Updated at: 27-05-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

Remove mildew smell from old house by cleaning thoroughly and allowing fresh air into the room. This is the only way to get rid of the musty odor. Because things will become messy, you’ll need a stomach for it and a face mask to protect your skin.

What Causes The Musty Smell?

Think twice before inhaling the musty odor that permeates the air. You need to know how to spot mildew if it is forming somewhere in your home.

Black or white mildew is the most common form of the disease. It has a strong odor that is reminiscent of rotting wood.

How to Get Rid of Musty Smell in Your Home - Damage Buddy

Molds are another term commonly used to describe it. Check out this guide on “how does water mold multiply” if you’d want to learn more about molds.

Moisture and lack of ventilation are ideal conditions for the growth of mildew. If your ancient house is starting to smell like rotten wood, it’s time to check for mold and mildew growth on the surfaces that aren’t readily visible.

Getting Rid Of Mildew Smell In Old House

Not only can mildew damage an ancient house, but it may also be harmful to your health and the health of those in close proximity. Inhaling that musty mildew odor for an extended period of time can cause or worsen respiratory health concerns.

Is your home dingy, stale, and full of leaks? It’s imperative that you address the mildew infestation as soon as you see it to avoid it getting worse.

Step #1. Locate the source and open up

Look for signs of mildew growth in your old house. Water leaks are most likely to occur in your bathroom and kitchen, so you should do a thorough check there.

Look up in the attic, basement, or garage because they don’t get nearly as much natural light as the rest of the house. Mold thrives in dark places, especially those that don’t get a lot of traffic.

Even if you’ve already searched these areas, you may want to check the living room and the bedroom as well. It’s possible to spread the musty scent across a home even if a moist towel is left under couches and mattresses.

Open the windows and doors to let the musty air out and let in some fresh air once you’ve found and eliminated the source of the odor. Electric fans can be helpful if the smell is too overpowering.

Step #2. Let it dry

The first step in drying a room is to open the doors and windows and switch on the electric fan. Sunlight is a good disinfectant in addition to removing moisture from the skin.

In addition to an electric fan, a dehumidifier should be used to guarantee that the air entering the room is free of moisture.

The story doesn’t end there, however.

Fixing any leaky faucets or pipes in the space is an absolute must for you. To ensure that your subsequent cleaning will not be a waste of time, you must first address the leak and verify that the water is no longer allowing mold to grow.

Step #3. Deep clean the source

As soon as everything is completely dry, you may begin deep cleaning any other items in the room that may have been affected by the stench.

Check out this article on how to stop mildew on water-damaged wood if your furniture and fixtures are made of wood. In the case of softer furniture, such as couches and upholstery, you may want to consider having them deep cleaned by a professional.

There is a good chance that the musty odor is coming from these soft surfaces, which have collected moisture over time. In spite of this, hard surfaces would still need to be disinfected on a regular basis.

Sweep out the dust and thoroughly clean the air conditioner and any filters. Make sure to thoroughly clean these units in case they’re the source of the odor.

Don’t forget to declutter cabinets to check if there is any leak on the pipes under. The walls of your ancient house can also be carefully cleaned by a professional dry cleaner or by thoroughly washing the carpets before allowing them to dry.

Step #4. Get some natural air freshener

Lemon peels can be added to a pot of boiling water to get rid of the stench of mildew. The pot should be placed in an area where the musty odor is stronger after you begin to detect a pleasant citrus aroma.

Allow the aroma to fill the room by leaving the pot open. An electric fan can also be placed near the pot to improve air circulation.

Distilled white vinegar can also be used as a natural air freshener. Spray the lemon boiled water or vinegar into a spray bottle, and go to work.

Step #5. Bring in an air neutralizer

The leaks have been repaired, the area has been dried, and the smell has begun to change. Maintaining a steady flow of air is all that is needed to be done.

Get an air purifier or absorber if you want to help. Some air purifiers are specifically designed to remove the lingering musty odor.

Activated charcoal and baking soda can also be used to purify the air. Every two weeks or so, these absorb the odors in the room and must be replaced with new ones.

