Getting Rid of a Musty Smell in the Basement

Basements are notorious for developing musty smells. This is a guide about getting rid of a musty smell in the basement.

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Musty Smell in the Basement
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My 1950s era basement has such a strong musty smell that it can be noticed on the first floor. The house has a waterproofing system on the walls and floor, and there is no moisture anywhere that is visible. The dehumidifier runs 24/7 on high. There are 2 floor drains, one used by the dehumidifier and a sump pump. Help! I can't stand the smell in my kitchen, which wafts up from the basement.

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I have been successful at getting rid of musty odors by setting out bowls of straight white vinegar in such an area. had a friend who lived in the basement area of a very old house. he used the vinegar and it worked for him. took a few days. and to keep the odor away, the vinegar needs to be replaced as needed. also increase the fresh air intake.

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    How do you get rid of a musty smell in the basement?

    By Wanda

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    To rid the basement of musty smells use regular charcoal bricks. The kind used for grilling out. Do not use the ones with lighter fluid added to them. Place several bricks inb a pie tin and place around your basement. Hope this helps.

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    Our basement is musty; I clean it often, but am not doing what needs to be done. What can we do to remove odor?

    By Jean

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    If your basement floor has vinyl flooring or linoleum or anything that is non breathable check underneath for water and mould. A concrete floor must be able to breath or you will get mould and a musty smell.

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    My aunt's basement has a very strong musty smell that is in the walls as well as the ceiling and beams. Is there anything that can be painted or sprayed on all the surfaces before regular painting so the smell is entirely covered?

    By Lois from OH

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    My basement always smells musty when it starts to get warm. That's when I know it's time to haul the dehumidifier out.

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    How do I get rid of a musty smell in the basement?

    By Rosie

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    Vinegar will take care of mustiness and molds, but it's a bit of a challenge to wash a whole basement with it. Maybe a spray bottle, and set pans of it out. Definitely the dehumidifier though, otherwise the vinegar won't be able to keep up.

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    How do I control musty odor in and old cellar?

    David from Stillwater, NY

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    If you have a cellar door make sure the screen is in & also have a screen made for any small cellar windows. Between the cellar door screen & the window screen you should receive some type of cross breeze thereby eliminating the musty smell. Plus a dehumidifier absolutely also helps. Good luck.

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    I have a very musty smelly basement. I may have someone staying with us who could live down there. Besides a dehumidifier or those retail water absorbers that you buy what can I do about the odor? Any tried and true secrets for the basement?

    By spoostad from CT

    Answers:

    Musty Smell in Basement

    If your basement is damp, it may be due to sealing it up and keeping windows closed. You are better off ventilating the basement by opening windows for cross-ventilation from April to October. Using the dehumidifier too much can be a hazard sometimes, because a humidifier will remove the water vapor from the air, which is good, but will also pull water vapor through the concrete slab, making unnecessary work. In cold weather, the basement should be dry, and there should be no need for ventilation or de-humidification, which costs big bucks. (08/20/2009)

    By foxrun41

    Musty Smell in Basement

    There is a product called Odoban, comes in a gallon jug and is highly concentrated it works wonderfully at removing any odor. You can clean with it and then mix a spray bottle up mixed with water and use it to spray on carpet, couch, pillows, drapes, just about anything. This product is the greatest. I even use to clean the barn and you would not know there were animals living in there. I buy it at Home Depot. (08/22/2009)

    By gentlehrtd

    Musty Smell in Basement

    If you like the smell of olives, then dust the basement area with olive leaf powder. Not only will OLP eliminate the musty smell, it will also keep any mold from forming. Use of a dehumidifier, along with the dusting of olive leaf powder, will do it. Peace and blessings.

    Joyce in CT (08/23/2009)

    By akiba37

    Musty Smell in Basement

    I have used Odo Ban in a spray which I have purchased from Walmart and it says it is pet friendly. Nice scent. I have used Simple Green as well which is nontoxic. With both I spray carpet and wipe down stuff.

    I have also used white vinegar left in bowls around the room. Spritzed the carpet as well. Takes longer for the vinegar scent to disappear, but it is a disinfectant and mold killer as well.

