A basement is a cleaning and maintenance challenge. Since it is a space that will mostly be dark and cold, it is much more prone to mold and moisture. Although these two are already enough reasons to clean the basement walls, many homeowners will not notice their presence until they start to smell something strange in their homes, and by this time, it will be too late to do superficial cleaning. Need to know how to get rid of musty smell in basement? Then continue reading.
The musty smell in the basement will start to permeate your entire home as the temperature rises. This is because hot air is lighter than cold air, and since the basement is the lowest level in the home, the only exit, other than a ventilation window, is through the door.
If this were not enough, all your home’s walls are prone to absorbing the odor, so if you do not solve the problem quickly, it will become immense.
The good thing is that with some natural techniques you will be able to get rid of the musty smell without having to call a professional, in addition to the fact that there are ways to prevent it from being generated.
Musty basements – The cause of the bad smell
Unlike dust, moisture is a slightly more difficult agent to clean. This is because while moisture and mold are causing the bad smell, removing the visible layers will not be enough.
To get rid of musty smell in a basement, you will need to thoroughly analyze its origin. Moisture is first found in the air in the form of microscopic water droplets. In this state, they are not a threat to the walls, but a little heat is all these drops need to become steam.
In this gaseous state, the steam will travel until it finds a cold climate with which to return to its liquid state, and in the case of basements, this temperature is found in the walls and pipes. Basically, the air moistens the walls.
Now that the walls and pipes have water, mold can begin to grow. There is no favorite environment for this mushroom than a dark, cold, and humid place. What is worse is that mold is also a microscopic agent, so its spores can travel through the air, allowing it to reproduce anywhere without being planted.
If you start to see black or green stains on the walls, and you feel strange basement smells, then you can be sure you will find mold.
Why should you eliminate mold?
The first reason is that mold will continue to grow uncontrollably in the building. This could cause serious structural problems, and it will not look good.
The second reason is for your health. Although mold is not dangerous in most cases, some species can be toxic when inhaled. In people with allergic problems, a mold of any kind is a risk to their health, since they can develop respiratory complications derived from spores found in the air. Other people experience allergic skin reactions. It is better to avoid these risks.
How to get rid of musty smell in basement – Eliminate the origin
Mold can be easily removed from walls with a wide variety of chemicals. Before you start cleaning, equip yourself with the necessary safety items like gloves and glasses. It is also recommended that you test whether the substance you are going to use is not harmful to the surface you want to clean.
Some of the most common options are baking soda, pure vinegar, borax or bleach diluted in water, or hydrogen peroxide. To apply the substance you can use an atomizer or a bucket with a rag.
The effectiveness of each cleaning agent will depend on the surface where it is applied. Porous walls are best cleaned with a mixture of liquid detergent, bleach, and water. For a smooth wall, it is best to use water and bleach.
In case the mold stain is not completely gone, you can try cleaning it with a bit of bleach. Do not overdo it or you could discolor the wall.
Avoid storing things in cardboard boxes, as they easily absorb moisture. It is better to use plastic containers.
Finally, fabrics that have been impregnated with mold can be washed normally to eliminate it. If you are drying them using a tumble dryer, use the hottest setting the fabric can handle to kill mold.
How to get rid of musty smell in basement – Homemade and effective method
The solution to all cleaning problems
There is no better universal cleaner than vinegar with baking soda. This mixture is also an excellent basement odor eliminator. Both compounds are capable of corroding dirt to make it easier to remove.
Please note that both vinegar and baking soda will give off a strong odor in the room, so it must be adequately ventilated.
You must first remove the mold. In a container, mix one gallon of water with 1/8 of white vinegar. Use a brush to spread the mixture on the surfaces, and let it sit in them for at least 20 minutes.
If the mold is still not coming out, you can try with borax to help the vinegar. After the time has passed, wipe the area with a dry cloth.
There may still be mold residue left to remove, but it is so small you will not see it. Just to be safe, apply an additional layer of white vinegar to the area you cleaned. You can replace it with tea tree oil.
Finally, you just have to remove the mildew smell in the basement. If the vinegar did not completely remove it, then you must use the baking soda. This ingredient used for cooking will be able to absorb the remaining odor. You can even mix it with water and use it with an atomizer as if it were an environmental deodorant.
Furniture stored in the basement may also require deep cleaning. To avoid accidents, it is best to use certified cleaners for their treatment. Also, you will need to take them out from the basement and let them dry in the sun to eliminate mold.
Prevent mold from appearing
Moisture and mold can be prevented from owning your basement with a few simple tips. The most basic is to keep this room well ventilated. In case there is a window, keep it open when possible. If your basement has no natural or mechanical outlet to the outside, place a pair of fans that recirculate the air for a few hours.
If you have mechanical ventilation through ducts, remember to clean them constantly to avoid clogging them.
You can use as a basement odor absorber a handful of charcoal briquettes or yard and concrete deodorizer granules. Both will take care of recirculating and absorbing the bad smell produced by humidity and mold, and they are easy to find materials. Besides, you can use multiples times the deodorizing granules.
Check the basement water pipes. The humidity’s cause may be a leaking pipe. Also check if the ceiling and walls are properly insulated and without leaks.
The last thing you need to know about how to get rid of musty smell in basement is that proper lighting is essential to maintaining a mold-free environment. Try to paint the basement with bright colors that allow you to easily spot any dark stains. Occasionally turning on basement lamps will also help keep moisture away from walls.
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