Informational Guide

How to Remove Musty Smell From a House

We show you how to easily get rid of horrible musty smells in your home.

by Dmitri Kara

A basement-musty-type smell hits you every time you come home?

Damp odors tend to come with damp environments. They may seem a hurdle to neutralize, but there are several tricks you can do to fight them back.

Musty Windows

Following tips will rid your house from the musty smell for good. Let’s cut to the chase and help you freshen things up.

Banishing musty odors in your house? The best long-term solution is to remove the source rather than covering up the outcome.

Musty odors have a bunch of different causes – from a damp environment to food leftovers and everything in between those two.

So if you wonder where to start the damp odor battle from, do a thorough search. Sniff around the house and indicate the stench causer.

Find out if the musty smell emanates through the whole place, or isolated to one room.

Stored for a long time in a confined space, items like leather goods and sports equipment can generate a nasty and hard to remove moldy smell. So, keep your eyes open for such potential sources.

If the odor emits from several areas of the property or interconnected hallways, bad news is coming your way. The issue may have something to do with the structure of the house and it being prone to mold and mildew due to either plumbing or ceiling leaks.

In a pinch, to eliminate the musty smell in your house, identify the source of dampness first.

Let Some Fresh Air IN

Damp and stale odors often occur in homes with poor ventilation and high accumulation of dust. So your first move would be to allow the reeks to leave.

Plants and Fresh Air

Have all doors and windows wide open and let fresh, circulating air come in. Roll up your blinds as well and let the bright sunlight shine in.

Direct daylight is an unbeatable natural musty odor killer. Why? Read on and you’ll find out.

Refresh Carpet and Rugs

Whenever fabrics get wet in a dark place and stay that way for a while, they inevitably attract mold. Hence, if a house is prone to dampness and mold growth, floor coverings often bear the full brunt.

On the bright side, banishing damp odors from carpets and rugs is relatively simple.

One of the greenest, most effective and gentle ways to eliminate musty smell in your house is to harness the power of sunlight. Sunbeams’ UV rays act as strong antibacterial agents and kill mold and mildew spores and odor-causing microbes in a matter of minutes.

  • Choose a day with a sunny and dry forecast and get prepared the night before.
  • Vacuum the musty-smelling carpet thoroughly and roll it up.
  • Wait for the dew to evaporate in the early morning and hang the piece on a clothesline.
  • Find the perfect spot for it to soak up maximum sunlight all day.
  • Flip the carpet over to expose the backside to stave off excessive fading of the dye.

Hint: Try this method on carpets and rugs with distinctive damp odor. Consider getting rid of pieces that have mold and mildew growing on them.

Tackle Furniture Odors With Baking Soda

Musty smell lingers within your house? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but upholstered furniture might be among the culprits.

Soft materials absorb ambient moisture. That causes mold to grow, accompanied by the common with damp environments’ basement-like smell.

Furnitures in Living Room

While homeowners give their best coping with damp, it takes time for the moisture deep inside the furniture to migrate out.

Long set-in damp affects not only furniture’s padding and covering. It also causes the frame, usually made of wood, to rot.

Worst-case scenario, your beloved couch needs to go. For slightly affected pieces, however, baking soda comes to the rescue. Follow this smart trick and kick that musty smell out of your furniture for good:

  1. Sprinkle the entire piece with a good heap of baking soda.
  2. Work the upholstery fibers with a damp sponge.
  3. Let the soda work and dry completely.
  4. Finally, vacuum the couch thoroughly with the brush-attachment on.

The absorbent properties of baking soda work together as nature’s odor deterrent. It soaks excess moisture, neutralizes musty odors, and leaves the piece much fresher and revived.

Dust-Off the Entire House

Dust is a common source of an unpleasant musty smell. It collects an amalgam of odors and spreads them all over the place.

What’s worse, airborne dust particles deteriorate air quality and harm human health. From skin rashes to allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases, household dust is often the cause.

Don’t hold up. Grab your preferred dusting tool and purge the place top to bottom.

Monitor following often neglected areas:

  • Furniture – over, under, inside and behind;
  • Door frames, baseboards, and corners;
  • Light fixtures, ceiling fans, and vents;
  • Areas under floor coverings.

Dusting is a task required regularly. According to deep cleaning professionals from Fantastic Tenancy Cleaners, if you struggle to keep up with ongoing cleaning routines, you might have to resolve to get expert help. Schedule a professional deep cleaning session and let the specialists complete the tedious chores for you.

Craft Natural Odor Neutralizers

A quick way to remove musty odors is by use of natural neutralizers. Here are some tried and tested recipes to choose from:

Boil Lemons or Lemon Peels

Once the scent of lemons builds up, take the freshly boiled mixture off the stove and place it in your room of choice. Leave the pot open so that the steam and lemony fragrance fills up the place.

After a few hours, load the already cooled-off solution in a spray bottle and spritz around the place.


Absorb Damp Smell with Charcoal

Just like charcoal water filters, coal briquettes have absorbent properties. And thanks to them, they can soak up any funky odors floating in a house.

To rid your home from musty odors with charcoal, fill a jar with briquettes and leave it near the source of the smell. You can also stuff old socks with charcoal and hang them out of sight.

As briquettes absorb unpleasant mustiness, consider replacing them once every two weeks.

Overpower Musty Odors with Coffee Grounds

Had your morning cup of coffee?

Save the wet ground and craft powerful odor remover. Rather than intense caffeine kicks, coffee grounds make a strong remedy for damp smells.

Scatter the grounds on a thin layer over a sheet of parchment paper and bake them dry in a 250-degree oven.

To banish musty odors, pour coffee in empty jars and locate them where those are present.

Let the grounds work their best for a week and next time you come back home, you won’t face that familiar damp odor.

Opt for Air Purifier

Damp smell is a major concern, and you wonder how to remove it? Look for an air purifier, geared towards removal of mold spores. Besides reducing mold exposure within your home, the device will clear the air of toxins.

But remember, an air purifier is not a magic cure, comments Fresh Air Guide. To remove musty smell in your home once and for all, you must obtain the perfect synergy effect between a strict cleaning routine, regular mold and mildew checkup.

In Conclusion

Now that musty smell is not a struggle anymore, try to maintain clean and fresh air at home. Check these Home Air Quality Test Kits and learn how to keep your place safe from air pollutants.

Last Updated on July 16, 2021

Dmitri Kara

Started writing as a jack of all trades in 2012 and is currently a recognized expert in a wide range of domestic and commercial trade topics. Dmitri has appeared for quite a few reputable outlets such as,,,,, and many more.