Cleaning Musty Smelling Carpets

Carpet that has gotten wet or flooded can have a musty smell even after it dries. This is a guide about cleaning musty smelling carpets.
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December 10, 2014 Flag
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My carpet is 1 year old. It has not gotten wet, however, it suddenly smells musty. It is very prominent under furniture that lays flat against the carpet. It is throughout the house. Most of the articles I have read indicate the musty smell comes from getting your carpets wet. Could it be the actual carpet?

By Wendy

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December 10, 20140 found this helpful

Is the floor under the carpeting cement? I have noticed that if I leave a box of something sitting on my carpeting that covers cement floors, when I move the box the carpeting feels damp. However, I do have some furniture that sits flat on the floor and I have never noticed any odor. I never experienced that damp feeling with carpeting that covered wood floors.

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March 2, 2010 Flag
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I clean my carpets with a Hoover steam cleaner and my carpets come clean, but they smell musty. What can I do to make them smell fresh? Thanks.

By P.W. from League City, TX

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Anonymous Flag
March 21, 20160 found this helpful

My home is half underground, concrete base, poor insulation, and had musty smelling rooms and in winter the air felt damp. Solutions that worked for me were - fresh air throughout the day helps remove smells, shaking out pillowcases or musty blankets or washing them more often. Airing a room by just opening windows in the morning for say 3 or 4 hours, as is comfortable. If you can open internal doors and let the air flow smells decrease more easily. It will be even faster if you can open external doors (if you can do so safely and not be cold! ) A good breeze lifts off the odors, but only temporarily. You might need to do this every few days.

BUT when it's winter and cold you cant do that, it increases the odor, damp cold feeling in the home, or mold on ceilings, and wet windows which are not much fun and not good for breathing in. If you can't insulate your walls/ ceiling/ floors or get double glazing, then second best option is I thoroughly recommend investing in a dehumidifier or borrowing one to try out. It was a lifesaver for us, our home was much more comfortable, and will be for you. If you don't know, it removes moisture from the air, collecting that water slowly into its storage container and pushes back out drier air into your home. Dry air is warmer air, so less heating is required, it feels comfortable, less humid, there's less chance of bugs thriving, and knocks mold on ceilings, and water on windows and smells on the head. You can close the windows and not air the house out every day.

If you can invest a bit more into a higher end model, it's worth it. Theyre easier to monitor and empty and clean. (You need to wipe dust off filters monthly. ) Take time to find one with the right settings for your needs, the more options the better, like Eco modes, directional fan, humidity thermostat, laundry drying or whatever; set it for your needs and it does the rest.

Once I decided to try a dehumidifier (Mitsubishi one with lots of setting options), I knew the slight power cost to run it 24-7 somedays, was worth it. A small price to pay for an improved home. Emptying the water tank is also a small price to pay if you can't do major home alterations for comfort.

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March 21, 20160 found this helpful

My home was half underground, on a concrete base, with no insulation, and it had musty smelling rooms, mold in the bathroom and in winter the air felt damp. Solutions that worked in summer mainly was to get fresh air in throughout the day. It helped remove smells, plus shaking out pillowcases or musty blankets and washing them more often. Airing a room by opening windows in the morning for say 3 or 4 hours, as is comfortable. It's more effective if you can open internal doors and increase the air flow. It's even faster if you open external doors (if you can do so safely and not be cold! ) But generally a good breeze lifts off the odors for a couple of days. Depending on your home you might need to do this every few days or weekly.

BUT in winter when it's cold you can't do that so easily. Winter brought my home increased musty odor, a nicotine smell came up out of the carpet (and we dont smoke), moisture in the air, mold on ceilings and windows, and wet windows. It wasn't pleasant, I always felt gloomy, and miserable and it's not good for breathing in. I couldn't renovate as I was renting. They recommend to insulate walls/ ceiling/ floors or get double glazing, and have extractor fans in bathrooms, etc. I realised I must try another option - a dehumidifier.

