How to get rid of mildew smell in house

If you smell mildew in your house, you’ll want to track out the source as soon as possible since it’s one of the first signs that Mold is developing. Thankfully, getting rid of mildew smell is simpler than you would think, and the things required to get rid of mildew or musty odors are most likely already in your house. The sooner you address Mold, the sooner you can safeguard your home from health risks and significant damage.

Mildew grows in damp environments, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Depending on the kind of surface you’re cleaning, an elemental toothbrush, sponge, and a few cleaning products may get rid of mildew and musty smells. Here’s how to get rid of Mold and keep it gone for good.

Mold vs. mildew

How to get rid of mildew smell in house

Both mildew and Mold thrive in warm, moist conditions. Here are some methods for determining what you’re up against:

Examine the surface. Mildew is a flat, powdery fungus that grows exclusively on the surface of the place it occupies. On the other hand, Mold is usually slimy or fuzzy, and it may develop under the surface and on top.

Look at the color. Mildew is a light-colored mold that may be yellow, gray, or white. Mold is a darker substance that is typically green or black.

What is the smell of mildew?

In a nutshell, it smells musty. Mildew has a fragrance that is evocative of decaying wood and is well-suite to its habitat (think wet and earthy). This scent is comparable to many other bathroom molds, except that mildew odors aren’t as intense as Mold smells. If the stench is overwhelming, you may have a mold issue rather than a mildew problem.

Is mildew a health hazard?

Mildew may be hazardous if not dealt with promptly since repeated exposure to mildew (a precursor to Mold) can cause respiratory problems. This is especially true for those who have asthma or have weakened immune systems. Itchy eyes, sneezing, and coughing may occur in those exposed to a modest quantity of mildew.

In addition to affecting one’s health, mildew may eat away at a building’s structure and disintegrate walls and ceilings if it is not remove correctly. Mold may also develop on permeable items like carpets and furniture, causing harm. The longer a homeowner waits to remove mildew, the more costly the repairs will be.

Moldy and musty odors have a lot in common since they come from Mold or mildew growing in wet places. Although musty scents are not as intense as moldy odors, you should treat them the same way.

Mildew appears as a powdery, patchy substance that may be see on fruits, vegetables, and plants. Mold is usually thicker, and since it penetrates deeper into the sense on which it develops, it may cause structural damage. Mold may grow on plant materials, but it’s more prevalent on construction materials, including walls, floors, towels, tiles, and clothes.

How to Get Rid of Mildew in 5 Easy Steps

1: Determine where the mildew is coming from.

2: Put on protective clothing and gloves, then combine one cup of bleach with one gallon of warm water.

3: Using a toothbrush, aggressively scrape the bleach mixture.

4: Continue until the mildew is no longer visible.

5: Using a cloth or towel, completely dry the area.

Step-by-step removal of the musty odor

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Step 1: Determine what is causing the mildew and musty odor.

Remove as many things as possible from the area and check all corners, ceilings, grout, tile, tub caulking, and porous materials, such as carpets, clothes, and upholstered furniture, if the cause of the mildew and musty odor isn’t immediately apparent. To identify the cause, it may be essential to remove everything from the room.

Step 2: Make a bleach solution.

Put on latex gloves to protect your hands and skin, a mask to keep the bleach mixture and mold out of your lungs, and make sure the space is well ventilate. Combine one cup of bleach with one gallon of warm water once it’s completely cover.

Step 3: Get rid of the mildew and musty odor.

Dip a toothbrush into the combination of bleach and water. Strenuously scrub the mildew stain. Then, using a clean, damp sponge, wipe away the bleach residue.

Step 4: Do it again.

Repeat the previous procedure as neccesary until the mildew is banish and you can no longer smell the musty stench.

Step 5: Thoroughly dry the area.

After eliminating the mildew stain, completely dry the damaged area. Dry the area using a cloth or towel since any residual residue, moisture, or water may cause the mildew to reappear, along with the musty odor. Wash the rags and your clothes as soon as possible.

To get rid of the mildew odor, you’ll need the following items.

Rubber gloves are require for the chemical protection of your hands and skin.

Face mask: When cleaning, use a face mask to prevent inhaling chemicals.

Bleach: The primary component in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is excellent in removing Mold and mildew as well as musty odors. If the area affect by a mildew odor or Mold is tiny, a toothbrush dip in the bleach combination may use to attack the mildew issue directly.

