If your home has an unpleasant musty odor, dealing with it will become a critical part of home maintenance. A musty smell is dangerous because it indicates the presence of mold or mildew.
Moisture has to the biggest catalyst for the growth of molds. The mold will release gasses called microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) that are responsible for the musty smell.
Locating the Source of the Musty Smell
We have already associated musty smells with the presence of mold and mildew. Before trying to cover the odor, look around for the places the mold can be hiding out. Some places to start include:
Since bathrooms are warm and moist, they attract mold spores. The tiles in your shower are among the places you should check, as well as in the walls, under the sink, and around the toilet. Water leaks can lie undetected, so a thorough evaluation of your bathroom is recommended.
The kitchen is another favorite hideout for mold. Look inside your stove or microwave, underneath the sink, and around and underneath your refrigerator. The trash can also favor mold growth.
3. Living Room and Bedroom
Areas to check in the living room include the fireplace, and between your windows and furniture.
Ensure your bedroom is mold-free by checking windows and windowsills and your mattress.
4. Garage, Attic, and Basement
These rooms are susceptible to mold growth if they are damp, dark, and dark.
Other places to inspect include under or behind any storage areas, in your insulation, and around the water heater and furnace.
You can clean the problematic areas as much as you want, although the mold issue will persist if you do not deal with water leaks. Watch out for plumbing leaks and inspect heating units or air conditioning units with drain lines. Your drain hoses might not be leaking, but over time, outlet hoses experience buildup inside.
Not only can these hoses trap and hold water, but they can have a musty odor. Look out for roof leaks, particularly around roof penetrations like chimneys. Check if the exterior walls and basement have water damage.
Mold generally loves regions with moisture, especially around leaks in pipes, roofs, and windows
How to deal with Mold or Mildew
If you come across mold or mildew, you will need to clean the area after identifying the cause.
Mildew can be treated with bleach, although you should ensure you have enough ventilation and equip yourself with things like a face mask and rubber gloves. If you desire a more natural method, you can use white vinegar and baking soda to deal with the problem.
Mold treatment will depend on the type of mold and the extent of the mold.
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the services of a mold specialist are needed where:
• Your HVAC system contains mold
• If someone on the household has a health condition that could be made worse by mold
• The mold has covered over 10 square feet
• If the mold growth has extended to the ceiling, walls, or floors
In most cases, however, it is easy to get rid of the growth by yourself. The space you are working in should be sufficiently-ventilated, and you should pack on personal protective equipment.
Your body should be guarded against the mold spores that would be disturbed in the course of cleaning. The CDS further recommends that you scrub all surfaces with the growth, toss items that cannot be washed within 48 hours, fix leaks and moisture problems, and use dehumidifiers and fans to deal with moisture.
How to Eliminate Musty Odors
Musty odors can be disturbing, which is why it is essential to deal with them as soon as possible by:
After cleaning out the mold and mildew, the next step is facilitating airflow in your house. Turn on fans and open all your windows. The more the amount of air that will flow in your house, the better. Ventilation will get rid of the musty odor and also discourage mildew and mold growth.
2. Odor Washer
Natural odor absorbers, including baking soda and activated charcoal, will also come in handy in getting rid of musty smells. Since they absorb the odor, they should be replaced after two weeks or so.
3. Use Baking Soda as a Cleaner
If your carpets are affected by the mold growth, you can use baking soda to clean. Coat the carpet’s surface with the baking soda, and then use a damp sponge mob to work into the carpet fibers. Let it dry, after which you should vacuum it up.
Baking soda is effective in cleaning trunks and cupboards affected by a musty smell. Leave an open box in the compartments to absorb moisture and remove the odor, and replace it after two to three days. An opened container of coffee grounds is also recommended for small spaces.
Baking soda can also be mixed with essential oils to create homemade deodorizing disks.
4. Opt for Natural Fresheners
Air fresheners do not have to be expensive, as you can whip up homemade natural solutions like house plants. To get a lemon fragrance, boil some lemon peels and leave the pot in the problematic area.
Keep off Musty Smells for Good
Preventative measures will keep molds and mildew at bay and give you peace of mind. These measures include:
1. Keep Surfaces Dry
Your kitchen and bathroom remain susceptible to mold growth and should be maintained as dry as possible. Wipe surfaces after cooking and showering to prevent mold-growth. Keep your windows free from compensation.
2. Make use of a Humidifier
Maintaining your house at an ideal humidity level will discourage mold and mildew.
3. Replace Air Filters Regularly
HVACs are among the areas that mold commonly inhabits. Removing them will not only promote your home’s air quality, but it will also prevent mold from growing.
4. Facilitate Ventilation
Fresh air is the best natural weapon against musty odors. Humidity levels rise when air gets stagnant, and it increases the chances of mold formation. Maintain a good airflow will reduce condensation and boost air quality.