Ever walked into your home after being away for a few days or even a few hours, only to be hit in the face by a musty, damp kind of smell? That nasty odor in the air is actually an indication that you have mold or mildew around your home.
Looking for a way to find the source of the odor and eradicate it? We have a solution for you below, so keep reading and you’ll be able to get rid of that smell quickly and naturally.
What Causes a Musty Smell in a House?
That damp and earthy smell of mold and mildew is almost always due to excessive humidity, especially in poorly ventilated places like your bathroom, basement, or laundry room. When mold and mildew build up, they release foul-smelling gases that can permeate textile surfaces like your carpet, curtains, and upholstery. If you’re wondering where you should check for the source of that unpleasant smell? Places that have excessive humidity that cause mold and mildew can include:
✔️ Water leaks hidden behind walls
✔️ Cracked foundations that allows water to seep in
✔️ Leaky roofs
✔️ Leaky air conditioners
✔️ Condensation buildup around doors and windows
✔️ Poor home ventilation
✔️ Unpremeditated flood or water damage
✔️ Damp or wet fabrics, like clothes and blankets
Do Mildew and Mold Smell the Same?
Different molds and mildews can have different odors to different people in different homes. Generally speaking, they both smell wet, earthy, and pungent. Sort of like rotting wood and dirty socks were mixed with a pile of wet swimsuits left to sit in the sun after a visit to the lake.
Can the Smell of Mold Harm You?
This is an important question, and the answer is almost always yes. Basically, the gases and smells released by mold and mildew are known as microbial volatile organic compounds, or MVOCs. When you breathe in these MVOCs, you can expect to experience a range of physical side effects, including:
✔️ Itchy skin or eyes
✔️ Nasal congestion
If you experience any of those symptoms after breathing around a mold outbreak, make sure to move immediately to fresh air and contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222.
Mildew Vs Mold
How Can You Tell Where That Musty Smell Is From?
The best way to fight and eliminate that nasty smell is by finding the source, which can sometimes be easier said than done. Is it coming from your teenager’s bedroom? That old living room recliner? Your washing machine, basement carpet, or maybe the shower curtains? With luck, you can usually trace the smell to a specific room or even object in the house, but other times, the smell can just fill the air around the environment itself if the air is humid enough. As you start your hunt around your house and look for the offending fungus, pay particular attention to areas near water sources and particularly humid places like windows, doors, bathrooms, laundry areas, and basement pipes.
How to Get Rid of Musty Smell in House
Mold and mildew are usually found thriving around dark, wet conditions. The best ways to handle the musty aroma and keeping it under control is by maintaining proper airflow and humidity levels. Here are a couple of quick and simple ways to do this around your home:
✔️ Open windows on breezy days to bring fresh air into the space.
✔️ Run a powerful dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
✔️ Keep air circulating around the home with box and ceiling fans.
✔️ Populate your home with air-purifying houseplants.
✔️ Dust your whole home regularly and thoroughly.
✔️ Vacuum carpets with some baking soda and mop floors to get rid of any lingering odors.
✔️ Deep-clean your bathtubs and shower drains with a scrub brush and a good tub and tile cleaner, then keep them clean as part of a daily routine.
✔️ Clean your washing machine regularly and disinfect the dishwasher to get rid of mold and mildew.
✔️ Use your favorite air freshener or cut up some lemons and make your own.
✔️ Spray hard surfaces with distilled white vinegar to clean, deodorize, and disinfect.
How to Get Rid of the Musty Smell in Clothes
Ever picked up a damp towel or pull a piece of clothing from the wash only to notice that it doesn’t smell as clean as it should? Unfortunately, the musty odor is likely due to excess moisture or storage in a poorly ventilated area. Wash your clothing properly and regularly to keep it as fresh as possible, For some extra care, try these tips:
✔️ Make sure your clothing is completely dry before storing it in closets or drawers.
✔️ Move your clothes from the washer to the dryer quickly to avoid them sitting wet overnight.
✔️ Rewash smelly clothing with your favorite laundry detergent and a spoonful or two of baking soda.
✔️ Take old and unworn clothing out of your closet to make more room for air to properly circulate around the pieces you wear often.
Check out WikiHow’s additional tip too:
How To Get Rid Of Musty Smells on Furniture & Textile
Furniture with plush cushions and fine fibers tend to trap moisture, dust, and odors extremely easily. Same goes for curtains, blankets, and pillows. To deodorize these surfaces, you can clean your couch and other cozy spots around the home with these simple solutions:
✔️ Sprinkle your furniture with a little bit of baking soda, allow it to sit for about 20 minutes, and thoroughly vacuum the whole surface.
✔️ Maintain proper humidity in your home, ideally between 30% and 50%, by using a dehumidifier.
✔️ Keep your upholstered furniture away from damp areas like poorly sealed doors and windows.
✔️ Use a light and natural linen spray to help regularly refresh your furniture.
How To Prevent Musty Smells From Coming Back
You’ve cleaned your home, circulated in fresh air, and spot-treated the affected areas as best you can but that unpleasant smell is still lingering. This is more common than you may think, but it does mean that you may have a bigger problem on your hands that will require some professional attention. Act quickly and don’t let the that issue linger in your homee for too long before calling in a mold remediation specialist or a plumber.
Looking for more intensive and specific cleaning and deodorizing guides for around the house? No worries, TidyHere to the rescue! You can read up on how to clean pretty much every room and surface around your home with our blog full of helpful cleaning guides.
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