A sponge or bigger brush: It may be more helpful than a toothbrush if the area affected by mildew is vast.

Use rags: Thoroughly dry the afflicted area and eliminate any dampness or moisture after the cleaning procedure.

How can you keep that musty odor from reappearing?

Increasing air circulation and reducing moisture as much as possible is the most excellent method to avoid a musty odor from returning. Install fans in your bathrooms, kitchen, and basement, and keep them running moisture anytime they enter your houses, such as after a rainfall, bathing, or cooking. Leave the fans on after bathing or cooking to enable the area to dry completely.

Precautions to Consider

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There are a few measures to take before you start tackling the odor. These measures can help protect your lungs and avoid spore infection in the future:

Wear a mask: We recommend wearing a mouth mask to prevent inhaling mold spores.

Protective eyewear: The fungus may irritate and inflame the eyes. Furthermore, the combination of mold and cleaning chemicals may be enough to make a cleaning session uncomfortable. Wearing protective eyewear is thus essential.

Gloves: Even natural substances like borax may cause skin irritation. To avoid direct contact with the skin, use rubber gloves.

Proper ventilation is essential: Make sure the space air is set correctly by opening the doors and windows.

Defend the colony by isolating it: As you clean, spores will undoubtedly fly everywhere. As a result, always clean one room at a time. It also helps to shut the door to prevent the spores from spreading to other house areas.

HVAC systems should seal: Turn off any heating, air conditioning, or ventilation systems you may have. It will keep the spores from leaving and taking up residence within your HVAC system, only to return inside.

When you’re through cleaning, put all of your equipment in a plastic bag and seal it shut. Immediately discard.

Preventing the growth of mildew

✔️Maintain a clean environment

Keep closets, dresser drawers, basements, and other places where mildew may thrive as clean as possible. When the moisture and temperature are appropriate, soil on filthy items may provide enough Mold to grow. Greasy coatings on kitchen walls, for example, give a lot of nutrients for mildew-causing fungi.

Clean clothing is less prone to mildew than clothing that is dirty. Because most synthetic fibers, such as acetate, acrylic, polyester, and nylon, are mildew resistant, Mold will not develop on clean textiles made from these fibers. Even on these textiles, though, dirt may provide fuel for mildew to grow. To help avoid mildewing, properly clean all dirty fabrics, regardless of fiber type.

✔️Get rid of the moisture

Mold spores may find in the air and can settle on surfaces if there is enough moisture.

Moisture condensation from humid air onto colder surfaces is a common source of wet basements and other structures. Excessive wetness may signal the need for repairs or more insulation. Replace any cracked or broken mortar. Water seeping from cracks in the walls keeps some basements damp all the time. Make sure the drainage on the exterior is sufficient.

Apply two coats of cement paint, colored with mineral coloring if required, to weatherproof concrete and other masonry walls above ground. Waterproof coatings may be necessary to seal absorbent brick and other outside surfaces.

In crawl spaces beneath homes, spread a layer of moisture-barrier material over the dirt. Heavy roofing paper or polyethylene plastic film may use. It is critical to have enough ventilation. If at all feasible, avoid enclosing the crawl space. A fan or blower maybe require in difficult situations to transfer the damp air from under the structure.

If your clothes dryer has a vent, make sure it’s vent to the outside to remove the moisture.

✔️The air should be dry

Dehumidifiers and air conditioners The moisture content of cool air is lower than that of warm air. Air-conditioning systems that are correctly install remove moisture from the perspective by capturing warm air, chilling it (removing the humidity), and recirculating the cold, dry air back into the room. Mechanical dehumidifiers are helpful in areas that aren’t air-condition, like the basement. To regulate the humidity, a humidistat may connect to the device. Mechanical dehumidifiers, on the other hand, may generate heat in a space.

Keep windows and doors closed while using air conditioners or dehumidifiers.


Heat the home for a brief period to get rid of moisture. Then open the doors and windows to allow the wet air to escape. It may force out with the help of an exhaust fan. Continual electric light may dry the air in closets and other tiny spaces (60- to the 100-watt bulb). If the area isn’t too big, the heat will keep mildew at bay.

