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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.
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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.

By 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

Answers

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"...

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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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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.

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Thank You

Answers

December 29, 20040 found this helpful

Try washing with baking soda, then place in a plastic bag with some charcoal to absorb the smell.

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December 29, 20040 found this helpful

Soak overnight in vinegar and laundry soap. Rinse as usual in the AM. Hanging them out in the sun to dry woould be a good idea, too

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By Barbie (Guest Post)
December 29, 20040 found this helpful

As for removing the smell from the home there is a simple key...."If you smell mold there is mold..." so I would say it would be best to wash everything and I mean everything down with bleach water as bleach kills mold, make sure you ventilate well, open windows use fans etc. Also check under the home if possible, mobiles are good for having dampness and mold growth underneath if the ventilation is poor.....make sure everything dries out good......

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as for the clothes I agree with the vinegar soaking....vinegar removes alot of odors......but I would still use the bleach to clean the musty,mildew, mold odors as it kills the mold spores, even if you have to repeat the process it's cheap and easy .......Good Luck

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December 29, 20040 found this helpful

Set small containers of bleach around to absorb the odors, of course being safety concious of small children or animals.

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By Anna (Guest Post)
December 29, 20040 found this helpful

We purchased a camper trailer a few years ago and it had been covered for over a year and smelled very musty. We have an ozone type air cleaner and I closed the camper up tight and ran the cleaner for 24 hours, no more smell even after 6 years.

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I have also put musty clothes (coats) in the dryer with fabric softener sheets and that removed all the smell.

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December 29, 20040 found this helpful

A friend had a dead mouse in the walls of her home and it smelled terrible until an exterminator told her to soak several cotton balls in sweet oil and place them all around. It is supposed to absorb the odor somehow. Worth a try!
Renee in TN

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December 31, 20040 found this helpful

I read somewhere that you could buy "cheapie" cat litter, pour it into bowls/open cotainers & sit it around to absorb odors & moisture.

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By Missy--New Orleans (Guest Post)
October 27, 20050 found this helpful

Just removed some clothes from our water drenched house in New Orleans. They smell awful even after 8 runs through the wash machine. I will try each and every one of these remedies until I find something that works. Thank you! Just didn't want to have to replace everything... If I could just save some things, it'd be worth it.

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By Donna Ratzlaff (Guest Post)
November 12, 20050 found this helpful

We stayed in a motel that had a moldy smell. When we came home all the clothing plus the suitcases now smell.

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How can we get this smell removed from our clothing, etc. I have washed the clothing 3 times, even with clorox without luck. Please help!

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By kathy (Guest Post)
December 11, 20050 found this helpful

We have a snowmobile bin that holds all our gear, and a duffle bag for hats, gloves and scarfs. Well my husband went to get our winter gloves out and the small bag had a mold smell to it, so all of our hats and gloves have a smell to them. Is it possible to run our things through the dryer to see if it will take the smell out, or should i wash them in soap and vinagar, help.

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By Dana (Guest Post)
January 20, 20060 found this helpful

I bought a house and it has a leaky basement. The house is sooooo nice, but has this "smell" that we can not get out. One room has mold on the wall. What can we do?

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January 20, 20060 found this helpful

We had a pipe under the kitchen area rot because it was so old. The SMELL was so offensive like something rotting underneath. The plumber came and said it was food from our garbage disposal and it had been sitting under our house for a long time. He cleaned it up,(poor guy) and put in a new pipe. He then had a bucket of lyme,(white powder) and spinkled it all underneath the area that smelled. Problem solved offensive smell gone. Ask your plumber where you can get some maybe a hardware store. Good luck

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By (Guest Post)
April 10, 20060 found this helpful

The cabinet in my bathroom has a strong mold smell. I have wiped it out with bleach but the smell is overpowering. I can't see any mold growing anywhere inside. What can i do? Anyone else had a similar problem? Thank you

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By DB (Guest Post)
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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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.

Thanks,
Joyann from Visalia, CA

Answers

February 12, 20061 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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By Carol (Guest Post)
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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By Peggy (Guest Post)
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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By 0 found this helpful
October 18, 2017

I have a 118 year old house and I have a musty smell, but not all the time. How do I get rid of the smell? The basement is dry, but humid. I also smell it outside around the house. What can I do?

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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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By 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


Answers:

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 Jan

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 Pat Giles

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 Chris Richman

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!
(11/01/2008)

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 Jim

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