You do your best to keep your home neat and tidy but lingering odors can make it hard to feel like your home is truly clean. If your home smells musty, there could be a number of different reasons ranging from high humidity to a leaky roof or basement.
It’s important to identify the cause of musty odor in case it’s a sign of a potential health risk. Once you’ve resolved the issue, there are some simple things you can do to get rid of the odor and keep it from returning.
What Causes Musty Odor?
Every home has its own unique scent, though it isn’t always a good one. There’s something charming about the lived-in smell of an older home but nobody likes to breathe in musty, mildewy odor day in and day out. Rather than simply trying to cover up the odor, take the time to identify its cause.
Some potential causes of musty odor in a home may include:
- Water leaks: Whether it’s a broken pipe in the basement or a leak in the roof, water damage is a recipe for mold and mildew. Fix leaks right away and make sure to thoroughly dry out the affected area so it doesn’t grow mold and create a health risk.
- High humidity levels: Musty smells almost always mean moisture, but it doesn’t always indicate a leak. If you live in a very humid area, moisture in the air can lead to the growth of mildew and mold which can give your home a musty odor.
- Poor air circulation: Even if you don’t have an issue with humidity, poor air circulation can cause the air in your home to become stagnant which can give it an unpleasant odor. Open the windows to let in some fresh air from time to time – it may also help to set up fans in the windows to facilitate air exchange.
- Dirty HVAC system: It’s wise to have your heating and cooling system cleaned from time to time, otherwise dirt, dust, and other debris can accumulate and cause odor. If you don’t use the system often, moisture can even become trapped in the equipment. When you turn the system on, it may then spread mold and mildew throughout the house.
- Spills and stains: From accidental spills to stubborn pet stains, accidents can lead to lingering odor. Absorbent materials like carpets and bedding are most likely to harbor mold and mildew when they get wet and aren’t cleaned promptly.
Your home is where you should feel most comfortable, so don’t let unpleasant odor get in the way of that. Once you’ve figured out what’s causing your home’s musty smell, take the necessary steps to fix the problem and then get to work banishing the odor once and for all.
7 Tips for Getting Rid of Musty Odor
Getting rid of mold and mildew odor in a home can be time-consuming, depending how widespread the issue is. It will likely involve a significant amount of cleanup, but there are some simple solutions to freshen up the air in your home as well.
Do a deep clean of your carpets and upholstered furniture.
Thoroughly cleaning your carpets and furniture is a great way to get rid of mold spores and it can remove lingering musty odor. If possible, do it on a warm, dry day so you can open up the windows and let the breeze help everything dry more quickly.
If you’re going to do the work yourself, make sure you do it properly. You may need to make several passes with a carpet cleaner to remove stains and odors. Don’t forget to rinse well, too.
Declutter and clean the surfaces in your home.
In addition to cleaning your floors and carpets, tidy up the surfaces in your home as well. Stacks of paper, dirty dishware, and other clutter can trap moisture and make odor worse. Take the time to go through things and get rid of what you don’t need then put everything else in its proper place.
After decluttering, give your home a good cleaning. Be sure to dust every surface to remove mold spores that may have settled over time.
Introduce more pleasant scents with candles and reed diffusers.
A deep clean will help get rid of the source of musty odor and, from there, you can start introducing more pleasant smells. Fragranced candles are a quick way to bring a burst of fragrance into your home and they enable you to enjoy different scents depending on your mood.
If you want a longer lasting solution, consider a reed diffuser. Reed diffusers disperse fragrance continuously, some lasting for up to a year. To combat musty odor, choose a light, uplifting fragrance – floral scents like rose or gardenia work well. A citrus blend can also freshen things up nicely.
Get some fresh air flowing.
Fresh air is key to preventing odors from accumulating in your home. On nice days, throw open the windows and let the breeze blow through. If you have a few fans lying around, place them in the windows to get things moving more quickly. To blow stagnant air out of your home, place fans in the windows facing out. If you simply want to freshen things up, face the fans inward.
Place odor absorbers in problem areas.
In some cases you may not be able to eliminate the source of musty odor entirely. Closets, for example, are likely to have ongoing issues with stagnant air and basements just tend to be damp. In spaces where it’s hard to get proper air circulation, odor absorbers can help. Try commercial odor absorbers that utilize activated charcoal or go the simple route with an open box of baking soda.
Build a new fragrance profile in your home with a Pura Smart Device.
While reed diffusers and scented candles are great for bringing fragrance into your home, a smart diffuser might be a better option if you prefer a “set it and forget it” approach. The Pura Smart Device enables you to control the dispersal of fragrance through your smart phone. You can also program the device to turn on and off at different times. You can even set it to turn off when you leave the house and turn back on when you return home so you’re greeted by a burst of fresh fragrance.
If you’re going to give the Pura Smart Device a try, be sure to stock up on diffuser refills. Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to layering fragrances. Try pairing an herbal fragrance like Rosemary Eucalyptus with something bright and citrusy like White Grapefruit.
Keep your heating and cooling system properly maintained.
Heating and cooling systems should be serviced annually and cleaned as needed. Keep in mind that if you have a whole-home air conditioning system, you may need to have it serviced every spring and also get your heating system tuned up in the fall. Change your HVAC filters often as well.
If excess moisture is an ongoing problem in your home, you may also want to consider getting a dehumidifier. These are portable devices that collect moisture from the air and they can be particularly useful in damp basements. Try to keep your home between 40% and 50% humidity.
Getting Rid Of A Musty Smell In Your Home Is Possible
A musty smell in your house can be unpleasant and indicative of underlying issues that need to be addressed. Whether it’s water leaks, high humidity levels, poor air circulation, a dirty HVAC system, or spills and stains, identifying and resolving the cause of the odor is crucial.
Once you’ve tackled the source, remember that there are several effective strategies to naturally eliminate the musty smell. Deep cleaning carpets and furniture, decluttering and cleaning surfaces, introducing pleasant scents with candles and diffusers, promoting fresh air flow, using odor absorbers, and maintaining your heating and cooling system are all steps you can take to banish the odor and create a fresh and comfortable home environment.
By following these tips, you can restore a clean and inviting atmosphere to your home and enjoy a truly fresh and odor-free living space.