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Getting Rid of Mildew Odors in a House

Category Odors
There are a variety of causes for mildew odors developing in your home. Depending on the cause there are also several ways to get rid of this unpleasant smell. This is a guide about getting rid of mildew odors in a house.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
March 20, 2009

The water line behind my stand up shower leaked between the walls and now it smells like mildew really bad. The entire house smells that way when it's all closed up. I took the fiberglass/plastic panel out to replace a leaky valve. I also let it dry out for a week. I sprayed it all down with Tilex/Bleach and water. But that hasn't fixed anything. What can I do to get that smell out?


David from Louisville, KY

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March 22, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had the same problem, we had a leak under my kitchen cabinets, and some of the wood had gotton some mold on it. We repaired the leaks, sprayed straight Clorex Bleach.

I bought Damp Rid at the grocery store. All you do is hang it up, and it collects the moisture, which causes mold. And leaves a very fresh smell. It worked great in my kitchen cabinets, the the smell was horrible, and was throughout my whole house. Now you cant smell a thing. $5.00 is what that cost me at Krogers.

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April 6, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Our house flooded severely. Basement already had mold. The flood exasperated it. I used Lysol liquid, found it at walmart It is old school product been around for years and used in hospitals, has a medicinal smell. It killed the mold! It says on the bottle: "kills staphylococcus, viruses, mold mildew"... etc! IT WORKS. One bottle makes like 20 gallons. I just diluted it and used a spray bottle and sprayed all over all the walls and poured it into the receding water on the floor and the smell and mold was gone! I swear by this stuff and even the FEMA guy was impressed! Its like $4 tops at Walmart. Brown bottle yellow white label says lysol Disinfectant. Good luck

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March 21, 20090 found this helpful

More important than the smell is the cause: MOLD.

My sister-in-laws daughter and her two children ALL

got pneumonia from an apartment with mold.

You must get your landlord to find the cause of the moisture and replace all moldy materials. Even if you have to call the city health department.

Mold is causing it (mildew is mold), and it is a health hazard. Construction workers wear special gear to clean out a moldy place. Just imagine spores in your lungs.

If you have to, move.

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March 22, 20090 found this helpful

Hello David, I don't know whether you're a homeowner or just renting. What you could do is call either Home Depot or Lowes and see if you can talk to a plumber about the problem. And if it's impossible to fix it yourself, you might have to hire a professional plumber.

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March 24, 20090 found this helpful

I have this smell in my finished basement. You are right. It makes the whole house smell bad. My daughter's doctor told her that a clean house doesn't have a smell or odor. So its important to be sure its very, very clean.

I've seen on a TV show, Sell This House, that carpets and fabrics retain odors. So you may need to remove carpeting and/or wash shower curtain in HOT water. Also, the walls retain such odors. On this show the hosts say that fresh paint seals the odors. I'm thinking of using a good primer like Zilm or Zissner. I think they are spelled correctly, but check at your local home improvement store. Best of luck with all your endeavors.

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March 24, 20090 found this helpful

Go to a rock shop and buy some lava rock, it's very inexpensive. Put it around the problem area, it works.

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February 9, 20170 found this helpful

KILZ primer is what you're referring to

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December 28, 20040 found this helpful

I have purchased an old mobile home for a summer vacation home. It has a moldy odor to it. Also, when I closed it up for the winter, I noticed that the clothes I took home from the closet and drawers have a moldy smell. Any items that I have just sitting around in there have the smell as well. I have tried washing the clothes over and over again, but the smell still remains. Please Help! Any advice would be appreciated.


Thank You

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January 10, 20070 found this helpful

VINEGAR! My mom says to use a cup in the wash cycle and then, dry as usual. I would smell the clothing first before drying though b/c then the smell will set in. You can also RINSE clothes with a cup of vinegar (add it to the rinse cycle) if they have laid wet in your washer all day. Sometimes, I forget that i have clothes in the washer and leave them without drying all day. You don't have to re-wash, just rinse them again. Good luck!

