Your home is supposed to be your oasis. It should be the place you love coming home to at the end of a long day. It’s the place where you can relax and unwind – at least, it would be in a perfect world.
But what about when you’re trying to relax in your home and you suddenly smell something a bit… stale.
No one wants to deal with mold in their home, but it happens!
When you recognize that mold smell, don’t panic! There are some easy solutions you can use to rid your home of mold and the musty odor it brings!
Why does my home smell like mold?
The reason your home smells like mildew or mold is because it is likely there are spores floating around in the air. Your home’s ventilation system could be causing a little bit of humidity to get trapped inside, which breeds these moldy smells.
(The humidity levels or lack of ventilation don’t necessarily cause musty smells, but they can definitely make them worse!)
These mold spores can grow anywhere, but they tend to grow most often in places with less traffic (like a closet or basement) or extra moisture (like a bathroom or under the sink in the kitchen).
You might think that mold and musty odors only happen in old homes, but they can grow even in new houses and buildings. Mold just needs darkness, air, moisture, and warmth to grow.
So, if you have begun to smell mold in your home, how do you get rid of it?
Don’t worry – there are a few ways you can get rid of that musty smell quickly and easily!
How to Get Rid of Mold Smell in Your Home
The first step to getting rid of that mildew odor is finding the source. Scour your home for any evidence of rotting wood or mold growth.
You might have hidden places where you can’t see it, but if there’s a damp or wet area, chances are good there could be some mold hiding out.
If you have a great sense of smell, you should be able to follow any moldy odors to track it down.
Where to Check for Mold and Mildew
If you’re looking for any mold and mildew in your home and can’t seem to track down the exact source of those musty odors, here are a few spots you can check.
- Look for any water leaks. You make have water leaks or small puddles under the sinks in your bathrooms or kitchen that have allowed mold to grow.
- Likewise, check your shower! A shower or tub with cracks in the tub caulking could be causing the problem.
- Check and clean your garbage disposal and dishwasher filter.
- Laundry rooms can also be a culprit of that dreaded mildew smell. Make sure no mold is growing in your washing machine! This is especially likely if your washing machine has trouble drying out after a cycle.
- Look in your closets or basement. Check for any areas that are dark, warm, and humid.
- Check your air filters – they may need to be replaced to get fresh air flowing again!
Once you find the affected area, there are a few ways to get rid of that mildew problem. I’ll get to those in a second, but first, I want to go over some safety precautions.
Precautions to Take When Removing Mold
Is mildew dangerous?
People who are dealing with serious mold contamination may get sick, but generally speaking, you don’t have to worry about mildew.
However, it is still a bit of a health risk. So, to stay as safe and healthy as possible when getting rid of mold, it’s a good idea to wear protective gear.
Wear a face mask and protective glasses, if possible, to avoid breathing in the mold spores or getting eye irritation. (Fighting mold, especially when you’re using cleaning products with chlorine bleach, baking soda, or other chemical compounds, can cause eye inflammation. Protective glasses may seem silly, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!)
Wear rubber gloves to prevent skin irritation and try to ventilate the area as much as possible. If the room you’re in has doors or windows – make sure they are open!
If you have an HVAC system (like a heating unit or air conditioning), turn it off or seal it. Mold spores could easily try to escape your elbow grease and hide in the system, only to return to the affected area after you leave.
Once you’re done cleaning, throw out your face mask and gloves, and make sure you thoroughly clean your protective glasses and other gear.
When you’re trying to remove mold, you want to make sure you’re not getting yourself sick in the process!
3 Ways to Get Rid of the Mold and Mildew in your Home
There are lots of ways to get rid of that gross musty odor that mold brings.
Try these methods to make sure your home is smelling fresh again!
1. Use cleaning supplies like bleach
One way to remove mildew is to use store-bought cleaning supplies like bleach.
This will get rid of most mold and mildew in your home, but you might need to use a stronger product if the musty smells remain after a few hours or days.
This method is probably the quickest because you can just buy the product off the shelf and use it immediately.
Bleach is really harsh on surfaces so be careful when using it and make sure you don’t leaven behind any bleach residue as well!
Wear protective gear to avoid irritating your skin and eyes when using it.
2. Use at-home remedies
If you don’t want to use a strong chemical like bleach, there are some at-home remedies you can try to get rid of those mold smells.
Some DIY mold removal methods are:
Vinegar and baking soda
Mix equal parts baking soda with water to get a thick paste, and then apply it onto the moldy area.
After 15 minutes or so, wipe off any excess liquid using a cloth that you will be throwing away after this project is complete.
You can also try another method with vinegar and baking soda where you mix equal parts (like one teaspoon of each) and add that mixture into a spray bottle.
Fill the rest with warm water and use your baking soda solution as a spray instead of a paste.
Distilled white vinegar
Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar. You can mix the vinegar with warm water to dilute it a bit if you’d like.
Spray the mold and let it sit for several hours. Then soak an abrasive sponge in hot water before dipping it into baking soda.
Use the sponge to scrub off the area. Make sure to completely dry the area you’ve cleaned when you’re finished.
Some essential oils can be used to remove mildew. Tea tree oil is a big one!
Mix a few drops of the oil (close to one teaspoon) with one cup of warm water. Spray the mixture over the mold and let it soak for 20 minutes before scrubbing it.
You can also use a diffuser to diffuse it in the air. Diffusing the oil can be a great way to prevent mold as it can help kill mold spores as they grow and remove the moldy smell or odor.
Other essential oils that are effective against mold, musty odor, and mildew smells are clove, geranium, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and peppermint.
3. Get an ozone generator
An ozone generator is a great way to get rid of mold and get your air fresh again. Basically, it is a machine that can remove pollutants and odors from your home or vehicle.
I highly recommend using an ozone generator as it can help you get rid of the problem for good! Ozone generators can kill bacteria and therefore eliminate the mold smell. They even use ozone generators in surgical rooms to help sanitize the space and the air.
With this super powerful machine, you’ll be able to put your worries aside because it eliminates that bacteria.
Make sure you closely follow instructions on an ozone generator though! For most machines, you’ll turn them on and leave them in an empty room to work. They also work great for cars! This is what dealerships use to get rid of cigarette smell in a smoker’s car.
You don’t want to be in there while it’s working because strong ozone generators can sometimes cause respiratory issues.
How to Prevent Mold from Coming Back
Now that you’ve gotten rid of any musty smells in your home and removed the mold, it’s important to learn how to stop the mold from coming back.
Mold prevention is the best way to get rid of the smell for good. Deep clean your house often to keep on top of it.
If you’re noticing any mold coming back, it’s probably because there is moisture somewhere causing the problem again.
You’ll need to get down and dirty so you can check your crawl space or basement for signs of water damage or leaks in pipes underneath your home that could be creating another moldy area.
Make sure you have proper ventilation in your home to help air out any areas that smell bad. You want to make sure the air isn’t getting stagnant, especially in humid weather, so make sure your home has fresh air.
Weather permitting, open up windows and doors when you can to keep fresh air flowing. This will also help remove a bad odor.
Be thorough in the drying process. Use towels that absorb moisture and make sure surfaces in your home (like showers, sinks, or kitchen counters) are completely dry. Remove moisture so there aren’t any damp areas that could cause mold growth.
Mold is more common than you might think, but if you keep your house clean and dry, you can definitely keep it at bay!