In this article, we will take a look at how to get rid of basement smell. This smell is very unpleasant and very hard to get rid of, no matter how hard you try mopping or sweeping. The damp smell can really ruin your home, and even though it is very hard to get rid of, there are plenty of effective ways to do so.
You have to know that basements are usually wet rooms with plenty of mold, which can cause the basement smell to spread. In most cases, the first step of getting rid of that nauseating smell is by starting to clean the mold and eliminating the source of the bad smell. This mold can start growing after prolonged periods of wet and humid exposure in corners of the house, especially on concrete walls. The key of how to get rid of basement smell is getting rid of the source of the smell.
In other cases, it might be caused by other factors, but the most likely thing is that it is caused by mold. Here, we will learn how to get rid of basement smell and keep it smelling fresh and clean. You can clean the basement of this smell using some simple and low-cost techniques that we will provide here.
How to get rid of basement smell
Where Does the Smell Come From?
As we already said, taking care of the source of the smell is the first step in getting rid of it. There are multiple possible sources of the smell, and they include:
- Smells from mold and mildew. These are the most common types of smells. Mold starts accumulating in the corners of your walls because of the high levels of humidity that are very usually present in basements. The mold is sometimes very well visible, but it can stay hidden behind objects.
- Microorganisms in the soil beneath the basement. That is another reason for the smell, and they can start to emit volatile organic compounds and chemicals that smell very bad. These smells can come into your basement through the crevices in the basement floor.
- Sewage is another possible reason for the bad odor. If a smell is coming from the sewage, then you most likely have a plumbing problem. If a sewer pipe has cracked, then you have a very serious problem on your hands, and it requires the help of a specialist.
- Smells from animals is a common source of the smell in basements. It can be from the litters of your pets, or maybe one of your pets has done its toilet somewhere in the basement. Most likely, it might be dead rats or mice hidden in the corners or crevices of your basement.
- Wet building materials. Sometimes, the smell may be coming from the wet drywall, which has a musty smell to it. Wet fiberglass can also emit unpleasant smells.
- Iron ochre is a possible reason, although it is not as common as other reasons. This material too has a very unpleasant smell.
Find the Source of the Smell
The next challenge in your quest to eliminate the bad smells from your basement is to find the source of the smell. You will have to fix the source before getting rid of the smell.
- Water traps can dry out if they are out of use, and you may have one under a floor drain or laundry tub. If the water dries, then gases can come through the drain, causing unpleasant smells in your basement.
- Look for a cleanout plug that is inside the floor drain. The next step is to remove the grate that covers the opening, and locate the plug inside the drain bowl.
- Check the pipes in the basement. One of them may be leaking, and even the smallest leak from one of your pipes can create a whole host of other problems.
- Look for cracks in the foundation. Although it is not a big reason for concern, small cracks in the foundation can allow these smells to come into the basement.
- If you have basement toilets but you don’t often use them, these can too cause the foul smell. The water from the P-trap can evaporate, causing the bad smells to come out. Flush the toilet once or twice to get rid of the smell.
Get Rid of the Mold
The most common reason for the bad smells in your basement is the mold that starts collecting on the walls. They don’t only smell, but they can cause damage to your basement and the materials in the basement, while making your allergies and potential asthma worse. Damp and cold areas are a breeding ground for the mold.
Keeping the mold out is the most important thing you can do to step the foul smells. How to get rid of basement smell involves getting rid of the mold. Follow these steps of getting rid of the mold, which will allow you to get rid of the smell.
The first thing you can do is to get rid of any porous materials of organic origin that have been damaged by mold. The best thing you can do is to throw these materials away, as they can even cause further damage. It is not worth cleaning these materials, as they are almost useless by this point. The easier way to do this is to throw it all away and buy new materials.
Before we investigate how to get rid of basement smell by getting rid of the mold, you should note that you should repair any leaks of water in your basement prior to continuing with these steps.
Here is how to get rid of the severe mold in your basement.
- Use bleach to scrub the surfaces where mold is collected. Mix the bleach with the water in a 1:8 ratio, and you can start scrubbing the surfaces where the mold has collected. Bleach is very effective for the task at hand, especially over smaller surfaces.
- Remove the carpet if the mold is collected under it. There is no reason why you should keep such a carpet, and it can only increase the smells. If you have problems with getting rid of the carpet, cut it into smaller pieces.
- Fix the drywall. You can use a pry bar to fix the drywall from the mold that has collected on them.
- Replace rotten wood as soon as possible. In some severe cases, comprehensive changes need to be made.
- Use mold cleaners for better effects. These products are made specifically for the problem at hand.
Vinegar & Baking Soda Will Do the Trick
You can still rescue some products made of wood, such as the furniture and hardwood floors, by giving it a good scrub with vinegar and baking soda. Take them outside and thoroughly scrub them with this mixture. If you can’t move them, then you can scrub them inside the basement, but open windows or doors to let the air in.
You will be surprised to see just how effective white vinegar can be. Simply place a couple of bowls around the basement in various spots to get rid of the smell. In just a few days, the vinegar will absorb the smell. The same can be said about baking soda; it can hold in the smells and can be effective for 3 months or even more.
Obviously, clean the mold with the mixture before placing these bowls. These are only effective for clearing the smells, and not for getting rid of the mold. Also, try to dry any places in your basement where the mold has collected or where it is still dry to prevent additional problems from happening.
Baking soda and vinegar is a widely-known mixture that can be used for a wide variety of reasons. Most notably, it is used for odor removal, and for cleaning the house or getting rid of very unpleasant stains.
Clean the Basement Thoroughly
Sometimes, the smells are due to the fact that your basement is a mess. One of the most important steps of how to get rid of basement smell is to get sure that everything is in order. First, let the air circulate by opening doors or windows, which can reduce the humidity in the air and provide some fresh air.
Give the basement a thorough clean up. You can start with the ceiling and make your way downwards to other parts of your ceiling, such as the walls and at last, the floor. Use bleach to clean any unwanted stains or mold, and remove the objects that have been standing at the same spot for longer periods. You might find something that is causing the smells behind these objects. Rearrange everything and make more space, which will allow for better air circulation.
If the floor is very dirty and hasn’t been cleared for a long time, give it a proper scrub with a strong solution. For this, you can use the vinegar and baking soda mixture, or even ammonia and water. Throughout the years, the floor may have been part of some very nasty ordeals, so it is bound to contain foul smells.
Lastly, wash all of the clothes and the furniture, if you have any in the basement. This will provide a better and cleaner environment without bad smells.
Keep the Basement Smelling Fresh
The last part of how to get rid of basement smell is to keep it smelling as fresh as possible once you do the cleaning. You will need to provide proper ventilation in the basement, and you might also need to get a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in the air. Clean the basement regularly and open windows or doors often. Make sure that mold doesn’t start collecting again in the areas where it was located before.
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