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January 18, 20070 found this helpful

Can't stand the moldy smell coming from under the mobile home.Is there a solid bleach you can use or some kind air freshener, this only happens in the winter. Also is there a product to keep critters from taking up residence under a mobile home? someone mentioned moth balls....Help

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February 11, 20070 found this helpful

The "purewasher" does work! Our neighbor gave us 2 tbsp. of purewasher. We did one cycle with a tbsp. and ran a "soak" cycle with the other tbsp. I COULDN'T BELIEVE THE FUNGUS THAT CAME OUT! I ordered some and soaked all of our clothing and towels with a tbsp. and everything smells fresh again! It's kind of expensive but 1 order lasted my neighbor a whole year.

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January 23, 20080 found this helpful

How do you remove a gas smell from your house and clothing?

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April 29, 20080 found this helpful

We moved into a smaller apartment and the bedroom smells like mold. I have to keep the windows open the whole day and the next day its there again.

No sign of mold. A lot of condensation on windows. Could it be the window frames? I looked and it does not seem to rot or anything.

I suffer from Sinusitus.


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September 26, 20082 found this helpful

Mold can and will grow in between your walls and under the carpet if the walls and floor have gotten wet. You may have to remove a section of carpet or some of the drywall to check it out.

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March 23, 20100 found this helpful

Try diffusing cinnamon oil in the room or, for clothes, washing once with no soap, but with a little bit of cinnamon oil. I can't promise it will work, but the oil has done wonders for eliminating all the mold from the lining of my fridge, just by diffusing it with bowl and a hair-dryer. If you don't believe cinnamon oil is strong enough, check the NYTimes. It's a stronger antiseptic than anything used in hospitals, and an excellent antifungal. Best of Luck!

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February 12, 20060 found this helpful

I'm looking for advice on how to remove strong mold odor. My mom and I will be moving to a mobile home in about 3 months. A pipe burst about a month ago and the carpet was soaked. The owner fixed the pipe but did not remove or dry the carpet. It has been sitting closed up with wet carpet and now the whole place reeks of mold. We went yesterday to look things over and we both had a headache all day (after leaving also) from the smell.

The owner is going to replace the carpet before we move in but I am concerned that the odor has permeated the walls and everything. Is there any commercial product like a bomb or spray to set off and it will kill the odor? Any home remedies would be appreciated also. I know bleach is good but I don't think I can spray bleach on the walls.

Joyann from Visalia, CA

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February 12, 20060 found this helpful

Bleach does not kill mold. You need a safe and proven product that will do that. I order this through a catalog of healthy alternatives. If this interests you, I can show you more. cartonv2atjunodotcom

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February 13, 20060 found this helpful

Make the owner use his insurance to totally redo the trailer. You now have mold everywhere. Not just a mold odor, actual mold. You may have to replace all walls, etc. Contact a restoration company that specializes in this type of problem and then make sure that the owner does follow though with repairs. This is not going to be an easy fix. Be sure all is done before you actually take possession. Is there a clause in the agreement that can help you get out of the contract to buy the mobile? You do NOT want to live in that trailer with any mold and there will be a lot now. If nothing else, forgo the trailer and look for something else to buy.

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February 13, 20060 found this helpful

A clean home doesnt have an odor.. Kill all the mold and you wont have a smell... You may need to gut the home to get rid of all the remnants of the mold.. Bleach does kill mold.. I use Tilex.. but your home may need a professional house cleaning...

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February 13, 20060 found this helpful

You need to have a professional come in and inspect the trailer. Mold can be serious and cause serious respiratory problems. Don't try to do it yourself, you will regret it. In fact I think I would back out of the purchase of the trailer.

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August 10, 20070 found this helpful

I would think twice before moving into any home that was mold contaminated. I have been mold sick for 4 years. Once mold has started in a home its close to impossible to completely remove. Many Doctors do not know how to treat mold related illness. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and don't even move in.

