Basements are one of the most common odor producers in the home. There are a number of things that can cause bad smells in this location.
Musty odors are caused by mildew and mold, which grows and thrives in damp locations. A musty odor coming from the basement is most often noticed in spring and fall when utilities aren't running and the windows are closed. To help prevent basement odors be sure to keep your home well ventilated.
The biggest problem with odors in the house is caused by mildew and mold accumulation which can not only cause deterioration of the house but also create health problems like allergies and asthma. Use ventilation, windows, dehumidifiers etc. to keep the level of humidity down. Having your air ducts cleaned and your ventilation system checked yearly, or at least every 2 years, is a good idea.
Eliminate Musty Basement Odors
- There are two distinct causes of damp basements, moisture condensation and water leaks. If your home basement smells damp, or musty, use dehumidifiers and give the room a good air out by opening windows. Make sure your basement is waterproof as a small leak can cause a lot of moisture and if there are visible water stains or leaks it is important to get these taken care of before they cause damage to the foundation. Be sure to inspect the area around the house to ensure water flows away from the house. Extend gutter downspouts at least 6 feet from foundation walls. Correct any problem areas where rain water may collect ensuring the ground slopes away from the foundation.
- For mildew and mold make a solution 1/2 cup of bleach to a gallon of hot water. Pour the mix into a spray bottle and work your way around cleaning up the area keeping the windows open. Use this mixture on cement, walls, floors, bathrooms, laundry areas and other locations that will not have a reaction to bleach.
- Try putting kitty litter in open containers in basements, closets, etc. Change as needed. It will help rid the area of musty smells. This also works in vacant, closed up houses.
- To clean smelly basement floors use a cup of borax cleaner to one gallon of water, and apply the mixture with a sponge and start scrubbing.
- Leave several bowls, or old containers, with some white vinegar in them placed around the basement (full strength). At first the air may smell strongly of the vinegar, but after a day there will be no more musty smells at all.
- Place an opened container of baking soda in the basement, as baking soda will absorb the unpleasant odors for up to three months.
- Basement plumbing can become covered in condensation causing water to run down the pipes and drip onto the basement floor or behind wall coverings. To remedy this problem wrap the pipes with an insulated pipe wrap, an inexpensive material and an easy way to prevent dampness and musty odors in your basement.
Commercial Products for Basement Odors
- The Smelleze® Basement Deodorizer Pouch - Specially developed to solve musty smell problems in the basement using a unique dual mechanism. It absorbs excessive moisture from the air to lower the relative humidity thereby destroying mold and mildew. Secondly, it eliminates musty basement odors on contact without covering them up with fragrances.
- Gonzo Corporation OEB212 Basement Odor Eliminator - Lasts forever simply recharge in sunlight. Removes musty odors caused by damp moldy basements.
- House Basement Odor Absorber Air Freshener - Contains volcanic minerals with a natural ionic charge and completely erases problem odors. Simply hang the packs up and walk away. A single pack deodorizes up to 600 sq. ft. of space. Placed in the air return of your central A/C or heating system, Odor Absorber House keeps 1,000 sq. ft. naturally odor-free. Recharge in sunlight for a lifetime of use in any climate.
- E-Z Breathe - A maintenance free unit that helps protect your home and family from excess moisture, molds, toxins, allergies and poor air quality resulting in a cleaner, healthier living environment. It provides powerful ventilation, supporting both the EPA and the American Lung Associations recommendations to use a ventilated system to reduce indoor air pollution.
- Basement Odor Absorber - Formulated especially for neutralizing musty odors from mold, mildew, smoke, pets and more, the odor-absorbing gel works around the clock to bring freshness to air-starved spaces. Leaves behind the crisp, clean scent of pine that greets you each time you descend the stairs. Terrific for basements both finished and unfinished, in homes old and new.