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8 Quick Fixes for Musty Smells in Your Home

January 31, 2020

Having a musty-smelling home is a situation that happens to the best of us. But while it's a common occurrence, that doesn't change the fact that it's not particularly pleasant—or particularly healthy for you either! There are a bunch of causes for that musty smell lurking around your home. It could be as simple as stale air or old food, or something a bit more serious like mold in the walls. 

Sometimes, the environment and the weather plays a part in it as well. During heavy rainfall and swift season changes, the air tends to get more humid, encouraging the growth of mold and mildew. Mold and mildew are fungi that thrive in moisture, and can make some houses start to emit an unpleasant smell. Mildew has a powdery surface and can usually be found in organic material, while mold is a bit more serious, growing on walls and flooring, and causing structural damage if not attended to properly. 

So not only are musty smells generally unpleasant, they could also be a sign that something's wrong with your home! The good news is: no matter what's causing the musty odor in your home, it's not permanent and there's usually a quick fix for it. Here are our best tips for getting rid of musty smells: 

1. Locate the source of the smell

The first thing to do is find out where the smell is coming from. Where is the smell strongest? Is it emanating from one area in the house? Or is it a general smell that's spread throughout every room? You might need to be on the lookout for obvious causes, like food that spilled behind a couch. If you can't find the source even after some time looking, you might need to hire a professional to inspect your house for mold. 

2. Open the doors and windows

Probably the easiest way to get rid of a musty smell is to open the doors and windows. Stale air in an old house is a common cause for a musty smell, and should be easily fixed by letting in some fresh air. Go the extra mile and air out any cupboards, cabinets, and closets too—just to be safe. 

3. Get the air moving with a fan or air conditioner

As mentioned, must smells are more likely to develop in rooms with stale, humid, or warm air. If throwing open the doors and windows isn't an option (perhaps due to bad weather conditions, like rain), you can get some airflow in with a fan or an air conditioner. This should be especially helpful in rooms with no windows or a limited airflow, like in an attic, bathroom, or laundry room, as you can bring an electric fan inside to help get the air moving.

4. Grab a vacuum or duster

Another common source of musty smells? Dust. So grab your vacuum or your duster and give the house a good dusting. You might want to focus on areas that you don't usually dust, like behind furniture or on top of ceiling accessories, like lamps and fans. Use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum and run it gently over surfaces to make sure all the dust and dirt gets removed.

5. Give the house a good clean

If just plain dusting doesn't work, then you might need to give your house a thorough cleaning. This means sweeping and mopping the floors, vacuuming the carpets, washing the walls—the whole shebang. Make sure to pay attention to your surroundings! You might end up finding the source of the musty smell while cleaning.

6. Use a natural air freshener

If you're still stumped, try using a natural air freshener to combat any unpleasant odours. You don't have to buy any expensive air fresheners—you can use scented candles, essential oils, citrus peels, or even house plants! 

7. DIY an odor-eliminator

If the musty smell is coming from a particular area (the usual culprits are closets and small cupboards) you might want to try using a deodorizer. You don't need to go to the store and spend money to get one though! You can just put a bit of baking soda in a dish and leave it in the enclosed area for a day. The baking soda will absorb moisture, leaving the air inside smelling fresher. You can add a few drops of essential oils to the dish for even better results.

8. Invest in an air purifier

If musty air is a recurring problem, you might want to invest in some preventive maintenance: AKA an air purifier. An air purifier won't just ensure your home stays smelling fresh and clean, it'll also get rid of any allergens or harmful bacteria in the air. 

Your Home in Good Hands

While musty smells can be one of the most difficult things to remove from your house, it's nothing a professional cleaning service can fix. Here at HomeFresh, we take pride in making housekeeping easy, breezy, and stress-free for all our clients. Call us now or fill up the form below!

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