Clean Your Home Clear Your Mind
As you’re hunting for musty smells, it’s a good time to clear out clutter. Open spaces promote better air flow. Those cluttered, forgotten corners are prime turf for dust and mildew buildup.
If you need some ideas to help you get started, check out Spring Cleaning 6 Steps to a Clean and Organized Kitchen. 6 Ways to Get the Musty Smell Out of Clothes and Towels includes tips for dealing with musty closets.
Several studies have shown that folks who have too much clutter also tend to suffer from higher rates of depression. I don’t know if this is because they’re too depressed to clean, or the mess makes them depressed. Either way, I figure it’s a win-win to clean up your space. Less odors, and more room to tackle the next project.
You may also find these useful:
Keep Your Home As Dry As Possible
Wet surfaces spell trouble for your home. Not only will they encourage mold and mildew to form, but wet surfaces can cause long-lasting damage to your property. Therefore, you must keep all surfaces dry whenever possible. Be sure to dry the bathroom floor after a shower, spills in the kitchen, or anything thats not supposed to be wet.
Prevention Is The Key
Just as you can prevent your shag rugs from getting dirty depending on where you place them in your home, and you can prevent kitchen countertops from tarnishing by using beeswax, you can also take some steps to stop mildew from starting at all with a few vital tips.
Homeowners or renters should pay close attention to any foul, musty smells due to mildew before it becomes a significant issue by watching their homes humidity levels. Per the Mayo Clinic, ideal levels of humidity should be between 30% and 50%. Moving.com, part of the Realtor.com network, suggests turning exhaust fans on while taking a shower and keeping areas dry . They also say to make sure you have some air coming into your home by opening the windows to prevent any mildew smells from forming.
Also Check: Mildew Bathroom Ceiling
Recommended Reading: How Do You Clean Mildew Off Of Leather
Leaky Pipes And Wall Cracks
That earthy mildew smell might be coming from a broken seal on a basement window or a crack in the foundation wall.
Other things like clogged rain gutters, french drains, or sewer backups can also bring water in contact with the basement walls where water can pool and be absorbed by concrete walls. Leaky pipes are another potential cause of moisture in the basement.
When To Hire A Professional
Mold smells can be more challenging to remove than we may think. When done improperly, one can spread the colonies instead of eradicating them. Here are a few situations when its best to call a professional to help:
- No visual: If you can smell the mold but cant find the source.
- Medium molded area: If mold has expanded over 10 to 30 square feet, a professional should assess the situation and make recommendations.
- Large molded area: If mold covers over 30 square feet, a qualified person should tackle the task. You may also want to address the insulation issue .
- Mold keeps growing back: There may be hidden spores that keep reviving the colony.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Mold On Shower Ceiling
How To Get Rid Of The Damp Smell
Throw away items badly affected by the damp/mould
Sadly, some of your belongings may be beyond repair:
- As noted before, upholstered furniture and fabrics can be riddled with mould.
- Moist and mouldy clothes can possibly be saved, but if they come out of the washing machine and still dont smell right, you may have to bin them.
- Books, photos, magazines and the like are, unfortunately, difficult to save from significant mould infestation.
If mould has irreversibly damaged these items, we recommend you throw them away, eliminate the source of the mould, dry out your home and then you can relax knowing youve got it all under control.
How To Get Rid Of Musty Smell In Basement
Your basement is another breeding ground for musty smells, especially if it is unfinished. Why? Because basements are typically damp. However, before you can remove the smell permanently, you need to find the source or sources and clean it. Vinegar or peroxide are great options for removing mold and mildew. Youll also want to:
Remove soggy boxes or wet clothing.
Pack things, like Christmas decorations, in airtight plastic containers.
Clean or throw away furniture with mildew.
Install a dehumidifier.
Once youve tackled all that, its time to remove the odor.
Fill bowls with baking soda.
Set them around the room to absorb odors in the air.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Mold On The Ceiling
What Causes Musty Smell
Musty is a word we associate with an unclean, stale, and often moldy smell. You may notice it in a home that is new to you, or if your home has been closed up for a time. You may also just notice it suddenly appear in your home. A musty smell usually develops over time and is a sign of decay.
Musty or moldy smells can be attributed to many things including dampness and mold, lack of adequate airflow, or odors trapped in your HVAC system. A musty smell is a warning sign that you should not ignore and generally is a sign of mold growth in your home. Mold and mildew can release foul-smelling gases. Mold spores grow in the presence of moisture or water and can quickly develop within 24 to 48 hours in the right conditions.
