The musty odor caused by mold and mildew is not only unpleasant, it’s also dangerous to breathe in. If you are around it for too long, you may suffer from headaches, sinus pressure, allergy or asthma attacks, or even worse. So, whether you have the smell in your basement or other room of the home, or on a specific object, it’s important to identify the cause and remove mold and mildew odors at once.
As you probably know, anytime you smell a musty odor it’s an indication that moisture is present, or was for a period of time. Once moisture begins to settle, it grows and spreads over a vast area. If it comes in contact with wood, such as on the walls of your home, it can also be an invitation for termites. It can spread through sheetrock, burrow in insulation, live in support beams, and even contaminate brick, concrete or steel. So, if you haven’t already removed the source of the mold and mildew odors, now is the time to do so.
Find the source
If the source of the odor is something as simple as a piece of furniture or carpeting that has mildewed, it’s best to discard it and buy new. This is also the case for wallpaper, curtains, clothing, bedding, mattresses, and any other removable object. However, if you cannot locate the source, have a professional come in and identify it. You cannot begin to get rid of mold and mildew odors until the source has been identified and removed.
Ventilate the area and/or object
Air out the area, or object, for at least 24 hours. Open doors and windows and use fans to direct the air flow away from the room. If the object can be moved outside, place it in a well-ventilated outdoor space. Place a dehumidifier inside musty rooms to decrease humidity levels.
Get rid of musty clothing or fabric odors
If you have a fabric object that you would rather try to salvage than discard, try this trick. Pour unflavored vodka in a spray bottle and lightly mist the object. The alcohol in the vodka will kill the any bacteria which may be causing the odor. Once the fabric dries, launder as usual.
Get rid of musty odors from non-fabric materials
Now comes the hard part. It will take a lot of work to remove mold and mildew odors from non-fabric materials because you will have to scrub it away. You will need the following supplies:
– Scrub brush
– Bleach and water mixture (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) * Increase to 1 part bleach to 5 parts water for stubborn odors
– Ventilation mask
There’s only one way to scrub away musty odors and that is to use a lot of elbow grease. Spray the mixture onto the surface, allow it to sit a few minutes and scrub with all your might. When you’re done, wash the surface off with plain water and wipe it with a dry towel. A fan can help to dry the area thoroughly.
If there are any musty odors left hanging in the room, fill an empty coffee can with baking soda or kitty litter to help absorb them.
More from Jennifer Wagner:
Preventing mold in the bathroom
What’s causing your musty basement odor?
Improve the air quality in your home
Source: Personal experience