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November 27, 20070 found this helpful

Bleach does kill mold. I have proof

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June 16, 20140 found this helpful

I bought 1970 Champion mobile in August 2013. As spring hit and snow melted away this terrible smell of mildew has built up. Being that it was an old mobile I quickly gutted it and began rebuilding it. I have replaced all flooring. The walls have been stripped bare and insulated and drywalled. The ceiling was also stripped insulated and drywalled. There are all new thermal windows. I have it looking beautiful. But it smells. Almost like it is coming from the dirt underneath. How do I fix this ?

By Wendy from northern MI

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0 found this helpful
April 15, 2013

There is a musty smell in one bedroom. We couldn't find where it was coming from for a month. Jenny Jo has the experience in finding the cold water pipe leaked in the bathroom and caused the musty smell. How do we determine if my house is having the same problem? Thanks!

By dchen

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March 20, 20090 found this helpful

I recently moved into a rental home. I have two rooms that have a dank, mildew, mold smell to them. They don't get much sun. I have done the cleaning thing. Any suggestions?

Helen from Harwich Port, MA


Getting Rid of Mildew Smell in Home

Sounds like the root cause for the mildew and mold is still hidden, look under carpets if possible or in closets, until the root cause is found. The smell will return. Look in the basement under the room for any signs of mold or mildew. Baking soda may help with the smell, I know it works in the fridge. (10/30/2008)

By papajan

Getting Rid of Mildew Smell in Home

Papajan is right. You have to keep digging until you find the source. One other thing that you can do eventually is to paint. Sometimes that helps with the smell, but if you don't find it, it will probably come back, so find it first, then paint. (10/30/2008)

Getting Rid of Mildew Smell in Home

Vinegar will help with the smell, but I agree that you need to try to find the source of the mildew. Good luck! (10/31/2008)

By tedsmom

Getting Rid of Mildew Smell in Home

Depending on type of floors. You can use floor stripper. It works. It will eliminate any smells. (10/31/2008)

By my-secret

Getting Rid of Mildew Smell in Home

If the room doesn't get much sun and gets damp, the carpet may be holding the moisture. Use a dehumidifier or hang a cloth bag filled with old fashioned kitty litter (not the clumping kind) in the closet. When it gets damp, place on a cookie sheet and dry out in the oven on low. Wipe down the baseboards and walls with vinegar to kill the smell and any mildew. My daughter's bedroom was the same and we eventually had to pull up the carpet and put down wood floor, but these measures helped until we could afford to do it. Good Luck! (11/01/2008)

By chriself

Getting Rid of Mildew Smell in Home

Besides the great suggestions on finding the source you can do two other things. Home Depot and such stores sell a mold spray that is peroxide based that you can use to spray down the rooms, also you can paint over mold spot with "Kilz" after cleaning or treating if there is no damage.

Also, if you are looking for an ultra healthy alternative you can try essential oil cleaners that are anti fungal based like one put out by Melaluca or make your own with these oils; Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), lemon (Citrus limon), cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), Eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) about 4 drops each of these oils to 32 ounce spray bottle with your natural cleaner. You can also add these to alcohol/water base and spray and leave on. Hope it helps!

By momo5

Getting Rid of Mildew Smell in Home-Steam Cleaner

Invest in a good steam or vapor cleaner. These machines only use water, no chemicals and will clean and disinfect practically anything in your home. It will kill mildew and mold on contact. Your home will smell nice and fresh after cleaning, with NO chemical smells. These are very commonly used in Europe, many of the machines are made in Italy.

Price does matter when buying one of these. Spend at least $300 and you will have a good one that cleans with very high heat!
You can shop for them on ebay.

I purchased a Reliable Stainless Steel Steam Cleaner. And would highly recommend it, as it has an attachment for carpets. It retails for $499, so this is an excellent price for a new one at $340 plus $20 shipping:

Jim in Jax (11/02/2008)

By smartfell-r

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