How to Get rid of that Musty Smell.

How to Get Rid of That Musty Smell

Why Does my basement smell musty? I pull my Clothing out the washer machine and they smell Musty! These are the questions you may ask yourself already. Musty Smell with time become irresistible and uncomfortable for most people at home.

First, let’s be clear, bad odors don’t mean you have a huge issue but don’t get too comfortable because bad smell could be signs of Mold growing or some other issues.

Before you learn how to remove bad odors at home you need to understand the Principals of Odor Decontamination By the IICRC. These Principals apply for any odor decontamination. Knowing and understanding the principals will allow you to customize your plan of action.

Deodorization and Odor Control Principals.

  1. Identification and Removal of Source as possible.
  2. Cleaning of contamination from surface
  3. Recreate the condition of penetration
  4. Seal( Encapsulate)

Identification and Odor Source Removal

Now that you know the 4 Principles, it’s time for you to find the source but first, you need to find the source and there a few other things you need to understand about the odor.

Bad Odors need Water to produce that terrible smell. Water means high levels of humidity. This means that you need to find an area where you may have a water leak, a deposit of water, condensation or poor ventilation which create a high level of humidity.

Another Main Factor that Creates odor is High temperature. Look for those warm areas. This area could be anywhere in your place and some time they are not noticeable. You Could have a water leak in between walls and you won’t see it if you don’t have a thermal camera.

If this is your situation you may need to hire a Professional to do an inspection for you.

How To find Growing Mold

Identify Mold-vs-Mildew

If you are concern about odors coming from mold growing. Remember that mold needs three things to grow. Water, Food and Temperature.

Water means that mold needs a high level of humidity, as I explained to you find the source.

When we talk about food I refer to organic materials like natural fibers (cotton, wool), paper, leather, wood, or surfaces coated with organic matter such as food, grease, and soil.

In my experience mold grow in many unexpected places. The places where we find mold most of the time is in the perimeter wall of your home because of water intrusion from the outside. Bathrooms in specials around showers. But don’t rely on these two places follow the best tool to find mold. Your nose.

Mold Needs Temperature between 77 to 86 degrees. This will give you a good idea of which area will be the ideal locally for mold to grow.

Don’t forget sometimes is extremely difficult to locate the affected area with the proper tools. Professional like us have the proper tools to find water leaks, temperature and humidity levels in your entire house. When it comes to mold I recommend to rely on a professional to proceed with the cleaning. Mold Removal if it is done unappropriated could end up killing you.

Most Common Places for Sources of Odors.

Bathrooms: Around the shower, under the sink, around the toilet, tile floor, and Showers, Corners.

Kitchens: Check under the sink, around the refrigerator, trash can, Water dispenser machine.

Laundry Room: Around the washer mashing as well as inside. Check the washer mashing door seals. Under any sink, you may have.

Utility Closet: Around the water heater, sink or any other water lines. Furnace.

Basement: Check all the perimeter walls and ceilings for some watermarks, usually, this is the first sign of mold.

Attic and Crawlspace: Check any waterline and most surfaces.

Windows: Check windows seals for condensation and framing for water leaks.

These are the most common places but you should follow your nose as we mentioned previously.

Get Rig of the Bad Odor Source.

Sometimes the easiest way of getting rid of the bad odor is just by fixing the water leak. As soon as you get rid of the water the odor just dissipates most of the time.

When you are removing the source be careful because sometimes is better to let a professional handle the cleaning part.

Best DehumidifiersWhen you are getting rid of the source remember that High Level of Humidity creates a musty smell. In this case, you just need a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity levels of your house.

Most of the time humidity is overlook but most bacterias and odors need a high concentration of moisture to live. Keep the humidity low in your house. Check this dehumidifier that we recommend.




Cleaning the surface.  

When it comes to cleaning it all depends on where you find the odor coming from. If it is in a wooden place will recommend you to find a wood cleaner and follow the label instructions. Cleaning wood finish surface is a little tricky because if you use an aggressive cleaner you can damage the finish.

Cleaning Finish Wood.

Best Finished Wood CleanerJust Be careful and follow the level instruction and remember is better to use wood cleaner than multipurpose cleaner because many times they come with high levels of ammonia and ammonia can damage the wood

If you need a tested wood cleaner we recommended you this one from Amazon.