Keep the windows occasionally open if the room has sufficient ventilation. A humid environment can quickly become unbearable if you don’t have the proper ventilation in place.

Top Causes of Musty Smells in the Bathroom | ServiceMaster EMT

10 Tips to Get Rid of “Old-House Smell”

1.   Know Where Old House Smell Comes From

If you don’t know what’s generating a stench, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of it. As a rule, older homes tend to be darker and less well-ventilated than their more modern counterparts. The problem is here. Mold thrives in a dark, moist environment because of a lack of ventilation. That’s correct — mold is the most common cause of an old-house smell. Fortunately, eradicating it is an option.

2.   Air & Sunshine

While the warmth of the sun might help dry out a property, the ultraviolet radiation in sunshine naturally disinfects. Mold and mildew are less likely to thrive in areas where there are limited places for them to grow. Throw open the curtains and let the fresh air into your home to keep it drier. Fresh air will also help to alleviate that stale, suffocating feeling in some areas. Use fans in hard-to-reach regions to help circulate the air.

3.   Dehumidify Damp Areas

Mold loves a moist environment, which is why it thrives in the household environment. So, if you live in a particularly humid area, you may want to consider purchasing a dehumidifier. This will help dry the air and keep things a little more comfortable. This can be used in conjunction with opening the windows to help purify the air in your home.

4.   Check for Leaks

A dehumidifier can only do so much if you have leaks in your home or problems with your bathroom piping. Make sure to look under every sink, faucet, and piece of plumbing in your house for leaks. As soon as you see a problem, get it fixed. Clutter under your sinks might hide leaks, so clearing it out now is a good time to do that as well. It may also begin to smell if the clutter is wet, depending on the type of the clutter.

5.   Combat Any Mold

Mold growth can be halted by following the techniques outlined above. Just be sure to get rid of it if you already have it. When it comes to mold, there are a number of household items that can help. The apparent mold can be removed with a good cleaning, but chemical treatments will kill any hidden spores and prevent it from returning.

6.   Pay Attention to Carpets & Upholstery

Your efforts thus far have resulted in a lower humidity level, more light entering the room, more air being circulated, and the elimination of any potential mold growth sources. Is there still a musty odor in the air? Mold spores can quickly grow on materials that have been exposed to wetness for a long period of time. In order to retain your carpet, you’ll likely need to hire a professional to deep clean it; if you can’t afford that, it may be advisable to replace it. Upholstery on couches, armchairs, and other pieces of furniture can also accumulate unpleasant odors. Replace them or thoroughly clean them, as the case may be.

7.   Freshen Up the Walls

Walls, like carpets, can act as a receptacle for unpleasant odors. Surfaces can get smelly as grease, dust, and mildew accumulate. You must first clean them well, regardless of whether you intend to paint them. Vinegar and borax can be added to a pail of hot water to make the solution even more effective. Using a damp cloth, wipe the mixture over the smelly walls to break down grease, kill mildew, and eliminate odor.

8.   Clean Out Your HVAC System

It’s only a matter of time before the HVAC system’s vents and ducts become clogged and mold begins to grow. Filters for air conditioners are another typical culprit, and you may be pumping an old-house scent throughout your entire home. Even if you’re able to replace out the filters on your own, it’s advisable hiring an expert to inspect and clean the ventilation system.

9.   Search High & Low for the Source

Check your home’s foundation if you’ve done all of the above and still have an old-house smell. Check the crawlspace as well as the basement for mold. Keep an eye out for any exposed dirt and seal it off immediately. Look in the attic for leaks and mold, as well.

10.  Use Odor Neutralizers

Baking soda and white vinegar, two common odor neutralizers, can also absorb musty odors. Pots of one or the other can be placed in the afflicted region without drawing attention.

How to Remove Odors From an Old House

When it comes to old house odours (particularly mildew), getting rid of them is a never-ending battle. There are a few things you may do to get rid of the musty smell in your old house if you’ve tried everything else.

