Updated at: 06-05-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

When was the last time you wondered, “Why does my bathroom smell like mildew?”

Your bathroom’s musty odor is caused by mold and mildew. In wet cellars, these fungal developments provide a musty stench.

Toliets are ideal breeding grounds for them because of the high levels of moisture and limited ventilation they provide. In some cases, a musty odor in your bathroom could be an early warning sign that something is amiss.

What Does Mildew Smell Like?

People often use the term “musty” to describe a stench of mildew. The scent of wet socks, rotting wood, or paper can be caused by mildew in the home. To quickly determine whether you have mildew or mold, check to see if the odor lingers after you’ve aired the area. Mold is more likely if the odor lingers; mildew is more likely if the odor disappears.

How to Remove Mildew Smell From Towels

As you may guess, the first step is to figure out where the stench comes from. Towels may be to blame if you’re lucky enough to find it. Soak them for about 30 minutes in all-fabric bleach, rinse them out, and then wash in the machine. Fortunately, mildew spots are easy to remove if you know where to look.

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Why Does My Bathroom Smell So Musty?

When mildew or mold is first emerging, it is more likely to be discovered in areas that are prone to dampness. Bathroom water temperature could contribute to a constantly humid environment.

It may be tough to clear the air and keep things dry. However, if you detect a musty odor, the fungus that creates mold is most likely to blame.

Shower red mold can be removed by following these instructions.

What’s The Challenging Part About Mold?

Be on the lookout for mold, which can be difficult to detect. This fungus, which can be found growing behind walls and in cabinets, is rapidly spreading throughout the house.

It can be hidden in the creases of your shower curtain, under towels, wall hangings, or mirrors.

Breathing in the stink could put your and your family’s health at risk, but it’s also harmful. Allergic reactions, runny noses and sinus pain are all symptoms of mold exposure.

In addition, mold is not the only issue. It is possible for mold spores to spread through the air if they are disturbed.

As a result, your mold-related health issues may worsen and spread to other areas of your home.

What’s the deal with mold?

Mold may be a sly critter. It thrives in the dark recesses of walls and cabinets. It can hide beneath towels, picture frames, or mirrors in the folds of your shower curtain. On your tile grout, paint, light fixtures, and fan blades, as well as in and around your faucets, toilets, and bathtubs, it can accumulate.

It not only stinks, but it may be harmful to your health and the health of your family as a whole. Symptoms of mold exposure include headaches, a runny nose, aching sinuses and exhaustion. The issue isn’t limited to the mold that may be seen. Mold spores can go airborne if disturbed. Your health can be harmed as well as spread to other parts of your home if this occurs.

What can I do if my bathroom smells musty?

If your bathroom has a musty odor, do something about it. It’s not going to get better on its own Unfortunately, the situation is only going to become worse. Do you have any ideas? A few ideas to get you started:

  • Improved airflow can help your bathroom dry out after you take a shower or a bath, reducing humidity and preventing mold formation.
  • It is important to maintain a clean bathroom in order to keep the fungus that generates mold at bay and to make it more difficult for mold to take root.
  • Keep your bathroom clean by using the right supplies, just like you should wash your hands properly after using the restroom.
  • Squeegee the shower walls after you’ve finished using it to remove any remaining water and lower the humidity.
  • Run the fan – when you shower or bathe, it’s tempting to let the bathroom get all steamy and warm. During and soon following a bath or shower, use the exhaust fan to prevent the growth of mold.

What Can I Do If My Bathroom Smells Like Mildew?

1. Clean it all up

Run the fan – when you shower or bathe, it’s tempting to let the bathroom get all steamy and warm. During and soon following a bath or shower, use the exhaust fan to prevent the growth of mold.

When you’re taking a shower or a bath, it’s easy to let the bathroom get steamy and heated without using the fan. During and immediately following a bath or shower, turn on the exhaust fan.

If water is present, it’s possible that it contributes significantly to the odor. As water seeps out of the drain, it can cause mildew to grow in the area around it.

Patching the leak as soon as possible is the best approach, followed by a thorough bleach-based cleaning of the drenched area. A mildew odor can also be a problem with bathtubs if they are not properly sealed and water gets between the walls and the bathtub.

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3. Allow the bathroom to take a breath

The optimal conditions for mildew to grow are dark, moist, and warm. Improve air quality and enable fresh air to combat this.

Keep the bathroom door open if there isn’t a window. If you need more solitude and prefer to bathe with the door closed, consider installing a ceiling fan or running an exhaust fan.

4. Add an air purifier

Mildew is not only unpleasant to smell, but it can also irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs of people who already have respiratory issues.

Using a high-performance air purifier in the bathroom will remove the hazardous mold and germs from the air, as well as the unpleasant smell. In addition, a high-flow air purifier will increase bathroom air circulation, which will help minimize mold growth.

Why Does Mildew Grow In The Bathroom?

Mildew thrives in damp, gloomy places with plenty of food sources, such as water. In bathrooms, mold thrives because of the high levels of indoor humidity, frequent darkness, and the presence of a constant source of moisture.

