mont blanc peak How to Get Rid of a Musty Smell in a Basement
Many homes have a damp basement smell that is oftentimes strong and overwhelming. As soon as the house basement door is opened the musty odor permeates throughout the house. Some homeowners avoid using their basements for storage for fear that the mildew smell or musty odor will imbed itself in the items stored. Basements have a mildewy, moldy or musty odor for one reason water. Water is the enemy of a house for many reasons including mildew, mold, wood rot and mildew smells or musty odors. Many basements have no indications of a leak, which leaves the homeowner to wonder where the damp odor is coming from. Those who live near a beach, shoreline, river or stream tend to struggle with damp smells more than those who live in areas that are dry.
Getting rid of the damp odor in the house basement is a priority for many. In order to make the house basement a part of the living space or to use it as storage for clothing, linens, books or other items that aren used often the problem needs to be addressed. There are quite a few steps homeowners can take to get rid of the mildew odor and freshen up the air.
Start outside the home by inspecting the gutters. Clean the gutters to remove dead leaves, twigs, nests and other debris that maybe causing a clog. If the gutters or clogged, the water runs off the roof,
into the gutters and splashes over the sides. As the soil soaks in the water, a process called hydrostatic pressure pushes the tiny water droplets through the masonry structure into your basement. If there is damage to the flashing, repair the flashing with roofing cement. If there is damage, remove the existing caulk and recaulk the windows with an exterior grade latex caulk. If possible repair the section of damaged roofing or consider having a second roof put on or tear the old roof off and install a new one.
Inside the HouseCheck all plumbing pipes running through the house basement for condensation or leaks. If the pipes are sweating wrap the pipes with insulation to minimize the water.
Sinks and Toilets
Check the pipes under the sink along with the sprayer hose to make sure water is not leaking into the house basement.
Getting Rid of the Damp Basement Smell
Set up a dehumidifier to pull excess moisture out of the air. If the basement is large, consider getting two dehumidifiers. Remember to empty the dehumidifier daily if it doesn have a discharge hose.
Fill plastic containers or old metal cans with charcoal briquettes and set them around the basement. Charcoal absorbs musty odors and helps to reduce dampness. Every two to four weeks depending on how damp the basement is, take the charcoal outside on a dry, sunny day and lay them out to dry or replace the charcoal with new charcoal.
If you are storing items in the basement, store them in plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes. Throw away old papers, carpets, rugs and newspapers. Paper and textiles absorb the musty odors and worsen a mildew smell in the basement.
Fill old cans, a bucket or shallow pan with cat litter. Cat litter is made to draw in dampness and deodorize. Dump the old cat litter and fill the containers with new cat litter every two to four weeks.
Wash linens, clothing and other textiles that you have stored in the basement. The fabric fibers retains a damp,
musty odor and may make you basement smell.
Fill cans or leave open boxes of baking soda around the basement to absorb the mildew smell. You can also sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the floors and let it sit for a few days. Sweep or vacuum the baking soda and dispose of it.
Leave dampness removal products around the basement such as Damp Ridto help reduce the dampness in the basement and the smell.
Mix equal amounts of chlorine bleach and water in a spray bottle. Spray masonry walls and floors and scrub them with a scrub brush.