Dealing with Musty Basements
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated April 10, 2020)
Dealing with musty basements, while never fun, is always preferable to simply ignoring the problem. Surprisingly though, many of us don't think about this problem until the weather begins to change. It could be simply due to the fact that the change in the weather leads us to notice more things, or it could be because of the change in the moisture levels that we experience. Whatever the reason, dealing with musty basements is actually surprisingly easy.
- General cleanup. Simply going through your basement and cleaning everything up can go a long way to removing any musty odors that you have in your basement. What this means is that you will want to clean everything from the ceiling to the carpeting. If you have any carpeting, be sure that you take time to actually use a carpet cleaner to get it nice and clean. Clean any upholstery on your furniture, any drapes, and simply any fabric in your basement. Remove all garbage cans in your basement, and clean them out thoroughly (that means scrub them).
- Moisture inspection. While you are cleaning your basement, take time to look around for potential leaks. Check to see if there is any condensation forming on the walls and ceiling. Make sure that there are no leaks from any pipes, and so on. The single largest cause for that musty smell is mold, which loves to grow in dank (moist) dark places, such as the basement.
- Windows. When cleaning your basement, also take time to check your windows. Make sure that they are sealed properly to prevent any moisture from seeping through and into the basement. Check this by looking at the caulking around the window. The caulking should be firm and springy to the touch. If it is not, or if it is hard, brittle, and flaky, then it is time to re-caulk the windows. Since you are working on the windows anyway, now would be the perfect time to clean those windows. This way you can allow a little more natural light into the home.
- Dehumidifiers. As was stated earlier, the single largest cause for sour, musty smells comes from moisture which promotes mold growth. A fantastic way to combat this is through the use of a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier will remove any excess moisture in the room, and help prevent the growth of any mold. Remember, no mold, no odor.
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