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Musty Smell in House: Causes & How To Get Rid of It

Let us know if this sounds a bit familiar to you. You walk into a house, and you instantly get a whiff of something old and musty. The “old house smell” is something every homeowner dreads, and for good reason. A musty old smell can be extremely displeasing and tricky to get rid of. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to eliminate musty odors.

In this post, we’ll cover what causes a musty smell, and a few ways you can get rid of it.

What Causes a Home To Smell Musty?

Several factors of your home can cause a musty smell. No matter the cause, a musty smell is unpleasant for anyone that enters your house. However, it’s important to distinguish the difference between a musty smell and the smell of molding.

Molding typically is a sharp and lively type of odor that makes you want to leave a room as quickly as possible. A musty smell is a lot dryer. That said, a musty smell can be an early indicator of a mold problem. So, if there’s a musty smell in the air, be sure to check around the room for mold.

Here are some of the leading causes of musty odors in a household:

Wet Clothes

If you’re guilty of putting clothes in the washing machine and completely forgetting about them, you’re not alone. Leaving your wet clothes in the washing machine is a sure-fire way to make your home smell musty. Even leaving your wet clothes in there for a few hours can already make them smell a bit off. Leave them in there for half a day, and they will be so unbearable you need to wash them again.

If possible, take your clothes out of the washing machine and put them in the dryer or hang them up immediately. Not only will this help make your house smell better, but your clothes too.

Carpets

Keeping your carpet clean is essential for a fresh-smelling home. Carpets work exactly like sponges, absorbing moisture, smells, and other particles that can make them smell musty. However, only vacuuming isn’t going to cut it. While vacuuming will get all the dirt and debris out of your carpet, it won’t help remove moisture or bacteria.

What’s best is to use a steam cleaner, shampoo, or baking soda to remove the musty smell and mold from your carpet.

Mattresses/Bedding

Your sheets, blankets, mattress, and practically any other fabric you lay on will eventually collect moisture from you and other people’s bodies (yuck!). While it may take a while, places like your bed, sofa, and loveseat can start to smell musty over time.

To prevent this, wash these places regularly using an appropriate cleaning solution. You can also opt for a mattress topper/protector to keep your mattress smelling fresh all year round.

Dish Sponge

If you think about your dish sponge, it’s constantly wet. To no surprise, it’s a prime target for mold, mildew, bacteria, and numerous other foul-smelling compounds that make your kitchen reek. Unfortunately, people keep their dish sponges way past their prime. The second you notice yours is smelling funky, ditch it and get a new on

Person Wearing A Mask And Gloves Cleaning A Window

How To Get Rid of Musty Smells in Your House Once and for All

Now that you know some causes of a musty smell in the air, how do you get rid of it? Thankfully, there are numerous ways you can make your home smell fresh again.

1. Find the Source

Above are some of the most common culprits of a musty smell. If you look at what they all have in common, they all signify a presence of either mildew or mold resulting from moisture. So, make sure to find the source of mold or mildew before you put in the effort to eliminate the musty smell, as doing so will only cover it.

Some common areas mold and mildew are present are:

  • Kitchen. Since you use a fair amount of water in the kitchen, there are plenty of spots for mold to grow. Be sure to check around your fridge, sink, cabinets, and around your stove. Depending on what food you threw away, mold may start to form in your trash can as well.
  • Bathrooms. Since warmth and moisture are abundant, mold spores love bathrooms. People find mold growing in their shower, between tiles, under the sink… you name it. Make sure you check your bathrooms regularly to spot any mold growing.
  • Bedrooms. While the bedroom is the last place you would expect mold to form, it’s still possible. It doesn’t hurt to check your mattress from time to time to see if any is growing there. Also look inside wardrobes and anything stood against an external wall.
  • Basement. Dark, moist, and warm, basements are like Disneyland for mold spores. You’re likely to find mold around your water heater, near insulation, vents, on the walls, and ceilings.

2. Deal With Moisture Issues ASAP

You can do a deep clean every day of the week, and it still wouldn’t be enough to get rid of the musty smell if your home has a moisture problem. Why? Because moisture is one of the main ingredients of mold and mildew. As soon as you spot any leaks or anything else causing excess moisture, call a professional reparation service like All Dry USA to resolve it quickly.

3. Open the Windows

Letting some fresh air into the house is not only good at getting rid of the musty stench, but it’s also good for your health. Cracking open a few windows improves your home’s ventilation and prevents the growth of mold. If you have portable fans, let them run through the rooms too for even more freshness.

4. Utilize Warmer Days

If you live in a place where it gets bone-chilling cold, opening up your windows may not be viable. However, make sure you take full advantage of the warm days. Whenever possible, use a warm day to open windows, shake out your rugs, clean the carpet, or anything you can’t do during the winter.

5. 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 that’s not supposed to be wet.

Conclusion

Dealing with a musty-smelling house can seem like a never-ending snafu. However, remember to try and be patient and find the right solution to making your home smelling good again. It’s important you try and find the root cause of the musty smell, so you’re prepared to deal with it properly.

If you feel like you’re running in circles, you can always call our team of professionals at All Dry USA. We offer effective mold, water, and fire damage reparation services. Our team can find what’s causing your home to smell musty and provide a long-term solution. Contact our team today for a free estimate.

Ben Suiskind
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