What Is The Best Way To Remove Musty Smells?

What Is The Best Way To Remove Musty Smells

After many attempts to remove musty smells on floors, many people still ask this same question. Musty smells are worse and as yucky as they smell, it is not healthy to breathe in either.

Musty odors can be caused by different things such as moisture from old food, stale hair in an older home that has been closed for a while, mold in the rooms, a closed room which will induce an unpleasant, moist smell.

Fortunately, the cause of musty smells is not really serious or permanent. There are tips to curb musty smells in your home:

Related: Can dog urine cause mold in carpet?

Easy Ways To Remove Musty Smells

Locate The Source

This is the first step to eliminate musty odors; discover where the smell is coming from. If the entire house smells, then it has to do with the structure of the building.

If the smell is from one room, it might be simple to treat the smell and cause. Look for any familiar odor causers.

A wet towel trapped behind a piece of furniture can cause musty smells. Check for spots of moisture behind toilets and beneath sinks.

By Ventilation

The simplest way that helps to eliminate musty smells is to let fresh air and sunshine in. Opening all your windows and blinds can do a world of good when it comes to how your house smells.

You can go further by opening all the cupboards, closets, cabinets and interior doors so that they can all get some fresh air too.

Get the air moving by running a fan, especially in your kitchen and bathroom to discourage musty odors from developing.

Musty smells are normally more likely to develop in rooms that are warm, damp or dark. Rooms with limited air flows like the store or laundry room should have a small electric fan to get the air moving.

Remove Dust And Deep Clean

A lot of dust can develop a musty smell, so grab your dusting tools. While dusting, pay close attention to corners and hidden pockets of dust or places you may not have dusted recently.

A more thorough cleaning will help to eliminate musty smells if dusting does not. The best approach is to mop hard floors and vacuum carpets.

Use An Odor Eliminator

If the bad odor happens to be emanating from a small area like a cupboard or closet, use some baking soda.

Pour some in a dish and place it in the smelly area. The baking soda will absorb excess odor and moisture. It will also make the odor smell nice.

Use Air Purifiers

Run air purifiers with HEPA filters to remove over 99% of particles in the air, including tiny dust particles and germs. Some purifiers have specialized filters to eliminate odors.

Natural Air Fresheners

Instead of resorting to expensive store-bought air fresheners, use a natural air freshener. Either you use essential oils, house plants or citrus peels.

Removing Musty Smells On Carpet

Why Does Your Carpet Smell Bad?

The main reason why carpet smells badly is because the carpet backing has absorbed some moisture and it is still wet.

If not dried properly, the underlying material becomes vulnerable to mildew problems which can produce musty smells.

If the carpet is old, this might be a sign that the carpet backing is breaking down. You might have to replace the carpet with a new one.

How To Get Musty Smell Out Of Carpet

Follow these steps to get rid of musty smells in your carpet:

Dry The Affected Area

Open the windows, keep them open for some hours to let fresh air in so as to speed drying. Floor fans can also circulate air, point the fans directly to your carpet to accelerate drying time.

Treat The Affected Area With a Cleaning Solution

Mix one cup of vinegar and two cups of warm water into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture to the affected area. This will make sure that you do not soak the carpet fiber, as this can cause more mold to grow.

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda helps to absorb odors and moisture. Pour a large amount of baking soda directly on the affected area of your carpet.

Allow it to absorb the odors for some hours, at most 8hours. Then, vacuum the baking soda completely.

Preventing Musty Smells From Carpet

Furniture on the carpet causes mildew or mold to grow under it. The legs of these Wooden furniture can as well leave dented marks on the wet carpet.

To avoid this, place protective pads beneath the legs. Remove the furniture from the carpet floor and allow the carpet dry for a while.

You can place the furniture back in the room when the carpet has fully dried.

Stepping on the carpet while it is still wet will squeeze the water back up from the pad and make the carpet wet again.

If you have to step on the wet carpet, then wear protective shoes to prevent oils from feet and socks from moving into the damp carpet.

Read: How to get rid of mold on floor joists

Reasons Why Hardwood Floors Smell Badly

Contaminated Water

Badly stored water can have bad smell resulting from dirt contamination. Hard water may also contain mineral elements like sulfur which react with the dirt on the surface to produce a bad odor.

Dirty Mop

Some people do not wash their mop after using it, forgetting that they will still use it again.

Storing a dirty, damp mop will make it smell and bringing back its fresh smell may be difficult. A dirty mop used on a hardwood floor will make your house smell.

Pet Mess

Odor, urine, poo and vomit are some problems pet owners face. The smell of urine of a pet on the floor can smell for many weeks without vanishing. Clean pet mess immediately; this is the best way to deal with pet mess.

Read: How to remove black urine stain on hardwood floor

Wrong Cleaning Products Or Methods

Wrong products and detergents can change the smell in your home. Poor cleaning can also lead to the build-up of grime and dirt on the floor, contributing to musty smell.

How To Remove Musty Smells On Hardwood Floor

Materials to use:

  1. Vinegar
  2. Neat mop
  3. Baking soda
  4. Broom
  5. One gallon of water
  6. Vacuum

Check for the area odor is emanating from. Dip the mop into the mixture of vinegar and water, wring it. Rub over the affected area and leave it for some hours before vacuuming.

Sprinkle little baking soda over the hardwood floor and allow it to sit for hours. Baking soda is safe for children and wood surfaces.

Sweep the baking soda up with a broom and mop again with a mixture of vinegar and water.

Read: How to deodorize wood floor


Now you know the best approach to take in order to remove musty smells. It majorly depends on regular cleaning and maintenance of your floor, either hardwood or carpet.

Regular cleaning and maintenance should not be debated or skipped; it will help fight musty smells before they ever arrive.

Use of baking soda, ventilation, air fresheners and purifiers can also help eliminate musty smells on carpets and hardwood floors.

Have you ever experienced musty smells on your floor? Tell us how you tackled it in the comments’ section below.

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