✔️Moisture-absorbing chemicals

Silica gel, anhydrous calcium sulfate, molecular, and sieves activated alumina may be employed to engross moisture or dampness from the air. Department shops, pharmacy stores, and hardware stores are unlikely to have these substances. Look for and analytical or scientific supply companies and industrial chemicals providers in the phone book’s yellow pages in urban regions. Contact your local MU Extension center, a high school chemistry instructor, or a college or university’s chemistry department if you live in a remote or small town. Several firms market some of these compounds under different trade names, while a single company manufactures others.

These chemicals are non-toxic to textiles and leave the material feeling dry even when saturated. Cloth bags containing the chemical should hang in closets. Alternatively, keep the container open in the cupboard – ideally on a cabinet or the floor. Make sure the door is well-sealed and maintained shut to prevent moisture from entering from the outside. Dry grains may be sprinkled throughout layers of clothes and other items to be kept in securely closed chests or trunks.

If you dry these chemicals between applications, you may use them again and again. Simply bake the granules at 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (149 to 177 degrees Celsius) for several hours in a ventilated oven. Then, to cool, place the heated granules in an airtight container. When full of moisture, silica gel and anhydrous calcium sulfate (specially prepared with a color indicator) are pink; when dry, they are blue.

Anhydrous calcium chloride

Another chemical that absorbs moisture from the air. Calcium chloride is used to melt snow on roads in certain states. Therefore your local road authority may be able to recommend providers. The chemical comes in tiny white granules that retain twice as much water as they weigh. However, when it absorbs moisture, it liquefies. As a result, do not allow this chemical to contact clothes or household fabrics; it may cause holes.

Place the granules in a primary, cup-shaped container made of a non-rusting screen or waxed cardboard (milk carton) perforated with tiny holes to utilize anhydrous calcium chloride. Support the container in an enameled pot so that the liquid drains away, and the calcium chloride may absorb additional moisture. Then put the bank in the closet, ideally on a shelf, and close and seal the door. Depending on the humidity, one pound (454 grams) of calcium chloride can last anywhere from two weeks to two months. When there is just liquid left, dump it and start again.

✔️Air should be circulated

Air movement is a great way to get rid of dampness. Ventilation enables dry air to enter, absorb excess moisture, and then be transported away when the air outside is dryer than the air within. Electric fans installed in a window, fixed in a wall, or vented to the attic may help move air from the home when natural breezes aren’t enough.

During prolonged rainy weather, poorly ventilated closets become damp and musty, and items kept in them are prone to mildew. By opening closet doors or installing a fan, you may help to increase air circulation.

Hang the garments freely to let air flow around them as well. Before placing wet clothing in the closet, make sure it is scorched (including items that have been wet from rain or sweat).

Unless the home is well-circulated, cooking, laundry, and bathing may add up to 2 gallons (7.6 liters) of water each day. It is often essential to utilize an exhaust fan.

✔️Get rid of musty smells in your home

In basements and shower stalls, musty smells, which indicate mold development, may be detected. To avoid additional unpleasant and harmful mold development, take extra measures to prevent musty smells as soon as feasible. If the space is adequately heated and dried, musty smells usually vanish. If the odors persist, the following procedures may be required:

To get rid of musty smells in basements

  1. Use chlorinated lime (also known as chloride of lime or bleaching powder).
  2. Allow this chemical to sit on the floor until all mustiness has gone.
  3. Sweep it up.

Scrub cement floors and tiled walls and bathrooms using a weak solution of sodium hypochlorite or other chlorine bleach available in grocery shops to remove mustiness. To a gallon (3.8 liters) of water, add 1/2 to 1 cup liquid household bleach. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and pat dry as soon as possible. Keep the windows open until all of the walls and floors are completely dry.

Floors and walls may also be treated with quaternary ammonium compounds (available in janitorial, dairy, and poultry supply stores). Choose a product that is registered and labeled for the application you’re planning. Not all compounds work in the same way.

There are also aerosol sprays for cleaning and sanitizing bathroom walls.

Some items and surfaces need extra attention.

✔️Mildew prevention on clothes and household textiles

Fabrics should be kept dry. Never leave damp clothes or other fabric items lying about. Before placing dirty clothes in the hamper, make sure they are dehydrated. Dishcloths should be washed and hung to dry. Towels and washcloths should be spread out. Wet shower curtains should be stretched out. The damp curtain left bunched up or stuck to the wall or tub is the most prone to mildew. Only iron as many items as you can in one day. Those that haven’t been ironed should be shaken out and dried.