If you experience a water leak such as a burst pipe or excess condensation the excess moisture can go unnoticed until mold forms and you begin to smell a musty odor. Moisture buildup combined with darker areas and stagnant air is a prescription for mold growth. The odor may be throughout your home, in your basement, laundry, bathroom areas, or closets.
As soon as you notice any mustiness, inspect the area and look for any leaks in your pipes, appliances, bathrooms, or kitchens. Check for signs of water and address it immediately. If it seems to be coming from a small area like under a sink, that makes it easier to track and treat.
Improper Installation Of Ceiling And Walls
Sometimes builders are unfortunately incompetent or are completely rushing through jobs and don’t think about consequences of installation.
Vitutally, the same effect can happen as a not properly insulated areas. If drywall is not installed correctly hot air can enter the wall cavity space.
Here’s an example:
The hot air in the wall cavity mixed with cold air in the living space created a dew point which led to condensation.
This particular house had a potent mold smell and sure enough, there was some mold within the wall space.
You May Like: Black Mold Ceiling Bathroom
S To Getting Rid Of Mold
The spores of mold require a substrate, warmth, darkness, oxygen, and moisture to grow. Moisture is the real catalyst however and can stem from a leaking tap or simply a high level of humidity.
Some may find that their house smells musty in summer as humidity levels rise. The trick is to reverse these ideal conditions to combat the growth of mold in your home.
Why Does Mold Cause A Pungent Odor
Mold growth itself does not smell bad. It is the off-gases that are let off by mold growth called Microbial Organic Compounds .
The dank musty odor signifies the presence of microbial volatile organic compounds . Traditional volatile organic compounds are mainly industrial made chemicals with low molecular weights, high vapor pressure and low water solubility. MVOCs are released from metabolic processes of decay agents like fungi, bacteria and biofilm. The off gassing of MVOCs include a wide range of alcohols, ketones, aldehyde, esters, carboxylic acids, lactones, terpenes, aromatic hydrocarbons, sulfur and nitrogen compounds.
You don’t need to know scientifically how MVOC’s are formed, however, you must know it is caused in most causes by water damaged porous materials. This could mean drywall, clothes, flooring, etc.
Bottom line is this:
If you have had a leak in your home that was not dried up properly or maybe a hidden leak that led to mold growth
You have identified mold as the source of the moldy smell in your home.
Recommended Reading: Sanding Mold Off Wood
How To Get Rid Of Musty Smell In House
We humans are simply remarkable creatures.
Our incredible array of senses have been put in place to guide us and keep us safe from harm, many of them operating unconsciously as we go about our daily lives. Its instinctual to squint when the light is too bright, to jerk our hands away from something thats too hot, or to avoid unpleasant smells that may be poisonous.
In most cases, our senses are accurately informing us that there is something wrong. So, when our noses tell us to find and get rid of musty smell in house, we should pay attention.
Lets understand what causes those musty smells, and how to get rid of musty smell in house.
Preventing Mildew From Forming
Mildew prevention is important both after treating the mildew smell and prior to ever experiencing the problem in the first place. A few tips on doing it:
- Pay attention to humidity levels in your home. Mildew and mold both thrive on humidity. If you have a household dehumidifier then be sure to use itand to adjust it as needed depending on the season.
- Keep the fan on when showering. That bathroom fan isnt just there for looks. Use it every single time that you bathe or shower to suck moisture out of the air instead of allowing it to end up on your walls, ceilings, and floors.
- Dry off wet areas. Sitting water is a no-go when youre trying to prevent mildew. Make sure to thoroughly dry your bathtubs, showers, faucets, etc. after use, as well as anywhere else that water happens to end up.
- Open the windows. Fresh air is one of the best ways to prevent mildew. Weather permitting, keep your windows open and the fresh air flowing, especially in rooms where mildew tends to flourish.
Don’t Miss: Cleaning Mold Off Ceiling
Are Mold & Mildew Dangerous
Common health effects from inhaling mold and mildew spores include itchy, watery, red eyes, coughing, and a scratchy throat.
Inhaling mold and mildew spores can lead to dangerous health effects if a person is allergic or is already suffering from a respiratory illness like COPD or asthma.
Mold and mildew can be dangerous depending on the health of the person exposed to them.
Best Way To Remove Mold From Fabric
The way you deal with mold on fabric depends on if it is colored or white material. If you are dealing with colored fabric, you want to use white vinegar. For white fabric, reach for the peroxide or bleach. Now, it’s time to get rid of the mold.
