Can’t Get Rid Of A Musty Smell In The House?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Credit: Shutterstock / PV productions

It’s hard to get comfortable at home when your house smells musty. This is even harder when you struggle to track down the cause of the problem. So, what should you do when you can’t get rid of the musty smell in your house?

Run a dehumidifier in your house to get rid of the musty smell, as moisture can create an unpleasant odor. Clutter, dust, and pet hair can also make your house smell musty, so it’s important to clean as often as possible. Inspect your house for mold, because it’s dangerous and can make your home smell musty.

It’s also a great idea to bathe your pets each month, because they may be the root of the problem. Follow along as we explore what to do when you can’t get rid of the musty smell in your house.

How To Get Rid Of The Musty Smell In My House

1. Reorganize Your Storage Spaces

It’s hard to find enough space for all your belongings, no matter how big your house is. Because of that, many homeowners cram as much as they can into a few small spaces, so their house doesn’t feel like a storage unit.

As understandable as that is, it can also cause dust, mold, and mildew to build up and make your house smell musty.

This is true for clothes, knick-knacks, vinyl records, and even your book collection. Place dryer sheets and air fresheners in your home’s storage spaces to reduce the musty smell. It also helps to run a fan or keep the door to the room open to improve airflow.

2. Open The Windows

Poor circulation in your house will undoubtedly cause a musty smell that is hard to get rid of. Not only does poor circulation make your house smell bad, but it’s also bad for your respiratory health. You can easily improve the airflow in your house if you open the windows.

The fresh air will let the old, musty air leave your house and replace it with a natural odor. This isn’t always an option when the weather is unpleasant, but it’s a great idea on moderate days.

3. Use A Dehumidifier

The musty smell in your house you can’t get rid of is likely due to moisture. Excessive moisture can eventually lead to mold, but in many cases, your house will smell musty long before mold grows. You can largely avoid this altogether if you use a dehumidifier to keep your house dry.

Keep the humidity range between 40% and 60% to avoid musty smells in your house. This will also help prevent mold, and it can promote lung health if you have respiratory problems. That said, you may want to keep the humidity level between 30% and 50% during the winter if you live in a particularly dry climate.

4. Run An Air Purifier

Musty smells in your house are caused by many things, but excessive dust is one of the biggest culprits. Air purifiers can help reduce the musty smell in your house in two ways. First, they help remove dust from the air, so the air that circulates throughout your house is cleaner.

Second, air purifiers can remove mold spores from the air in your home. This will stop the mold spores from spreading, and it will also reduce the musty smell. Simple air purifiers cost $30 to $40, but you must spend between $100 and $350 for a high-end air purifier.

5. Keep Up With Laundry

Everyone is familiar with the musty smell of old clothes that have sat for too long. Not only will your clothes become a wrinkled mess, but the bad smell may eventually spread throughout your home. This is especially true for old clothes that have been piling up for a long time.

Over time, dust, sweat, and oil from your skin build up on your clothes. This can cause it to take on a less-than-pleasant odor. The smell only becomes worse when you leave clothes in a pile or hanging in a closet for a long time without wearing them. Old, musty clothes that you haven’t worn in years smells particularly bad, and there’s no reason to keep them around unless they have sentimental value.

Wash the clothes and donate them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army if you don’t plan to wear them ever again. That way, you can clear some free space in your closet and let someone else enjoy them. Otherwise, simply wash your clothes frequently even if you don’t wear them, so they don’t smell musty.

6. Clean Your Air Ducts

When was the last time you had the air ducts in your house cleaned? Air ducts fill up with dust and debris much faster than you may imagine. Much of the dust that floats throughout the air in your house winds up in your air ducts.

The average homeowner can wait up to 5 years before they must clean their air ducts. That said, your air ducts can become clogged and overly dirty much sooner, especially if you have an old house. Pets and excessive clutter in your house can also make your air ducts dirty sooner.

You may need to clean your air ducts in as little as 3 years. Unfortunately, you will most likely need to hire an HVAC professional to clean your air ducts. They have the skills and equipment to clean your air ducts without damaging them. You can expect to spend an average of $400 to clean your air ducts, but it varies based on the size of your house.

7. Open Doors

Do you frequently keep most of your home’s interior doors closed? Not only will your rooms become stuffy, but they can also smell musty pretty quickly. That is especially true if you trap moist air in the rooms.

You don’t necessarily need to open every door, but you should open the door to musty rooms. At first, the smell will spread, but it will eventually fade as the moisture and dust leaves. Put air fresheners or purifiers in musty-smelling rooms and replace the smell with something pleasant.

8. Clean As Much As Possible

It’s not fun to clean your house. That said, it’s a necessary evil, and your house will smell much better if you keep up with it. Dust every surface and wipe down your counters to get rid of many of the culprits causing the musty smell.

Vacuum your floors at least once per week. You may need to vacuum even more if you have pets. Steam clean your carpets and rugs each year and you will quickly notice they smell better.

9. Wash Your Pets

We all love our pets, but it’s no secret that they don’t always smell good. They can track the bad smell throughout your house as they walk around. While a distinct pet smell can be cute, the novelty wears off when you can’t get rid of the musty smell in your house.

Many homeowners bathe their pets once each month, but that may be unnecessary for you. However, your house will likely smell bad if you go 3 months or longer without bathing them.

10. Hire A Mold Remediation Team

Call a mold remediation team right away if you trace the musty smell to a mold infestation. Not only does it make your house smell bad, but it’s also dangerous. Mold carries many health risks that aren’t worth enduring, and your life may depend on it.

People with respiratory problems are especially susceptible to the dangerous effects of mold. Mold remediation costs an average of $2,200, but it varies based on the severity of the problem.

Summing It Up

The musty smell in your house will likely go away if you thoroughly clean the space. Wipe down each surface and dust as much as possible. Run an air purifier and dehumidifier to ensure you have healthy air quality in your house. Clean your air ducts, keep up with laundry, and wash your pets to get rid of the musty smell.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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