How to Get Rid of a Musty Smell in Your Home

by Cora Gold | Updated: Aug 13, 2020

Everyone has experienced that moment when they walk into their home and breathe in a familiar musty smell. It's an odor that can float around any living space. You may struggle with this odor and not know what to do about it. Read on to learn how to get rid of a musty smell in your home and what's behind this mysterious odor.

What causes a musty smell in my home?

Women is kneeling down with her hands over her mouth, shocked at the mold under her window.
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The most common reason for a musty smell is mold. Depending on the weather, you may not open your windows or let much natural light into your homes. Poor ventilation, darkness and high levels of humidity create the perfect environment for mold growth. Indoor mold is also known as microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) and is the source of many musty odors.

These compounds can grow in places like the carpet, between walls and around the edges of windows with frequent condensation buildup. Breathing mVOCs regularly can lead to short and long-term health issues ranging from mild eye irritation to certain types of cancer. You’ll need to know how to get rid of the musty smell for your own safety.

How do I get rid of a musty smell in my home?

A hand is scooping out a spoonful of baking soda out of a jar onto the carpet.

There are a few ways to banish this unpleasant smell from your living space. Increasing the ventilation and investing in an air purifier will immediately improve the situation.

Baking soda can also help because it neutralizes pH imbalances in odors and absorbs the bad smell. Sprinkle it over your carpets and vacuum a few hours later if that's the odor's source, or place open containers of baking soda around your home.

Look into products that plug into electrical outlets or hang in your shower and exist explicitly to destroy odors. They will be more expensive than just using baking soda, but it's another way to combat the smell and preserve your health.

How can I make my home smell fresh?

After determining how to get rid of a musty smell in your home, consider picking up these new habits to make your home smell fresh.

Only smoke outdoors

Some rentals allow indoor smoking, but the lingering smoke adds to the musty odor. Secondhand smoke and the particles from it can worsen chronic diseases like asthma in children and adults. Smoking indoors will only reintroduce the source of the musty odor, so stepping outside and away from open windows when doing so can solve this problem.

Try new essential oils

An oil diffuser sitting on a coffee table in a living room.
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Diffusing essential oils has become a popular way to fight household odors because they're all-natural. However, diffusing oils can harm cats and dogs. If you chose to diffuse oils, pets shouldn't be in the room when the diffuser is in use.

Add new reoccurring cleaning efforts

A woman and her young daughter high fiving while scrubbing their living room floor.

Even after removing mVOCs from carpet and around windows, odors can return to areas where you may forget to clean. Regular efforts like cleaning the disposal, scrubbing the inside of the kitchen garbage can and replacing air vents can help stop the formation of new odors.

The effort to get rid of a musty smell is worth it

After you locate the source of a musty smell, it will be easier to get rid of it. Deodorizing your carpets, ventilating every room and filling your home with pleasant smells using essential oils will help your home smell fresh again.

Categories: Renters

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