What Are The Long-Term Consequences Of Mold Exposure?

Breathing in the small germs in the airborne mold spores has negative health effects, even if you don’t like the smell of must in the bathroom. Mold exposure can cause headaches, nausea, difficulty breathing, and respiratory infections.

Those with asthma are more susceptible to the effects of mold because of their illness.

What Steps Can I Take To Avoid Mildew Odors?

The capacity to keep the bathroom dry is greatly enhanced by the presence of adequate bathroom ventilation. It is impossible for mold spores to live in conditions devoid of adequate moisture.

Bathroom humidity and water content can be reduced by operating a bathroom fan in the background during a shower and then leaving it running for 30 minutes thereafter. You can also open a window.

Here’s a guide on how to remove mold from a toilet tank if you need it.

6 Ways to Banish Mildew Smells in the Bathroom

1. Wash it

Washing things is the first line of defense against fungal odors. Towels that have been hanging in the bathroom for a long time, musty bathroom carpets, and stale window drapes will all need to be washed. Experts recommend adding one cup of white vinegar to the wash load when doing laundry. Also, wash your nonslip mats on a regular basis. Washable cotton, hemp, or nylon shower curtains should take their position in lieu of the vinyl ones.

Gina Perry, a senior merchant of cleaning at The Home Depot in Atlanta, advises that bleach can be used to clear the mildew cause and prevent it from growing.

FEMA advises a 10 percent bleach solution or 1.25 to 1.5 cups of bleach to a gallon of water for goods that can resist bleach. Shower doors, cupboards, and walls may all be cleaned using a bleach/water solution. Hard floors surrounding bathtubs and toilets can be mopped with the solution as well.

2. Address any water issues

It’s possible that the stench is caused by the presence of water. “If you have a slow drain leak under or around a drain, you can get a mildew smell,” explains Frazier. It’s possible that small amounts of water can seep out of the toilet’s wax ring seal, which seals the toilet flange and prevents it from leaking.

When a leak occurs, Frazier recommends fixing it immediately and wiping out the wet area with a powerful, bleach-based cleanser.

Small amounts of water can also cause mildew to grow in bathtubs if they aren’t adequately sealed and there is a lack of ventilation in the area. If the mildew is on top of the caulk, it can be scrubbed away with a bleach solution, but if it is underneath, it will need to be removed completely and re-caulked.

3. Let the bathroom breathe

Mildew thrives in dark, moist, and warm environments. To fix this, open the windows and allow some fresh air to come into your home. Taking a shower in the absence of a window can be accomplished by leaving the bathroom door slightly ajar. A ceiling fan or an electric fan can help circulate air in a closed shower stall if you desire that level of seclusion. Open your cabinets to allow them to catch some fresh air as well.

A properly operating and appropriately sized exhaust fan is one of the most important things homes can do to eliminate bathroom mildew odors, according to Frazier.

4. Use an air purifier

Those with allergies or asthma may become ill or have their eyes, nose, throat, and lungs inflamed by mildew.

Having a high-performance air purifier in the bathroom will remove the mold and germs in the air, as well as the smell, says Sara Alsén, chief purpose officer for Sweden-based Blueair, a leader in air-cleaning products.

As a result, “an air purifier with a high airflow will also assist prevent mold growth in the bathroom,” she explains.

5. Apply a fresh coat of paint

Isn’t it true that a fresh coat of paint can fix just about anything? Try using paint that is resistant to mold and mildew.

Rick Watson, Sherwin-Williams director of product information, says odor-eliminating paints help keep rooms fresh longer by inhibiting mold and mildew growth as well as reducing prevalent indoor aromas.

Before painting, make sure to remove the mildew. Lower regions of walls and corners near ceilings in bathrooms are a common breeding ground for mildew since they are frequently splashed with water.

To prevent peeling in high-moisture areas, apply a coat of mildew-resistant primer to the ceiling and walls after washing. Let the primer dry completely before applying the first coat of mildew-resistant paint.

6. Try an odor eliminator

It’s possible to use odour-absorbing materials. An open box of baking soda or a tiny pouch of kitty litter can absorb the stench and moisture in the air to make the restroom smell better. However, it’s important to replace them every few weeks or months. Some aromatic oils and citrus peels can also help freshen the air.

Cleaning Mold in the Bathtub | ThriftyFun

Call in a professional

Keeping your bathroom dry can help eliminate the musty odor it’s giving off. Leaky pipes and poor ventilation can be fixed by calling Mr. Rooter. Call (855) 982-2028 for more information.

For mold removal and abatement services, we recommend Rainbow International. Rainbow International, like Mr. Rooter, is a member of Neighborly’s network of home service providers. With over 20 years of experience in mold removal and repair, Rainbow International is the company to call.


My bathroom smells like mildew because of a lack of ventilation. If your bathroom has a musty stench, my recommendation is to do everything you can to keep it dry in the future.