How Do I Get Rid of That Musty Smell in My Basement
Unless finished, basements are an often forgotten about space in the home used primarily for storage. When you do venture down below, you’re likely familiar with the signature basement smell, a musty basement smell that is incredibly unpleasant and very difficult to get rid of. If you’re suffering from a musty basement with this smell, you’ve likely wondered what is causing the unwanted odor, and of course, how to get rid of basement smell altogether? Fortunately, there are clear causes of musty basement smell and steps you can take to remediate. Read on to learn why the musty basement smell occurs and how you can fix it.
Cause of Musty Basement Smell
So what causes musty smell? In most cases, a musty basement smell is caused by the growth of mold or mildew. Mold and mildew thrive in basements because they are attracted to dark, damp locations. Many basements suffer from high levels of moisture, leaving them very vulnerable to the growth of mold and mildew, and subsequently a musty basement smell. To confirm that mold or mildew is the cause of your musty basement smell, you’ll want to search for the source of the odor. Scan the walls and floor of your basement searching for water stains and other indications of moisture build-up. You might also see discoloration of wood or drywall, as well as bulging or bowing of surfaces. Bowed walls are linked to mold smell in the basement because they cause shifts in the foundation, making it easier for water to seep into the home. Further, check for cracks or any large gaps in the floor or walls of your basement where moisture and mold can gather.
Another location where water might be trapped is in floor drains. Check the trap below the floor drain to see if there is water at the right level. If there is no water in the trap at all, fill the trap with fresh water until it is full. When no water is present in the trap, sewer gas can leak into the drain and into the basement causing an unpleasant smell. In addition to checking floor drains, check the drains of any appliances or bathroom fixtures that drain down to the basement. Leaks from appliances can lead to severe mold growth and even damage, again causing a musty basement smell.
If you notice any signs of the warning signs above, you have a moisture issue in your basement. When this happens, mold and mildew are likely to present and the cause of your musty basement smell.
Dangers of a Musty Basement
While a mold smell in the basement may feel like a minor inconvenience, the risks associated with the odor may actually be greater than you think. Because a musty basement odor indicates the presence of mold and mildew growth, your health and the health of your loved ones may be impacted. It has been shown that a musty basement caused by mold or mildew is linked to health problems including wheezing, coughing, stuffy and runny nose, itchy eyes or skin, red eyes, and worsening of other respiratory conditions like asthma. It is therefore crucial that if you have a mold smell in the basement you remediate as soon as possible.
How to Get Rid of Musty Basement Smell
Once you’ve identified the source of your musty basement smell, you can then take steps to remediate and fix the issue. Take the following actions to help solve your mold smell in the basement:
Remove excess moisture. The first step you might consider to fight musty basement odor is to dry out the basement. Removing excess moisture, the reason for mold and mildew growth is important for preventing further growth. You can dry out your basement by using dehumidifiers and fans. With less moisture in the air and better circulation, you will likely notice an improvement with the musty basement smell.
Kill the mold. Because mold and mildew are the primary cause of musty basement odors, killing any that are growing is essential to remove the smell. Once you’ve found where the mold or mildew is growing, spray the affected area with undiluted white vinegar, a solution that is capable of killing roughly 82 percent of mold spores. After heavily misting all areas of mold, wipe away growth and dispose of in a sealed bag. Whenever cleaning or handling mold, always wear protective gear to limit exposure.
Use cat litter. An unexpected solution to solving mold smell in the basement is actually cat litter. Placing open containers of cat litter around the basement can absorb unpleasant odor, helping to remove the musty basement smell. When using this solution, make sure to change the litter regularly to maximize effectiveness.
Use Baking Soda. Similar to cat litter, baking soda can also be effective for absorbing a musty smell in the basement. In fact, baking soda is able to maintain its absorbency for up to 3 months. After you’ve resolved any causes of excess moisture in your basement, place containers of baking soda around your basement to catch the musty smell.
Call the professionals at SERVPRO
When handling musty basement odors on your own, you may find that the musty basement smell returns after a while. This is because remediating mold growth can be a difficult task without professional help. Calling in help from the experts at SERVPRO of Downtown Atlanta can ease the burden of removing musty basement smell, as our technicians are experienced and equipped to handle even the most serious cases of mold and mildew growth. Unlike your local small shop, SERVPRO of Downtown Atlanta is a national brand helping families across the country restore their home to safe and pleasant conditions. If you’re suffering from musty basement, we’re here to help. Contact us today to discuss your musty basement odor, and we’ll deliver an efficient, affordable, and satisfactory plan of action you’ll love.