It worked great. I thoroughly recommend investing in a dehumidifier or borrowing one to try out. Despite the initial cost it's an instant lifesaver. My home was immediately much more comfortable.

If you don't know, it's function is to remove moisture from the air, collecting that water slowly into its storage container and pushes back out drier air into your home. Dry air is warmer air, so less heating is required, the atmosphere feels comfortable, not humid, there's less chance of bugs thriving, and knocks mold on the head, reduces water on windows and smells. You can close the windows!

If you do this, invest a bit more into a higher end model if you can. It's worth it to have more functions or options if you want to save on power costs long term. The easier to monitor and empty and clean the better. (You need to wipe dust off filters monthly, and empty the tank every day or two. ) Take time to find one with the right settings for your needs. Some have Eco modes, directional fan, humidity thermostat, laundry drying, air purifying, etc. Set it for your needs and it does the rest.

Once I decided the moisture had to go and used a loaned dehumidifier (Mitsubishi one with lots of settings!), I didnt mind the increased power cost. You may run it 24-7 somedays, or just an hour or two, but those extra dollars a month were worth it, and I didnt use my heater as much. A small price to pay for an improved home. Emptying the water tank is also a small price to pay if you can't do major home alterations. I vote for comfort!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
March 21, 20160 found this helpful

My home was half underground, on a concrete base, with no insulation, and it had musty smelling rooms, mold in the bathroom and in winter the air felt damp. Solutions that worked for me were - fresh air throughout the day helps remove smells, shaking out pillowcases or musty blankets or washing them more often. Airing a room by just opening windows in the morning for say 3 or 4 hours, as is comfortable. If you can open internal doors and let the air flow smells decrease more easily. It's even faster if you open external doors (if you can do so safely and not be cold! ) A good breeze lifts off the odors for a couple of days, but you might need to do this every few days.

BUT when it's winter and cold you can't do that so much. My home had increased musty odor, nicotine smell came up out of the carpet (we dont smoke), moisture in the air, mold on ceilings, and wet windows in my home. It wasn't pleasant, I always felt gloomy it's not good for breathing in. If you can't insulate your walls/ ceiling/ floors or get double glazing, or have extractor fans, then second best option is a dehumidifier.

I thoroughly recommend investing in a dehumidifier or borrowing one to try out. Despite the initial cost it was an instant lifesaver, our home was much more comfortable. If you don't know, it's function is to remove moisture from the air, collecting that water slowly into its storage container and pushes back out drier air into your home. Dry air is warmer air, so less heating is required, the atmosphere feels comfortable, not humid, there's less chance of bugs thriving, and knocks mold on the head, reduces water on windows and smells. You can close the windows!

If you do this, invest a bit more into a higher end model, it's worth it to have more functions or options if you want to save on power costs long term. The easier to monitor and empty and clean the better. (You need to wipe dust off filters monthly. ) Take time to find one with the right settings for your needs. Some have Eco modes, directional fan, humidity thermostat, laundry drying, air purifying, etc. Set it for your needs and it does the rest.

Once I decided the moisture had to go and use the dehumidifier a friend gave us (Mitsubishi one with lots of setting options), I accepted there would be a power cost to run it 24-7 somedays, but with choosing the best settings for my home, those few dollars a month was worth it. A small price to pay for an improved home. Emptying the water tank is also a small price to pay if you can't do major home alterations. I vote for comfort!

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November 14, 2005 Flag
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I recently had carpets professionally cleaned and now my house smells musty. Any ideas what happened or how to get rid of the smell?

TK from AZ

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November 14, 20050 found this helpful

Two things popped into my head. One, the water in the cleaner might have reactivated some old mold from a water leak or something like that that had dried, and now it smells again. Two, your carpet might not have gotten dry enough this time, allowing the carpet to start to mold/mildew. I'd call the cleaner back and see what he/she can do since it is probably the latter case.

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