    Lavender essential oil is another good disinfectant. Mix about 8 drops with water in a spray bottle and have at it.
    (08/23/2009)

    By dvg

    Musty Smell in Basement

    If it's that musty, then it's that damp, and the only real solution is to dry it up. Otherwise you are just covering it up. Molds in the air can make you sick. Get a dehumidifier. (08/25/2009)

    By Beth

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    The basement in our cottage became musty 2 summers ago when we were not available to dump the dehumidifier. Prior to that it was fresh and dry. There are no visible signs of mold or mildew. It is mostly painted cinder block with a painted floor covered with carpet remnants. We know that it needs be removed.

    The well is in the basement and you can see the sand around it so moisture will be an ongoing issue if the dehumidifier is not emptied regularly. What can we use or do to clean it and remove the musty smell?

    By SLS from Grand Rapids, MI

    Answers:

    Musty Smell in Basement

    Lowe's has a wonderful, powerful, almost magical product that comes in a can you simply set into the room and leave it, it draws out all damp, musty smells. I don't know the brand name, but an associate there can help you find it. I use them sometimes in my hallway where my dogs like to urinate at night. Works perfectly. (06/17/2009)

    By darween

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    Hello,
    Could anyone tell me how to get a musty smell out of the basement? I run a dehumidifier daily and I have tried vinegar, baking soda and Lysol but it still smells.
    Thanks,

    Beverly

    Answers:

    Musty Smell in Basement

    When I lived in Tennessee we had a basement for several years. I was much younger then and I would dump bleach on the floor, use the hose to spread it and then swept it down the drain. I have also used household ammonia but you have to use a mask for that. Hope you get rid of that smell. (08/11/2007)

    By MartyD

    Musty Smell in Basement

    Get several bags of kitty litter (cheap off brands are okay), slit them open and place around your basement.
    (08/11/2007)

    By perfume and powder

    Musty Smell in Basement

    Open a bag of charcoal (or two) and put it in your basement. (08/12/2007)

    By Birdy123

    Musty Smell in Basement

    I bought something in the dollar store that was supposed to collect moisture in the basement. It was a small plastic container with pellets and a space that would eventually fill up with water. I put two of them on the floor in my basement where the floor would get damp. Well it did fill with water! It took maybe about 6 weeks; I really didn't note when I put them down. To make a long story short, just this morning I was looking to find this type of product on the internet and came up with the following which seems to work on the same principle and it's cheap. Read the Help link. It mentions dampness, musty, mildew, etc. and it's not electric. Hope this helps.

    http://www.nationalmarineproducts.com/Non_Electric_Air_Dehumidifiers_s/4.htm (08/14/2007)

    By bettyboop5382

    Musty Smell in Basement

    If you use charcoal, stir it weekly so it keeps on working. (08/14/2007)

    By cookwie

    Musty Smell in Basement

    We got water in our basement while on vacation. Everything got wet and started to mildew by the time we got back. All cardboard boxes and contents were ruined. We got Odo-Ban from Sam's and diluted it into a spray bottle. After washing the floors, we sprayed it. You would never know there was anything moldy or mildewy down there. Works great. (08/14/2007)

    By Nancy

    Musty Smell in Basement

    We don't have basements in Texas where I live, but I remember when I lived in Illinois, we had that problem with an old house. You need something to absorb the moisture. Either scatter charcoal around (you can get it at Greenhouses specially for this). It is what they use in Cat Litter, or there are commercial products in little buckets that you open and set around. (08/15/2007)

    By ruthvalley gal

    Musty Smell in Basement

    I have used this with great success. Get a pop flat made of cardboard from your local store (you might want to get a few) add charcoal (without lighter fluid on) put it in the flat then add Epsom salts (the kind you soak in) over the top! This should help, I changed mine on a monthly basis. (08/17/2007)

    By crazimom

    Musty Smell in Basement

    We just bought a house in the "wet lands" of CT. The house has been closed up for well over a year and the musty smell is horrible through the whole house. The basement/family room being the worst! Thanks for the tips. I bought the dehumidifier a couple days ago (LG 65pints). My husband & I will be burning the wood stove for a couple days this weekend- in hopes to dry it out some. I'm on the lookout for charcoal. I'll keep you posted. (03/06/2008)

    By Veronica

    Musty Smell in Basement

    I have an oscillating fan that I turn on for 2-3 hours each day. Works wonderful. Really does the trick. (03/27/2008)

    By Sammi

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Our basement has a damp and musty smell and we were wondering if there is anything that we can do to get rid of the smell?

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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