumidifier.
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I Have A Major Moisture Issue Along One Wall In Basement Particularly Behind Furnace Duct
The white, fluffy substance is efflorescence and the black spotting on the wall is mold growth. Efflorescence occurs when moisture moves through the concrete and deposits minerals/salts on the surface. In a basement, this can be a complex issue. First, I recommend looking at your downspouts and ensure they are moving the water far away from your home. Your goal is to reduce the moisture load in the soil near your home.
If this doesnt solve the problem, youll likely need a sump pump and possibly an interior footing drain. While expensive, they are often the only way to completely solve the problem. In most cases this will involved removing the wall in the problem area so the footing drain can be installed at the very edge of the concrete slab.
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How To Clean Mold From Concrete Basement Walls With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a versatile and effective cleaner thats a fungicide, virucide, and bactericide. There are dozens of peroxide uses for around the home, both inside and out.
Disinfecting with hydrogen peroxide will kill virtually anything thats growing on your basement walls, including mold! Its also ideal to clean concrete basement floors, too.
- Bristle brush
To kill mold on concrete basement walls or for an ideal DIY mildew remover, pour 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Saturate the walls with the peroxide, then let it sit for up to 30 minutes. Clean mold off walls by scrubbing the area thoroughly with a bristle brush after about ten minutes to help to lift any residual mold out of the pores in the concrete.
If you can, hose off the walls or scrub them down with warm water to remove any cling-on spores when you finish and leave the walls clean and shiny. Dry with a clean towel to eliminate water spots that could encourage more mold to grow.
Peroxide is an excellent option not only for mold removal but to get rid of other types of stains, as well, especially for how to clean white walls that may have mold or mildew.
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Why Should You Eliminate Mold
The first reason is that mold will continue to grow uncontrollably in the building. This could cause serious structural problems, and it will not look good.
The second reason is for your health. Although mold is not dangerous in most cases, some species can be toxic when inhaled. In people with allergic problems, a mold of any kind is a risk to their health, since they can develop respiratory complications derived from spores found in the air. Other people experience allergic skin reactions. It is better to avoid these risks.
How To Make A Basement Smell Fresh
It is necessary to take action to make the basement smell fresh. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to breathe comfortably and spend time in it.
It can be done in the following manner.
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First Can I Remove Mold Myself
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You can, but mold spores can travel in the air when cleaning, so youll want to limit your exposure by wearing protective gear. Wear long rubber gloves to protect your hands and forearms. Its also best to wear eye protection, like goggles, to prevent bleach or other cleaners from splashing in your eyes, especially when removing mold from ceilings or overhead areas.
If the mold problem is severe and more than a few spots, it could be a sign of a bigger moisture problem. If the area is widespread and larger than approximately a 2 x 2 foot area, youâll want to call in a pro to have it removed safely.
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How To Get Rid Of The Flooded Basement Smell
There are a number of household remedies you may use to help rid your basement of its foul smell and odor.
- Pour cat litter over the affected area. This works best if you have localized the smell and have allocated it to being a spill or growth of mold/mildew. Allow the cat litter to sit for a duration. Once it becomes more dense, and darker in color, it has likely absorbed the bulk of the substance in question.
- Treat the carpet with a white vinegar spray. One cup of white vinegar mixed with two cups of warm water in dilution will provide you with a proper spray used to eliminate unwanted odors. A light covering of the area should be enough to combat the smell.
- Activated charcoal based odor absorbers. Activated charcoal undergoes a treatment in order to make it extra porous, allowing for the absorption of many undesirable smells.
- A baking soda mixture.Baking soda contains absorbent properties that will allow for these substances to be picked up over time. Baking soda can maintain its absorbency for upwards of 3 months, depending on the quantity used. This works best if you need to get into tighter confined spaces, as opposed to something like cat litter being bulkier in property.
- Try utilizing a dehumidifier. It is essential to remove the humidity and moisture from the targeted area in order to reduce the spread of unwanted fungal invaders and smells.
- Other substances like bleach or borax may be used to help clean and eradicate the smell on surfaces.
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Strategy #1: Use Vinegar To Clean The Air
Vinegar is a natural fungicide and disinfectant that can help kill mold spores in the air. You will need white distilled vinegar , water, a spray bottle, and essential oils of your choice for scent if desired.
Mix together equal parts vinegar with about ½ cup of water per gallon size container you have available .
Spray this solution around your basement walls and floors to kill any mold spores on contact. You can also add a few drops of essential oils for some extra scent if desired! The next day, wipe down all surfaces with vinegar again before spraying another coat on top of them .
How To Remove A Musty Smell From Your Home
Possible sources of musty smells in your home: If you smell something musty, try looking for mold growth in the rooms pictured above!
It is not always fun to read about how mold and mildew can be affecting your home and health, but it is essential information to have. Now that we have gone over the basics, it is time to take action so you can get that musty smell out of your home.
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