Also Check: How Do You Clean Mold Off Of Leather
Removing Mildew Smell From Clothing
Towels and washcloths are one thing, but if your teenager’s clothes got left in the hamper too long, then they could be producing that horrible smell as well. Mildew just needs damp and humid conditions to thrive, and a teenager’s hamper is perfect. To get the musty smell from clothes, grab the:
How To Get Musty Smells Out Of Towels
Towels arenât really all that different from clothing, so the tips above will serve you well if you have musty smelling towels. With towels, though, the other absolutely critical thing is to really let them dry after each use. Otherwise, youâve got a super damp cloth hanging out in your homeâand by now, you know what that means.
Read Also: Airborne Mold In House
Steam Upholstery And Carpeting
Also Check: How To Get Mold Out Of Blankets
Fresh Air And Sunshine
A healthy dose of fresh air and sunshine is the best thing in the world for people and pets but it can sound the death knell for mold and mildew. An hour or two of exposure to UV-C rays from direct sunlight can efficiently wipe out 99.9 percent of mold and spores.
Incidentally, UV rays are also highly efficient combatants of bacteria, fungus, and certain viruses all excellent reasons to spend some more time outdoors.
Our indoor air quality will be vastly improved if we ensure that it is well ventilated. So, fling open those doors and windows whenever you can.
Don’t Miss: How To Clean Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling
Turn On Ventilation Fans
Always run your exhaust fan when cooking or taking a shower and at least 20-30 minutes after. If you dont have a ventilation fan, install one. After showering, I also recommend wiping up excess water and drawing the curtain closed so it dries.
TISSUE TEST: If your exhaust fan seems weak, do the tissue test. Turn your exhaust fan oncould be the one in the kitchen or bathroomand hold a tissue up to it. If the fan holds the tissue its probably fineif not, you might need to replace the fan. If any of your exhausts fail the tissue test bring in an HVAC pro.
Home Remedies For Musty Smells In Homes
When it comes to the removal of the musty smells harbored within your home, you may try everything you can think of with no alleviation of this odor in the air. Whats next? Depending on the strength of the musty odors in your home, you may have to turn to other solutions and home remedies to rid the smells from the air space for good. These home remedies can include the intake of fresh air within the environment, increased air flow, and the help of an air purifier for musty smell removal.
Read Also: Remove Black Mold From Ceiling
Don’t Miss: Basement Mold Removal Diy
How Do I Get Rid Of Mold
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.
It’s important to remember:
For more information:
For Help With Mold Odor Removal
If you need assistance locating hidden mold or if you need help with mold removal, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends consulting a professional that adheres to the guidelines established by industry organizations like the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists . That way you know the work will be done correctly. You can follow this link to schedule a free in-home consultation with a qualified mold removal professional in your area. Theres no cost and no obligation.
Recommended Reading: What Kills Mold On Leather
Controlling The Moisture Levels:
A simple and obvious solution for curbing the mold and mildew growth in the corners is to control the moisture levels of the house. Fungi usually thrive in wet and humid environment, this means bathrooms, kitchen areas and garden shed are more prone to fungal growth. Install exhaust fans and ensure that there are no leakages and damp ceiling in the house. Ensure that there are no damp spots, wet rugs or clothes lying about the house. Keep your house as dry as possible.
Pro Tips On How To Get Rid Of Musty Smells In Your Home
Identify + remove musty smells with this must-have checklist.
Weâve all been there. Youâre sitting at home click-clacking away at your computer when all of a sudden, you catch a drift of something undeniably musty. Stale, moldy, damp: musty smells can be hard to put your finger on exactly. But when theyâre there, theyâre really there. Somethingâor some combination of thingsâis making your house smell deeply unsavory.
Read Also: Clean Mold Off Bathroom Ceiling
How To Get Rid Of Mold Smell
When the countless air fresheners don’t work, and throwing open the windows to circulate air doesn’t do much good, you have no choice left except to get down and dirty, to destroy the mold. Let’s take a look at how you can do this.
When the countless air fresheners dont work, and throwing open the windows to circulate air doesnt do much good, you have no choice left except to get down and dirty, to destroy the mold. Lets take a look at how you can do this.
Mold is nothing but one of the many types of fungi that thrive in damp locations. This is an entity that covers the surface bathrooms, basements, kitchens, ceilings, and even clothes that havent been used for a while. Most types of fungi are airborne and have the ability to spread from one area to the another within a home. But they need moist, dark, and warm places, to breed and thrive.
A black mold infestation can affect the way a house looks to a great extent, giving the place an unsightly, or lets say unpleasant, appearance. Because the presence of this fungi poses as a threat to your health, including that of your family members and visitors, it is important to get rid of the mold infestation without a moments delay.
Once you notice the signsyellow spotting or a substance in a mysterious colordestroy the mold while you can, before it spreads. Always wear protective gear when tackling such a problemface mask, rubber gloves , and overalls.
How to Get Rid of Mold Odor