You might think it is normal for basements to have a musty smell. Considering it is located below the house within a close approximation of the earth, we conclude it is a common occurrence right?
There might be some truth that basements equate to musty smells from strong to light, depending on the situation due to less air and light. The bad-smelling basement doesn’t mean that you leave it at that. In this guide, we show you the ways how you can remove unpleasant smells from the basement.
Table of Contents
- Sources a Basement Musty Smell
- How to Get Rid of Basement Musty Smells
- 1. Avoid Moisture, and Make Your Basement Dry
- 2. Remove or Clean Moldy, or Damp Rotted Materials
- 3. Hire a Junk Removal Company to Haul Away the Materials
- 4. Hire a Pest Control Company
- 5. Scrape the Iron Ochre
- 6. Inspect and Repair The Pipes
Sources a Basement Musty Smell
The basement has that distinct smell from the other parts of the house. There are different factors to the smell of the basement. Understanding the cause of the smell is crucial in solving the problem of the musty smells in your basement.
Basement smells can vary from rotten wood, earthy smell, wet socks, wet dog, and mushrooms with an added sharp and tangy odor that marks that distinct smell of the basement.
1. Musty Smell from Mold
One of the common, and main factors of basement smells come from mold and mildew. These fungi can grow and thrive from oxygen, water, and food.
You can identify if you have mold within your basement with its thick, high, moss-like, and fuzzy appearance. While mold has that distinct thick and moss-like appearance, mildew can be identified with its flat appearance.
Mold has a color ranging from dark green, to gray and black. You can identify if you have mildew with its brown or grayish appearance that eventually turns to white powder.
2. Possible Sources of Basement Smell Other Than Mold
There are also other factors for the unpleasant smell of your basement apart from mold and mildew.
There can be a possibility of sewage pipes emitting the unpleasant odor of your basement. These pipes commonly run through the basement, before continue flowing outside. Sewage pipes can cause spills due to improperly fitted pipes which as a result, contributes to the moisture of the basement from which molds also thrive.
Damp materials from wood, drywall, Rockwool insulation, and fiberglass can add to the basement’s unpleasant smell, especially when they are wet and has no other means of drying out.
There is a high chance of the basement being infested by rodents. Rat waste or feces can contribute to the foul smell in the basement. Aside from the smell, this can potentially spread diseases from salmonella and hantavirus.
Iron Ochre or Iron Bacteria
Iron Ochre or Iron bacteria adds up a sort of rotten-egg smell to the basement. Iron ochre can be identified through its wet and muddy reddish-brown material.
How to Get Rid of Basement Musty Smells
The focus in removing the unpleasant smell of the basement is to eradicate mold/mildew. The mold/mildew comprises a major factor in the musty smells of the basement. If you deal with this factor, you have tackled a huge chunk of percentage from the musty smells of the basement.
Here are 6 steps to get rid of basement musty smells.
1. Avoid Moisture, and Make Your Basement Dry
Make your basement as dry as possible to avoid having moisture within it, to avoid encouraging more mold in your basement. Manage the water exterior of the basement by stopping the water even before it reaches the basement.
Here are the options you can take to avoid moisture in the exterior of your basement.
- One way is to build a slope—to have the soil next to the house pitched down and away from it.
- Build a drainage system that lets the water flow away from the house.
- Setup a window well covers to protect your basement windows.
- Apply a solid membrane on the foundation wall for waterproofing and dampproof purposes.
- Fix the drainpipes to prevent moisture from coming into the basement.
Here are the options you can take to avoid moisture in the interior of your basement.
- Apply ready-mix waterproof coatings on the insides of the foundation.
- Install a sump pump within the basement.
- Install dehumidifiers for your basement.
2. Remove or Clean Moldy, or Damp Rotted Materials
Once you have dealt with making your basement as dry as possible, proceed in cleaning or replacing the moldy, mildew, and damp materials within the basement.
Sort out and remove all the damp materials in the basement and have them dried. Clean and replace these materials to avoid mold from thriving within the basement. If possible, have these materials removed from the basement.
Inspect the hard floorings of the basement, such as—laminate and vinyl flooring, as these floorings can be pulled off and dried. If there is the possibility of these floorings being waterlogged, then immediately replace them.
Remove the carpeting and padding to examine the bottom. If there are circular spots, then this is an indication of mildew within the basement. Black mold can also thrive in this area as dark stains.
3. Hire a Junk Removal Company to Haul Away the Materials
Removing the carpeting and other materials within the basement can be difficult and laborious. If you need help getting more space within the basement, consider hiring a junk removal company to help you haul away all the materials and junk you need to dispose of.
A professional junk removal team will help you with the junk removal process from start to finish. The junk removal team will be the ones to haul away the materials/junk in the basement to their trucks and drive them to dispose of the materials/junk to the appropriate areas.
Once you regain the space from all the materials/junk in the basement, it will be much easier to work on cleaning the basement.
4. Hire a Pest Control Company
Rat infestation is one of the contributors to having an unpleasant smell in your basement. To deal with this problem, consider hiring a pest control company to eradicate the rat infestation within the basement. Pest control services return regularly to assess and treat the situation in your basement.
5. Scrape the Iron Ochre
To deal with those muddy red-brown iron bacteria, You will need some equipment to deal with this issue. Grab a waterproof glove, rust remover, and putty knife.
Wear your waterproof gloves and scrape the iron ochre using your putty knife. Scrape off large portions of the muddy iron ochre, and once you have scraped the iron off, proceed in applying the rust remover to the affected area.
It might not entirely remove all the colored stains of the affected area. However, this will surely deal with the unpleasant odor of the iron ochre.
6. Inspect and Repair The Pipes
Inspect the pipes within your house. There are possibilities of hidden pipes running through the ceilings, which can leak through the drywall. As much as possible, consider hiring a local plumber within the area to help you assess the pipe leaks and the solutions around them.