Green Cleaning Method

If you want to be on the safe side and prefer to do your own green method cleaning we recommend to get distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it to the affected area. Let it work for 30 minutes that way it penetrates.

You can also use some baking soda as well. The combination of baking soda before or after vinegar neutralize the surface and odor dissipate faster.

When you apply either one come back with a terry towel and wipe very well the surface. If you still see some soiling use some liquid dish soap and a sponge and scrub the area for better cleaning.

Don’t forget to come back with clean water to rinse everything.

After any cleaning process, you choose don’t forget drying. Open any windows if it is possible or set a fan. Ideally and much quicker will be a small portable heater.

Cleaning Mold.

Cleaning mold is recommended to be done by a professional to prevent properly inappropriate and miss handling. If mold is cleaned or removed wrong, cross-contamination could happen and them people could end up killed.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring a mold cleanup specialist if:

  • The moldy area is more than 10 square feet
  • If your HVAC system has mold in it
  • If the mold growth is on the walls, floors, or ceiling
  • If you have health issues that could be aggravated by more exposure to mold

If you still want to do your own mold cleaning follow these steps but we still recommend you to hire a professional.

Louisville Mold Cleaning

  • Wear full face mask with the proper cartridges for mold.
  • Put on a full body suit which needs to be disposed at the end.
  • Seal any vents in the area you will be cleaning, we don’t want cross contamination.
  • Create a containment zone with plastic, this will reduce the exposed area.
  • Rent a HEPA Filter air Scrubber and create a negative Pressure system.
  • Duct out the clean air coming from the air scrubber out of the containment area that way you create a negative pressure and all the mold spore get caught into the Hepa Filter.
  • Vacuum with a Hepa Filter Vaccum Cleaner the Affected Area.
  • Scrubber and Wipe down the affected area as well.
  • Any porous materials should be removed and disposed of in a sealed bag.
  • Wipe down before you remove your containment area, we don’t want any cross contamination.

As you can see cleaning mold is a process. There are some other precautions you can take but it all depends on the scenario.

Recreate the Conditions of Penetration.

After doing all these cleanings the first thing you should do is to ventilate the area. Natural Ventilation is the easiest way to bring clean and fresh air to the affected area.

It could be your closet, your bathroom, basement or any other area of the house.

If You had a severe odor issue, you may have to do an extra step and understand some other principals…

The Combination of all the Principales is what will allow you to remove the musty smell completely. You also need to understand how you to attack the odor source that you could get clean because you probably know but odor penetrates into the surface that it is been living on it.

  • Masking – pleasant fragrance; “odorizer”; time-release agents; oils, gels, solids, blocks (air-spaces; HVAC
    system ductwork)
  • Pairing – combines with malodor to produce non-odorous substance; combined with masking agents (a.k.a.
    “odor modifiers”) in most fire/smoke odor restoration chemicals
  • Oxidizers – (hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite) – destroys odors
  • Oxidizing gas – (ozone) – destroys odors through ozone O3 – permanent odor removal
  • Disinfectant – (bactericides, biocides, germicides) – EPA-registered; destroys odors from microorganisms
    “-cide” – suffix meaning to “kill”; “-stat” – suffix meaning to “limit or control” growth

I Gave you all these definitions because if you still have some odor you can make a wise decision and what the next step will be based on the situation.

If you just have some lingering odor in the house you can use any Masking and Pairing Product and spray it in the House to get rid of the Musty smell.

If you Had Mold You need to come back with a disinfectant to eliminate the odor and microorganism that could be alive.

Seal( encapsulate)

Best Kilz SealerThe application or a sealer will just encapsulate the odor into the materials. This step should always be the last one because of an unappropriated cleaning and a lot of odor source could sip or weak thru the sealer.

You want to make sure you have done everything you can to clean the area before you apply any sealer.

Follow the label instruction to better apply the sealer. We recommend this sealer for Amazon




Don’t Forget if you are in Louisville Kentucky and need Assistant with odor Contro Contact us at 502-365-6779 Rodriguez Cleaning Services is an IICRC certified Place you can trust for all your odor and mold cleaning needs.