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How to Get Rid of a Musty Smell in the Basement

Cannot stand the musty smell all around the basement? Here are the effective ways to get rid of that horrible odor.
Ashlesha Bhondwe Jun 10, 2019
A house can be tidy is kept that way. No speck of dirt or a thing out of place, but a little odor and it takes away the charm of the house, no matter how elegant the decor!
A closed room with no ventilation is the most common place where you will come across a musty smell. This, more often than not, is the basement. So before you begin with the house cleaning, check out your basement.

What's that Smell?

You open the door to your basement and the irritable smell just makes you want to get out of there! The primary reason behind this is lack of ventilation. Your basement's suffocating. Another reason for that smell is humidity. Check for leakage and cracks in the walls and condensation on water pipes.
The moisture in the room may be the cause of the funky odor. A humid atmosphere is conducive to the growth of fungus such as mold and mildew.
Exposure to moisture for a couple of days is enough for these microbes to grow especially on wood and carpets. This adds on to the smell in your basement. Check your carpets, pipes and wooden articles for mold and mildew growth.
Apart from the smell, mold and mildew also pose various health hazards. These are fungi which can trigger various allergies even in healthy individuals and cause respiratory illness. A Mayo clinic study established the fact that these fungi are responsible for the onset of chronic sinusitis.

Getting Rid of that Musty Smell


If the basement has been closed for a very long time, the first thing to do is open the windows for a day and allow air circulation. Fresh air will definitely reduce the musty odor.
The more effective way is cross ventilation, which is opening the windows at opposite ends. Basement ventilation is something you must always consider to maintain a clean and odor-free environment. If you do not have these, then installing air vent fans can solve your problem.

Humidity Check

Try waterproofing to get rid of the smell and also prevent future possibilities of another odorous encounter! Sealing cracks in the walls with hydraulic cement can prove to be very effective. This cement expands while drying up to fill up cracks in the walls.
If you see water condensation on pipes be sure you insulate the pipes to avoid excessive humidity. Install a dehumidifier to get rid of the smell. Also remember to keep the relative humidity in the area well below 60%.

Getting Rid of Mold and Mildew

Be sure that you have located all the places which are moldy. Mold and mildew grow in the dark and moist corners and therefore mold removal can get difficult.
  • If you have them growing on your carpets, replacing them is the best option available. Cleaning and washing does not ensure guaranteed elimination.
  • If the mold and mildew is in the cracks and crevices in the wall, wash the walls with bleach. Make sure you wear gloves while doing this. Mopping the floor with chlorinated water also helps in getting rid of mildew. After washing and mopping with bleach, remember to remove the excess bleach using clean rags.
  • In the case of wood such as flooring and wooden articles, use a wood conditioner such as linseed oil to keep it free of moisture.
  • Expose the articles stored in the basement to sunlight. Binning things that have not been used for years is probably the best option.
  • Disinfect the basement with a fragrant disinfectant.
All these are simple home remedies that will help you in getting rid of the unbearable smell that has spread all over the basement.
If the situation is totally out of hand, you might want to consider basement remodeling. But before you call in for professional help to get rid of the musty smell in the house, trying these easy techniques would surely save you from shelling out those extra dollars.