Discovering a musty smell in a home can lead to hours spent chasing down that odor and whatever is causing it. Unfortunately, the culprit is nearly always mold and mildew. So how does it get there, and how do you get rid of it? Here’s a look at everything you need to know to eliminate that unpleasant aroma for good.
Causes of a Musty Odor
Musty odors can be found inside any home or office, regardless of how clean or new it is. It’s most commonly found in warm, humid places like laundry rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Basements are another popular location for musty smells to accumulate. This is because mold and mildew thrive when they have moisture.
Mold growth can occur inside walls or in other places in your home. It’s usually caused by leaking pipes, cracks in the foundation or walls, poor ventilation, and other events that allow water to accumulate and stay stagnant.
This is where the musty odor comes in. Mold and mildew release gases as they multiply and build up. These gases can smell awfully foul, and they permeate everything within reach. This leads to dank-smelling towels, furniture, carpet, and clothing. It might not smell the same to every person, but it generally smells slightly earthy, rotten, and sour.
Can Inhaling Musty Gases Be Harmful?
You’re unlikely to experience any negative side effects if you only spend a minute or two in a room filled with mold and mildew. But inhaling these gases for much longer than that isn’t a great idea. Some people might not have any symptoms, but others may experience adverse reactions, including:
- nasal congestion,
- and itchy skin and eyes.
How to Remove the Musty Smell in a Home
There are a few steps to getting rid of that musty smell in a home finally. The first step is to locate the source. Once you’ve found where it’s coming from, you can work on removing it.
Locating the Source of the Odor
Is the smell coming from a pile of wet towels or a damp swimming suit that got thrown into the laundry without being dried out first? Maybe it comes from the cabinet under the bathroom sink or your dishwasher. It might help to figure out which room the smell is coming from first and then move things around until you locate the odor’s origin.
You might have a more significant problem if you’re having trouble pinpointing a specific location for the musty odor. Mold or mildew may be hidden behind walls, ceilings, or other areas of your home.
Tips for Removing the Musty Smell
It’s important to remember that mold and mildew thrive in dark, wet conditions, so the best way to eliminate them (and the accompanying odor) is to eliminate the moisture. Depending on where the mold is located, this may look different in various situations.
For example, a moldy pile of laundry can typically be taken care of by running it through an extra-hot cycle in the washing machine with a powerful laundry detergent. Here are a few tips to try for other musty-smelling locations.
- Open all the windows and let some fresh air flow through the house.
- Clean and disinfect mildewy areas thoroughly.
- Keep wet areas of your home, like your showers, bathtubs, and sink, clean and dry.
- Regularly disinfect wet appliances like the washing machine and the dishwasher. If you have a front–loading washing machine, the rubber seal in the front is a common culprit of mold growth. Keeping the washing machine door cracked open in between cycles can help eliminate the risk of mold and mildew.
- Use a dehumidifier if you live in a humid area to keep humidity levels in your home below 50% at all times. Running an air conditioner can help, too.
- Daily housekeeping tasks like vacuuming, dusting and wiping counters. Use vinegar to disinfect hard surfaces.
When To Call a Mold Remediation Specialist
Sometimes a musty smell is an easy problem to fix, but other times it requires more serious intervention. Here’s how to know when the issue is bigger than you should attempt to tackle on your own.
If you’ve cleaned and tried to remedy the mold problem on your own, but the musty odor persists, it’s time to call in the professionals. This likely indicates that mold and mildew are out of sight, which might be a larger problem than you realize.
Did you find a large amount of mold while you were searching for the cause of the smell? Extensive mold damage can be hazardous to your home and family, and you shouldn’t attempt to remedy the situation alone.
Remember, the visible mold might only be a small part of the problem. Mold spores may be hidden behind walls, under floors, in your grout, and even in your home’s foundation. It’s best to call a professional mold remediation specialist to help restore your home to a safe place that’s free from mold, mildew, and musty odors.
Restoremasters Is Here To Help
A musty smell in a home might cause concern if mold is involved. If you find mold or suspect it’s the culprit behind the odor, Restoremasters is here to help. Our mold remediation team is equipped with the knowledge and tools to restore your home or business to its original, mold-free state. Our goal at Restoremasters is to promptly repair damage to your property caused by wind, fire, mold, water, sewage, graffiti, or smoke.
We have more than 100 years of combined experience in the industry and the right tools for the job, so we can quickly get you back to everyday life after your home has suffered damage.
We are located in Sandy, Utah, and provide services to the greater Salt Lake and Utah County areas, from Salt Lake City to Spanish Fork and everywhere in between. Contact us today via the form on our website or give us a call at 801.938.8654 to get started!