How to Get Musty Smell Out of Basement

When items sit in storage for many years, a musty odor is likely to develop.  Similarly, basements soon develop a smell of cobwebs and mothballs when used to store things.   As the items continue to age and deteriorate within the confines of this underground space, the aroma often heightens and becomes increasingly off-putting.


As people seek to restore their basement, they are faced with the dilemma of how they are to move this aged odor out .  By utilizing many of the provided tips within this guide, you will be able to identify specific problems and take needed action in eliminating this uninvited odor.


Basement Odor Suggestions

These following tips will help remove the musty smells from your basement.


1 Check for Puddles and Leaks

Musty odors within basements are often caused by stagnant puddles or pipe leaks.  Be sure to survey the basement to ensure that water does not exist within this space.  When a moist environment is joined with stale air and no sunlight musty odors are sure to follow.


2 Open Windows

Providing a fresh stream of air within a basement freshens the air and removes stagnant mold spore from the air.  Leave the window for 2-3 days in a row for the items within the space to properly aerate from the space.


3 Run a Dehumidifier

A sure fire way to eliminate the presence of musty odors is to evaporate all of the moisture from the basement.  By regularly running a dehumidifier within the basement, the mold spore that create the musty smell will not have a chance to take hold of the space.


4 White Vinegar

Undoubted, white vinegar is the best household solution for removing musty odors from a basement.  The chemical compound work to first kill the mold spore and then neutralize the odor.  If there is a minor odor, mix a solution of one part white vinegar and three part water and pour within a spray bottle.  Spray down the entire space including items in storage, flooring, walls and ceiling.  Finally open window to allow for evaporation.  If you are dealing with a stronger odor, use this solution to scrub down the flooring, walls and ceiling to ensure that it does not return.


5 Sprinkle Baking Soda

This is another household ingredient that can be very helpful in absorbing unwanted musty odors.  Sprinkle baking soda across flooring and contents of basement and allow to site for 24-48 hours.  After this time has passed, return to vacuum this powder up.


6 Spray Febreze

As a quick solution Febreze can be effective at freshening items within the basement which have grown a musty odor.  Heavily spray item down from all angles and provide 15-30 minutes for the the item to air dry.


Joe Fresh


Joe is an odor combatant, chemistry extraordinaire and all around good guy. He has an over-productive olfactory system with absolutely zero tolerance for unpleasant aromas.

5 responses to How to Get Musty Smell Out of Basement

  1. My basement has been incredibly musty due to the last tenants who were in the building. I have a feeling that they always kept all of the windows shut that prevented light from getting within. Also, we noticed that the washer had a very small and leak within it that could be adding to the mildew growth within the space. Overall, we fixed these problem once we moved in and also ran a dehumidifier and were successful at getting rid of the odor! Yay! -Jane

  2. Similarly, I have fix leaks mopped down with white vinegar and have only had some success. The real turning point for me was running a box fan down there 24/7 to sweep out all of the moisture and make sure things didn’t get stagnant. Also, I’m pretty sure that the basement is less musty because I also allow as much sun in as possible. Danny-Boy-Out

  3. I would really recommend professional help from someone that know what they are doing. MOLD IS DANGEROUS! An environmental inspector will tell you all that needs to be done to get rid of the odor and bring it up to code. This can often be a bit expensive costing around a few hundred dollars, but I believe that it is well worth it for the peace of mind that it delivers. =)

  4. Lots of us cannot afford professional help. We wouldn’t be scanning the web looking for solutions if we could? I have been able to get rid of most of the musty smell within my basement by doing the following:

    1) Place bowls of vinegar around the basement.

    2) Opening the windows during the day.

    3) Fixed a small leak within the basement faucet. This took 5 minutes but made a huge impact on the space.

    I am considering renting an ozone machine for the space, but they cqn also be really pricey. Overall, I just want this area to be a safe space for my children and husband. =/

  5. We moved in a recently renovated house that has a nasty mildew odor. We have a 6 month old baby who we are terrified that it might negatively affect. Does anyone tell me how harmful mold odor can be to your health?

    Our landlord told us not to worry about it and to just run the dehumidifiers that were provided with the house. His rational for providing these was that the machines would effectively reduce the smell from the previous water leak that had existed within the basement

    Overall, I am worried. The smell is horrible within the basement, and even present within the upstairs living space. I am thinking that I may call an environmental inspector to check on it. Need to place the family first!

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