Garments and textiles were completely and promptly dried. Slowly dried fabrics may have a sour, musty odor, which is a symptom of mold development.

Water-repellent sprays may help keep moisture out of clothes and home textiles, making them less vulnerable to mold development. Draperies, slipcovers, mattresses, overshoes, coats, and other outerwear should all be spray.

Low-pressure aerosol canisters are available for fungicide treatments that may spray on textiles to protect them against mildew. Mildew may protect by certain germicidal, mothproof, and water-repellent sprays. For further information, look at the container’s labels.

Wet the cloth surface sufficiently with the spray for effective mildew prevention. If the sprayed textiles aren’t stored in a seal container, they should be checked and respray regularly. See Use of pesticides, especially fungicides, for precautions.

Before storage:

  1. Make sure it’s clean.
  2. If your clothes or home textiles aren’t mildew-resistant, wash or dry clean them before storing them since dirty items are more prone to mildew than clean ones.
  3. Do not leave starch in textiles that will store unless you know your laundry starch includes a mildew inhibitor; molds thrive on starch.

Sun and air the items kept in closets from time to time on warm, dry days. It’s a good idea to check cotton, rayon, leather, and woolen clothes kept in garment bags now and again. These materials may mildew unless they are support with a mildew inhibitor. Molds thrive in a sealed bag, moist surroundings, and high summer temperatures.

Use a mildew inhibitor while storing

Certain chemicals produce vapors that prevent mold development and preserve textiles while they are store.

When used in packages, trunks, or garment bags maintained as airtight as possible, one such chemical, paradichlorobenzene, successfully prevents mildew on clothes and other items. This chemical, which is extensively suggested for moth control, is sold under various trade names in supermarkets, pharmacies, and department shops.

Spread paradichlorobenzene crystals in the folds of clothes to be packaged in boxes or suspend crystal bags at the top of garment bags to keep the heavy vapors from settling on the items to be safeguarded. For 100 cubic feet (2.8 cubic meters) of airspace, use approximately 1 pound (454 grams) of crystals, proportionally less for tiny areas. A closet with an airspace of 96 cubic feet is 3 feet deep by 4 feet wide by 8 feet high (0.9 by 1.2 by 2.4 meters) (2.7 cubic meters). Mildew protection is los when vapors escape, and the chemical must supply..

Spray cans of paradichlorobenzene are also available.

Caution: Avoid inhaling the spray. Some polymers are damage by paradichlorobenzene. As a result, instead of using plastic clothing hangers, remove plastic buttons and decorations from garments and use wooden or metal hangers. Other precautions may found in the section Pesticide Use.

Another chemical with mildew-inhibiting effects is paraformaldehyde. It’s available in powder form at pharmacies. To preserve stored clothes and bedding, use paraformaldehyde. Place the chemical bags where the vapors may circulate and reach all of the stored items’ surfaces. For every 500 cubic feet (14.16 cubic meters) of airspace, mix 3.15 ounces (89.30 grams) of real paraformaldehyde with 0.35 ounces (9.92 grams) of paradichlorobenzene (9:1 ratio). Seven hundred twenty cubic feet (20.3 cubic meters) of airspace is contained in a 9-by-10-foot chamber with an 8-foot ceiling (2.7 by three by 2.4 meters).

Mold and mildew development in a confined space may also control using low-pressure sprays containing mildew-inhibiting chemicals. The fountain must moisten the inside surfaces of the closet or storage container to be practical. Spray gaps and crevices well. Repaint as often as required.


Because the chemical in the spray is toxic, do not inhale it. Also, avoid putting the fountain near a flame. See the section “To eliminate mildew” for instructions on how to spray textiles.

✔️Mildew prevention for leather products

Low-pressure aerosol sprays with particular instructions may be used to protect leather against mildew. These aerosol sprays explicitly design for leather items may be found in shoe and luggage shops.

Test the spray on a tiny area that will not see before applying it to the item. To test whether it affects the color of the leather, try it. Follow the directions on the label to complete the therapy.


Do not inhale the spray’s mist, and do not use it near a flame. Follow all of the warnings on the can. See the section “Store with a mildew inhibitor” for more information.

Applying a proper wax treatment is another method to preserve leather items. A light layer of floor wax on the uppers and soles of shoes keeps moisture out and helps to prevent mildew. Antimildew qualities are found in certain commercially available polishes and silicone resins. Antifungicidal chemicals in certain shoe dressings, however, may stain white or light-colored leather.

