Wondering how to get rid of musty smells? I get that - I totally do! There's nothing worse than minding your own business, sitting on your couch, and have the wafting smell of "old" or "damp" creep into the inside of your nose. Learn how to identify and eliminate the source of that mystery stench in your home, and say goodbye to unpleasant smells forever with these natural cleaning and laundry tips.
Why does my home smell musty?
You know the smell I'm talking about, right? That smell that hits your nose the second you walk into a room and it's the perfect combination of old mothballs meets wet dog - and you have no idea where it's coming from or what in the world could be making that smell, either.
As frustrating as horrible smells can be, they don't have to become your norm. If you're ready to learn how to get rid of stinky smells in your house, these easy tips can help.
Before diving in on ways to solve and get rid of the musty smell, it's important to know what that actually smells like. A lot of people compare the smell to dirty wet socks or even the scent of rotting wood.
It will actually smell differently to each person BUT it's a smell that will easily be identified once it's noticed.
10 tips to get musty smells out of your house
Mold and mildew thrive in dark, wet conditions. The key to eliminating a musty aroma and keeping it that way is maintaining proper airflow and humidity levels.
There are several ways to do this:
1. Open windows to get rid of stale air and bring fresh air into the space.
2. Run a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
3. Keep air circulating with box and ceiling fans.
4. Decorate your home with houseplants that naturally clean the air.
5. Dust regularly and thoroughly.
6. Vacuum and mop floors to rid them of any lingering odors.
7. Deep-clean the bathtub and shower drain with a scrub brush and a natural tub and tile cleaner, then keep them clean with a daily shower spray.
8. Clean the washing machine and disinfect the dishwasher to get rid of mold and mildew.
9. Use your favorite natural air freshener.
10. Fill a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar, and spray down hard surfaces.
Is it mold or mildew?
Mildew refers to certain kinds of mold or fungus. The term mildew is often used generically to refer to mold growth, usually with a flat growth habit.
Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae. Molds can thrive on any organic matter, including clothing, leather, paper, and the ceilings, walls and floors of homes with moisture management problems. Mildew often lives on shower walls, windowsills, and other places where moisture levels are high. There are many species of molds. In unaired places, such as basements, they can produce a strong musty odor.
What absorbs bad smells in the room?
While you're trying to figure out how to stop the bad smells in your house, there are a few common household items that you can use to help remove or eliminate that musty smell.
Air fresheners and essential oils are great for leaving out and masking the smell but after a while, you might be wanting more of a natural approach or a whole different scent.
If you're able to leave a bowl out of any of the following, there's a strong probably that it will absorb the odors in the room and get rid of some of that unpleasant smell.
The common household items to try are:
- Baking soda
- Coffee Grounds
As long as you can leave these out safely in a bowl away from pets and kids, you should notice a reduction in the musty smell that gyou were once smelling so strongly before.
How do I stop my closet from smelling musty?
Once you start to smell that musty smell around the house, there's a good chance that you're going to start smelling it all over the place. When this happens, stay calm.
As long as you're ready to approach this with an open mindset and a can-do attitude, you can easily take proactive steps to getting rid of that musty smell.
To try and remove the odor from the closet, you can try a few different things.
Using wooden hangers is a great idea and gives a nice, smell to your closet as well. (and cedar hangers would be great as they'd actually put off a pleasant scent in the closet!)
You can also wipe out and clean your closet walls and floors, too. This is a simple way to give your closet a facelift without harming it in the process.
It's better to do this and be proactive rather than wait to where all. your clothes started to smell musty as well just because they were hanging in the closet.
4 tips to get rid of musty smells on your clothes
Have you ever picked up a towel or piece of clothing only to notice that it doesn’t smell so fresh? Those musty odors are likely due to excess moisture and storage in a stagnant area. Wash your clothing properly to keep it as fresh as your look with these tips:
1. Make sure clothing is dried completely before storing it.
2. Promptly transfer your clothes from the washer to the dryer — don’t let them sit wet overnight.
3. Rewash any smelly clothing with your favorite natural laundry detergent.
4. Remove unworn clothing from your closet to make more room for air to circulate around the pieces you love.
There's a common misconception that a dehumidifier will get rid of musty smells, but they actually just help to reduce it. You'll also have to be running it all the time or that smell will quickly return.
Kitchen cabinets and other storage areas in the home are notorious for starting to smell musty! All you'd need to do is set a bowl of baking soda and/or a bowl of vinegar into that area that you're trying to get rid of the smell. Let these absorb the smells for a couple of days to see if you notice a difference.
Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and leave it on overnight. In the morning vacuum it up. If the smell lingers you may need to have your carpets professionally cleaned.
Place the objects in a large Rubbermaid bin. Place a bowl of baking soda in the bin and put the lid on tightly. Leave it for a few days and your item should be fresh smelling in no time.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind during all of this is that you can easily let in fresh air to help circulate the air and help to get rid of the scent. Fresh air can be a great way to let in the beauty of nature so that you smell that more than the musty smell inside your home.
If you like trying new things, you can try and use an odor eliminator as well. Just know that you can go as big as you want or as little as you want when it comes to these types of purchases.
Make certain that when you're trying to figure out where the musty smells are coming from that you're looking at all the possibilities in your space. Rugs and fabric chairs or couches are notorious for getting spills from the kids or slobber and wet paws from the dogs that it's no wonder that the smell didn't start sooner!
If you're in a situation where you're starting to notice a new smell that you've never smelled before, there's a good chance that you have a leak or are leaking water somewhere. This doesn't mean that you have a leak for sure but if it's a smell that you're just now starting to notice, this probably means that your house is going through something new or having an issue that you can hopefully correct early.
There are natural ways that were mentioned above to remove odors and smells but it's also important to remember that smell could be a more serious problem, too. If you're worried about serious issues surrounding that scent, make certain that you check with professionals to find out if you're having a minor issue or a major one instead.