Check for Leaks

The first thing you should do is figure out where the musty odor is coming from. Everything from the dryer hose to the kitchen sink should be checked. Make a thorough search of cupboards, drawers, and behind furniture. Any obstruction to a clear view of mold or mildew should be removed. Finally, examine your pipes for leaks and schedule an appointment with your plumber to remedy any that you find. ”

Scrub Off Mildew

Mildew is a common cause of dampness in older homes. The approach you choose to remove the mold depends depend on where it is found (for example, your sink cabinets or flooring). Mold and mildew can be removed by scrubbing the walls and floors with a solution of 1 part bleach to 3 or 4 parts water in a large bucket.

Clean Your Washing Machine

It’s easy to overlook the washing machine when it comes to regular maintenance. You may need to clean your washing machine if you notice a musty odor in your old property. Front-loading washing machines are particularly prone to developing mold and mildew. In a cycle with hot water, add 2 cups of bleach (or vinegar). After each usage, keep the door open to allow fresh air in.

Easy-to-do Solutions To Get Rid of Musty Smell In House - Home Quicks

Wash Your Cabinets and Walls

Food odors and other stale house odours can accumulate in your cabinets and walls over time. Cleaning is always recommended, but if you notice an unpleasant odor, now is the time to do so. To do so, use a mild soap and warm water.

To remove mildew or grease from your walls, you can use a bleach-water combination. Mix one part bleach with three or four parts of water. ” Let them air-dry after a good scrub and thorough rinsing.

Use Baking Soda

You can use baking soda to get rid of unpleasant smells in the refrigerator if you’ve tried everything else and still can’t get rid of the aromas. It’s one of the most effective odor absorbers and air purifiers for older homes. Refrigerate or place a cabinet on top of an open jar of baking soda (or white vinegar). Replace it about once a month if you don’t use it.

Check your fridge to see if anything has gone off. It’s also important to wipe off the shelves with an all-purpose cleaner (or a spray attachment for hydrogen peroxide).

Eliminating Household Odors

Leslie Reichert, a green-cleaning specialist, shares her best strategies for getting rid of unpleasant scents in your home. In this article, she discusses how to get rid of unpleasant odors in your home without resorting to toxic cleaning products.

Lingering Fishy Aroma

if the scent of grilled salmon wafting through your house, use this quick cure to get rid of it: Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of baking soda and a lemon peel to 2 cups of boiling water. Fresh Wave (around $16; freshwaveworks.com) is an all-natural soy candle that even chefs swear by as a preventative step while cooking.

Stinky Garbage Can

Plastic cans can retain the odor of rotting food. A coffee filter with 1 tablespoon of coffee, a few cloves, and 1 tablespoon of baking soda is all that is needed to get rid of the odor. Get rid of bad smells in the house by making a sachet, then placing it in an airtight container.

Funky Fridge Fumes

Routine odor maintenance should be as simple as opening a package of baking soda. Food that has gone bad or has spilled on a shelf is the most likely cause of a stinking refrigerator. Spray your shelves with hydrogen peroxide and wipe them clean using a spray attachment attached to a hydrogen peroxide bottle.

Bad Potty Bouquet

Make an abrasive scrub using 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup salt to get rid of the ring around the toilet. Scrubs can be enhanced with the addition of essential oils. Turn off the water supply and drain the toilet before adding the scrub to the stain in the bowl.

Musty Basement

The smell of mildew indicates that your cellar is overly humid, therefore you should use a dehumidifier. Pour some tea tree oil (a natural mold spore killer) into a cheap rubbing alcohol or vodka solution and spray the affected area to get rid of the musty smell. Alcohol evaporates fast, allowing tea tree oil to neutralize the odor, which is swiftly absorbed by the skin.


Some people have a natural ability to keep their homes feeling fresh and inviting. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that if it isn’t you.

It’s best to get started now rather than wait until the last minute. Aside from that, this is an old house.

Your old house mildew smell is gone, and it’s time for a major mildew removal endeavor now that you know how to remove it. It’s time to get moving, so open the windows and get some fresh air in.