That musty smell associated with mildew definitely ranks high on the list of the worst odors that can be found in your home. It’s a common one, too, hiding in damp corners and dark spaces. But here’s the good news: you can totally eliminate mold and mildew odors with just a few household items.
There’s not a quick fix for getting rid of mildew odors. It might be a long road before the smell is completely gone. But despite not being an overnight solution, it is a pretty simple one. A few common household items are all you should need. As long as you are persistent about eradicating the odor, the first step (and the most difficult one) is locating it.
This may seem like an odd suggestion, but it’s the best way to sniff out the source of those moldy smells: follow your nose. Before you can get rid of them, you need to find out where they are coming from. You’ll also need a clear line of sight to any of those places where mold and mildew like to hide, so remove any items that might get in the way of your search. Pack up toiletries and other sundry items, take down your shower curtain, and box up any junk in the basement or attic. Once you’ve got a clear view of your surfaces, pay close attention to any areas that are vulnerable to moisture, such as pipes in the basement or grout lines in the bathroom or kitchen.
Get yourself a large bucket and mix fours parts water to one part bleach. This is your magic weapon against any mildew that you manage to find. If you can locate the source, you might be able to get away with simply spot treating the area. If not (or if you just want to be extra thorough), you’ll need to give the whole room a good bleaching. Whether you’re doing the whole room or just the problem spots, scrub well and remember to rinse off any bleach residue with clear water to finish off.
Is the mildew smell still hanging around even after you’ve scrubbed every floor and wall in your home? It could be that the odor is actually coming from some of your fabrics, like old blankets or towels. Get yourself some all-fabric bleach and soak any questionable fabrics for at least 30 minutes. When the time is up, rinse everything well and then run it through the wash on your normal settings. This method can be used to freshen your fabrics any time, so you may want to do it even if you don’t think they are the source of your mildew problem.
Once you’ve finally gotten rid of those awful odors, the next step is to make sure they don’t come back. Charcoal, cat litter, and baking soda all work well to absorb odors and are great for ongoing defense. Get yourself a large container and fill it with one of these odor absorbers about half way. Leave it in any room where you are concerned about mildew smells, and replace it once a month. You can help problem areas stay dry by using your ceiling fans or installing a dehumidifier to keep mildew from being able to grow.