Protect stored shoes, coats, bags, and other leather items with paradichlorobenzene or paraformaldehyde during hot, humid weather. (See “Store with a mildew inhibitor” for further information.) Wrap the things in packets with the chemical and seal them. If these items include any plastic, avoid using paradichlorobenzene. Wipe leather items with a solution of 3/8 ounce (11 grams) salicylanilide in 1 quart (0.95 liters) rubbing alcohol to protect them. Before putting the things away, make sure they are scorch.

✔️Mildew prevention on unpainted wood

Surface mold grows on wooden components of structures in wet, warm, and poorly ventilated environments. When possible, avoid using fresh, unseasoned timber since it is more vulnerable to mildew.

✔️Mildew prevention on painted wood

Enamel or oil-resin paint on indoor wood surfaces is seldom mildew. Outdoor characters with softer colors are more likely to mildew. Molds feed on the oil and minerals in the paint, resulting in a filthy appearance. They can penetrate the paint layer to the underlying wood.

Mildew-resistant paints for outdoor wood surfaces are available in a variety of hues at paint and hardware shops. To fight mildew, manufacturers have appropriately designed their products with fungicides.

Mildew-resistant paints should not be used on window sills, playpens, beds, or toys because if eaten, they may cause damage to young children.

✔️Mildew prevention on paper and books

To help prevent mold development in wet summer weather:

  1. Keep papers and books as dry as possible.
  2. If you have an enclosed bookshelf, keep a tiny electric light on all the time or use a chemical dehumidifier while closing the doors as firmly as possible.
  3. In the closed bookcase, hang a bag of paradichlorobenzene or paraformaldehyde.

Alternatively, paraformaldehyde may use to dust books and papers before packaging and sealing them.

Caution: Paraformaldehyde is a toxic substance that may cause severe irritation in certain people. Inhale the vapors as little as possible.

Wipe books with a towel dampened with a solution of 3/8 ounce (11 grams) salicylanilide in 1 quart (0.95 liters) rubbing alcohol to protect them. To protect paper goods from mildew, employ low-pressure sprays containing a fungicide. Repaint them regularly unless they’re store in sealed containers.

The bottom line on mildew odor removal

The best part about getting rid of the mildew smell is that you probably already have everything you need. With a bit of bleach and perseverance, your house will be smelling fresh and free of musty odors in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Mold and mildew have a distinct odor?

A: Mold and mildew have a moist, musty, and unpleasant stench, similar to wet socks or decaying wood. To put it another way, it’s not nice.

Q: Is a musty odor necessarily a sign of Mold?

A: Yes, in a lot of instances. A musty odor suggests that Mold or mildew is developing on or inside areas of your house where moisture is prevalent. The sooner you identify and remove the cause of the odor, the better for your home and health.

Q: When should I call a professional to deal with a mildew issue?

A: It’s better to contact a cleaning professional to eliminate the mildew if you have breathing issues. If the mildew odor is coming from your HVAC systems, such as your furnace, humidifier, or air conditioner, it’s also a good idea to contact a specialist. If there’s a problem with your HVAC system, don’t switch on the air conditioning since it may spread mold spores throughout your home.

Q: Is there a harmless method to get rid of mildew?

Baking soda is a harmless mildew remover that is also safe to use around children and pets. Baking soda not only kills Mold but also absorbs moisture and prevents mildew from growing.

Q: Is it possible to eliminate the mildew odor?

A: You ought to be able to do it! The technique described above combines vinegar (a natural disinfectant) and baking soda (a natural odor neutralizer) to cure mildew’s stench as well as its underlying cause.

Q: Is it preferable to get rid of mildew using bleach?

A: Although bleach is more potent than natural methods for removing mildew odors, it isn’t always required. Vinegar and baking soda are typically plenty, and they’re also an excellent option if you have children or pets.

Q: Is a musty odor usually indicative of mildew?

A: Not all of the time. Mold may also have a musty odor, although Mold smells much harsher than mildew.

Q: Is mildew ever going to go gone by itself?

A: Mildew and mold-causing spores are constantly present in our houses. This implies that the issue may resurface whenever the conditions are favorable. So, although you may clean and eliminate mildew in your house quickly and successfully, there’s no assurance that you won’t see (or smell) it again if the circumstances are perfect.