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How to Get Rid of Musty Smell in Basement

Mold Damage
Author: ServiceMaster Restore

Getting Rid of Musty Smells

A musty odor in your basement can spread and start to affect other areas of your home. Furniture, clothes, documents, carpets and more can absorb and retain a musty smell, making it unpleasant and even unbearable to stay in your home. The worst part? Musty smells indicate the presence of mold, which can cause serious health and safety issues. If you want to know how to get rid of musty smells in your basement, learn how to address the underlying cause with these tips from ServiceMaster Restore®.

How to Get Rid of a Musty Smell in your Basement

A musty smell in your basement is typically caused by mildew or mold, which both thrive in damp, dark locations. Mold and mildew don't just smell – they also cause decay and damage to your home, and their presence may lead to health problems like allergies or asthma. It's essential to keep your basement free of musty odors and the presence of mold to maintain a healthy home. If you smell mold in your home, follow these steps to assess the extent of the problem and create a plan for removal:

  • Check for condensation and water leaks. If you see any kind of water leak, stop it immediately to protect the integrity of your home's foundation and prevent water damage to your house and belongings. If the pipes in your basement show signs of condensation, wrap them with insulation to reduce the moisture that perpetuates musty odors.

  • Dry out the basement. Use dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air in your basement. If your basement has windows, keep them open for a few hours and use a fan to circulate fresh air into the room. Even without windows, you can try opening the basement door and placing a fan downstairs to increase air circulation.

  • Kill the mold. You may be surprised to learn that undiluted white vinegar has the ability to kill 82 percent of mold spores. Wearing protective gear to prevent contact with the spores, pour straight vinegar into a spray bottle and heavily mist all affected areas. Keep your windows open and air circulating during this step. Leave the mixture to dry to help prevent continued mold growth.

  • Clean the air. You can freshen the air after mold removal in a number of ways:

Vinegar: Place bowls of white vinegar in various places around the basement. The vinegar will lift the odor from the room. After a couple days, you'll discover you have a clean-smelling basement again. Cat litter: Put cat litter in open containers throughout the basement. When changed regularly, the litter will absorb most of the musty smell in your basement. Baking soda: Like cat litter, baking soda can absorb the majority of musty smells. Baking soda can maintain absorbency for up to 3 months, depending on how strong the odor in your home is. Once you've identified and addressed any condensation, leaks and other sources of moisture in your basement and thoroughly cleaned and dried the areas with mold growth, your basement should smell fresh again.

If the odor returns or you need help removing the signs and smells of mold in your home, call the experts at ServiceMaster Restore. We have intensive, proven mold remediation services to completely and correctly eradicate mold in homes, plus advanced deodorization tools and processes to eliminate the musty smell it leaves behind.