If there’s a consistent musty smell every time you open your door and you’re ona mission to get rid of it, we’re here to help! Musty smells are among the most lingering and difficult to get rid of, but not impossible!
What you need to do first is determine what and where the source of the musty odor is. Failing to do this will just end up temporarily masking the odor, and not actually getting rid of it. Must odors usually come from dark areas with little or no air circulation such as, basements or attics. These dark and often damp areas cause mold or mildew to grow.
Spores from mold and mildew release gases, which cause the offending musty odor. This odor gets into every fabric in your home such as furniture, curtains, carpeting, cushions, clothing and even books. Finding out where it’s coming from should be your first goal so you can work on dealing with the source of the problem.
1. Find the source.
Is there a water leak somewhere? It may be coming in through your roof, a crack in your foundation or something as simple as a leaky faucet or poor window seals. You may need to call a professional like a plumber or foundation specialist to fix the problem permanently.
You’ll also want to make sure you get rid of any standing water. Don’t give mold or mildew spores a chance to grow! Moisture and darkness provide the ideal environment for mold and mildew to thrive.
Check around the exterior of your home, your gutters, and downspouts for any causes of water pooling near the foundation of your home.
2. Try a good cleaning.
It’s very important to give the area a complete cleaning. Get your self a bucket, scrub brush and a pair of rubber gloves. You can purchase an effective cleaning product or mix up one of your own using vinegar and hot water, or bleach and hot water. The bleach or vinegar will kill the mildew and neutralize the odors. Follow with a hot water rinse to remove any leftover bacteria. You can also fill a spray bottle with a vinegar and hot water solution to spray suspicious looking areas directly. The great thing about using vinegar is that it is inexpensive and also environmentally friendly. If you use bleach, just be aware that any bleach that splashes on your clothing or surrounding items will remove any color so dress appropriately. The bleach odor can also be quite irritating.
3. Mr. Golden Sun.
Sunlight is a natural mold blocker so use it to its fullest. Air out any cushions or blankets directly in the sun. After a thorough cleaning of the affected spaces, you will need to ventilate the area well. Do this by keeping windows open and using fans to dry the area.
Consider installing a humidifier to use on a permanent basis in a poorly ventilated room. Not ventilating the area properly will invite a return of the musty odor you’ve worked so hard to get rid of! You need to keep air circulating., so have some exhaust fans installed .
4. Deodorize & refresh.
You can stretch your use of vinegar to cover the task of washing fabrics. Along with getting rid of the odors from blankets, towels, curtains, clothing etc., vinegar added to the rinse cycle will also soften them. Your towels will come out as soft and fluffy as new. Don’t worry about everything smelling like vinegar, it will usually go away after a short amount of time.
Add one cup of vinegar to the wash cycle, and another cup to the rinse cycle. For badly affected items, you can presoak them in vinegar and hot water for 30 minutes.
Baking soda is another excellent environmentally friendly cheap cleaner you can use for many different purposes. Refresh rugs and carpets by sprinkling baking soda on the carpet overnight. Follow with a good vacuuming in the morning, and the baking soda will soak up any moisture and diffuse the odors.
You may need to be repeat this several times to get rid of all the odors. If you have stubborn mildew spots, you could use hydrogen peroxide. Mix 3 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide with 5 teaspoons of water and apply directly to the stain. Let it sit and then scrub to clean the spot where you poured it.
You can also use baking soda for other items like musty shoes. Simply sprinkle inside the boots or shoes and seal them in a Ziploc bag. Give furniture a good cleaning by sprinkling baking soda into drawers, let it sit and then wipe and rinse with hot water. Most of us are familiar with the effectiveness of a box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb any filthy food odors.
Activated charcoal is very effective in absorbing odors, which you can usually find at the local hardware store. Once you’ve got it, put it in the corners of the musty rooms for the best effect.
You can also use charcoal briquettes. If you are an avid charcoal griller and have some charcoal on hand, you may find this an easy solution. It might take a bit longer, sometimes taking up to a week to start removing odors. A pan of cat litter will also help in removing both moisture and odors.
For your health!
To make matters worse, odor from mold and mildew is not your only concern. The black spots on your shower curtain, or that orange film on your kitchen drain can pose a health problem.
In some cases it can even make you sick, especially if you have asthma or allergies. It can cause allergic reactions such as red eyes, a runny nose, or irritations to your throat and nose.
Get rid of it for good!
It is important to get to the root of that musty smell in your home to control any existing and future problems. Bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, crawl spaces and attics are a good place to start the investigation in your home. By being consistent in getting rid of any source for moisture you can prevent mold from growing and becoming a serious problem.
Remember, if you keep your home clean, dry and well ventilated you are on your way to being successful in getting rid of that musty odor in your home for good!