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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.
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.
How do I control musty odor in and old cellar?
David from Stillwater, NY
Place BBQ charcoals around the room, they pull the smell out, Them use Oil Of Mint, on cotton balls to give it a nice mintie smell
Editor's Note: To clarify, use plain barbecue charcoal, NOT the easy light kind with the lighter fluid in them.
You need a dehumidifier to take the moisture out of the air. After a few days you will be amazed at the difference.
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.
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 Crane from OH
If it's possible open the windows in the basement to ventilate it so fresh air comes in. If you are going to do the job of taking care of the musty smell in the basement, make sure that you wear a face mask before you tackle a cleaning job. Use a mixture of bleach and water and scrub the walls. The bleach and water combination will get rid of the musty smell and mold. I don't know what can be done with the ceiling. What your aunt's basement needs is a dehumidifier which will remove the dampness.
Maybe others will post some of their ideas.
I agree with the idea of using bleach, but also trying using the product KILZ. It's a primer you use before painting. In my experience, it gets rid of odor and if your going from a darker color to lighter, it works great. Hope this helps.
How do you get rid of a musty smell in the basement?
To rid the basement of musty smells use regular charcoal bricks. The kind used for grilling out.
How do I get rid of a musty smell in the basement?
A musty smell usually comes from mold or dirt. Try running a dehumidifier to see if it improves. My daughter's allergist tells her a clean house doesn't smell. I hope this helps you. I have that smell in my basement, too.
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.
Our basement is musty; I clean it often, but am not doing what needs to be done. What can we do to remove odor?
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.
I have a walk-out cellar w/2 windows and a patio door. The windows are open all the time and I still get that smell. I purchased a dehumidifier. I ran it for a week straight which helped with the smell but almost doubled my light bill. Would a ceiling fan help? The walls are dry walled and it's all open. It's the game room and doubles as a spare bedroom.
By Lottie H
A dehumidifier should not have that effect on your electric bill. If you ran it, windows are open and you still have that smell, then somehow water is getting in. Do you have a leak coming from any pipes, hotwater heater, furnace??? Are your walls leaking in water from the outside? Yes a ceiling fan would also help, but the best thing would be to find a source of where the moisture is coming from.
Dehumidifiers dont use a lot of electricity. You can run fans for little money
Yes, a dehumididifer runs your electric up BIG time . I have a brand new one in my basement and used it one year. I don't use it anymore because I can't afford the double bill.
My dehumidifier upped my bill $58.00 a month!!!!!!!!!!
What's the RH (relative humidity) outside?
Musty odors are usually a sign of mold/mildew. So check for plumbing leaks and moisture issues in crawlspace or basement. Further check for signs of mold/mildew and address in those areas. Check attic for symptoms, too.
Check to make sure gutters and drain-spouts are clear and carry water away from structure. Make sure soil slopes away from structure to carry water away.
Fans will improve air circulation. Also keep your HVAC running as air conditioning will dehumidify air. Check humidity levels in rooms with hygrometer and maintain at 35-55%.
As for dehumidifiers, it's a bit strange that your bill has increased. I can only recommend you to check your cellar for any leakages and replace your dehumidifier. For instance, we're using the one from hOuseLab and it's Energy Star certified - such dehumidifiers are energy efficient. We use ours almost regularly (since it's located in our cellar) and our bills haven't increased that much.
Here are some useful guides on ventilation and humidity I found useful while I was dealing with moisture in our house, so I hope it helps:
My basement is 90% finished, but I still get a musty smell in it. How can I get rid of it without spending a lot of money?
By Melissa M
I would suggest a dehumidifier. Do you have any windows you could open as well?
You can get dehumidifier bags at any hardware store
Our walk out basement has a cellar smell. The floor is fully carpeted over cement and has been there for about 25 years. The cellar smell/concrete smell appeared about 2 years ago. How do we get rid of this musty concrete/cellar smell?
By Pat M.
Moisture is getting in some where to cause the smell. You are going to have to find the source and repair it. Look for places where the concrete or carpet may be damp. Check around the windows and door and foundation. Until you find it, put in a dehumidifier.
There is a strong musty smell in my above ground and totally finished basement or lower level.
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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 shelley silva from Grand Rapids, MI
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)
Vick from Pennsylvania
We had that problem too. I bought several large bags of charcoal (the kind used for grilling), opened them and placed them around the basement in different areas. The charcoal absorbs the odors and some of the dampness that causes the odor. I hope this helps.
Editor's Note: Make sure you don't use the quick light kind that has lighter fuel in it. Plain charcoal should work well. (09/12/2006)
You probably need to invest in a dehumidifier. (09/13/2006)
You could try these two things.One,basement needs to be ventilated.Open all basement windows.They should be open from April to October if you live in the north.Two,use a dehumidifier. (09/14/2006)
to permanently get rid of the odor you need to get rid of the dampness. have you checked for cracks and leaks? if you're handy you can do any repairs yourself. if you're too busy or not too handy you need to get it done professionally. sometimes just painting the cement walls seals off a lot of dampness. cement is very porous and breathes and since one side is against damp soil it breathes in dampness. (09/14/2006)
If you can ventilate in any way, I'd set out a plastic dishtub of hot water containing 1/3 cup bleach for several days. If no ventilation available, try other options below. God bless and protect you and your belongings as you try. :?) (09/14/2006)
I bought a dehumidifier. (09/20/2006)
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 Edith from CT
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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.