You just got home from work. You’re super tired and all you ever want is some time to relax, have some delicious dinner and watch TV. But as soon as you open the door, all that welcomed you is that stale, damp, stuffy, musty odor! It’s been lingering for some time now and no matter how much cleaning you do, the musty smell never disappears. What can you do?
First of all, it helps knowing why your home smells musty in the first place.
One common reason is the presence of mold or mildew. Both of these are fungi that grow in warm, damp environments. Mold and mildew can cause serious health problems in your family and can greatly damage your home. You might wonder though – how come these nasty microorganisms thrive in your home? How did they manage to enter your private space in the first place?
Mold and mildew get a foothold in your home because of moisture which is brought about by a number of reasons, such as high interior humidity, roof and foundation leaks, plumbing problems, and severe forms of flooding, among others. Mold and mildew are different but they both are dangerous to your property.
They could chomp away at things you don’t want them to, such as your expensive rugs, carpets and linens, your precious furniture, and even your walls and floors (which surely cost you thousands of dollars). Worse, these unwanted visitors can cause your family to get sick. Exposure to mold and mildew has been shown to trigger respiratory problems, asthma, throat irritation, and other health problems.
Take note that mold and mildew aren’t the only causes of a musty smell. VOCs, water damage, pet odors, and chemicals from carpets and furniture may also contribute to the musty smell in your home.
Watch out for signs of water damage
Moisture is the major source of the musty odor. It is helpful to contact water damage specialists who will conduct a thorough inspection of your home. Leaks are the main source of moisture inside your home. Check for leaks in the roof, pipes, and plumbing system, as well as seepage in your basement. Inspect exterior walls for signs of water damage. Check the base of your washing machine too. Many front load washers retain a little amount of water in the base. Over time, accumulated water grows bacteria which causes a musty smell. Inspect your attic, bathroom, kitchen, and the garage. These areas usually have higher moisture levels than other parts of your home.
Fix leaks and moisture
Once you found the source of moisture, have it fixed. While you can fix most leak issues on your own, you may need help from a professional home improvement contractor to fix major water damage. Once fixed, the affected area has to be cleaned and dried as there’s a big chance that mold, mildew, and bacteria have grown on those wet surfaces.
You can clean mold using some household cleaners such as bleach, ammonia, detergent or borax. You can also use natural cleaners like vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and tea tree oil. Always wear gloves and mask when cleaning mold spores to protect yourself from the possible health risks. For severe mold infestation (especially black mold), better seek professional help as it can be very dangerous.
High humidity in your home makes it a perfect place for mold to grow. You must maintain the humidity levels in your home below 60% (30-50% if possible). A dehumidifier is a great tool for monitoring and maintaining indoor humidity. Dehumidifiers work like air conditioners. It draws in warm, moist air and then condenses it. These devices are inexpensive and worth adding to your home.
Ventilate your home
Once your home is free from water damage, you need to ventilate it as often as possible by opening windows or turning on fans. Ventilation is a great way to get rid of a mold smell in houses and enclosed spaces and prevent this hazardous microorganism from coming back. Additionally, a natural odor absorber like activated charcoal or baking soda helps keep your indoor air fresh.
No one wants to come home to a musty, stuffy house. By taking these steps, you can eliminate musty smell in your home and keep your indoor air fresh and clean all the time.