Dealing with musty basements is never fun. This is the reason why we usually ignore the problem. Lots of people don’t think about the problem until the seasonable weather changes, may be because the change in weather makes us notice more things, or due to the change in moisture level that we experience. However, the best point is that whatever the reason, in fact it is surprisingly easy to deal with musty basements. Remember that besides being unpleasant, mold can cause a lot of health problems, especially to those allergic to the spores. Additionally, anything stored in the basement can mildew and become irreversibly damaged, including textiles, clothing, furniture, art, photographs, books and luggage.
How to deal with your musty basement?
- General cleanup. Go through your basement and clean everything up. When something smells bad, it simply needs cleaning and removing the decaying items. You will probably go a long way until finally removing the musty odors you have in the basement. This means that you’ll have to clean every little thing in the space, from ceiling to carpeting. Take time to use a carpet cleaner in order to get it clean. Also clean any upholstery on the furniture, drapes and any fabric in the basement. Remove garbage cans and thoroughly clean them out (scrub them). Remove clothing or other things that absorb moisture. And don’t forget to use products that will eliminate mildew and mold from your home like borax, vinegar or bleach. These will help to control odor.
- Clean the dryer vent. Start from outside where it exits, then follow it down into your house to the base of dryer. Blocked dryer vents easily allow moisture inwards. If the dryer is in the basement of your house, this might be the original odors’ source to start with. Gnawers can take up residence in the vent due to the warm temperatures and lint that makes a nest there.
- Moisture inspection. Look around for leaks and make sure there is no condensation forming on the ceiling and walls. See if there are any leaks from pipes. The primary cause for musty smell is mold, as it loves to grow in dark humid places, such as the basement. If you suspect that the beams or the foundation of your home have gotten damaged or wet, make sure by asking for professional help. Weakened structures often cause odor in the home and are quite dangerous.
- Dehumidifiers. As we said above, the single largest cause for musty basements comes from moisture as it boosts mold growth. A great way to deal with it is by using a dehumidifier. This will remove excess moisture in your basement, and help prevent mold’s growth.
- Windows. Take time to check the windows when you are cleaning the basement. Make sure they are properly sealed to prevent any moisture from soaking into the basement. Look at the caulk around the window. Caulking should be springy to the touch and firm. If it’s flaky, brittle and hard, it is time to re-caulk your windows. Clean the windows to allow some more natural light into the basement – sunlight kills mold. Also remember to open the window frequently, so to give the space a good air. Air fresheners and deodorizers make it smell better, but their effect is just a temporary mask.
- While some would like to think it is only an odor problem, a musty basement is usually indicative of potentially larger problems. If ignored, musty basements can end up costing you thousands to repair. For whatever reason, when you notice the odor, you have to begin dealing with it.