The word musty originated in the sixteenth century from the word moist. That lesson in history should tell you what you need to know about a musty smell in your home: mold and mildew (moldew?) grows in moist areas of a house including the basement, under sinks, and around tubs and toilets.
Mold and mildew are furry fungi which can cause your home to smell stale and crypt-like. And the odors are not the worst of it, “moldew” can trigger headaches, allergies, and asthma, and lead to respiratory infections. To eliminate musty smells, you must tackle the moldew and take steps to dry out areas where the fungi flourishes.
1. Find the mold and mildew: Mold and mildew can grow on just about every surface in your home including concrete walls, wood, wicker, and grout. In damp basements it can infest clothing, books, and just about any other non-plastic surface. And it can move behind walls, ceilings, and baseboards to spread throughout your house.
2. Eliminate the musty: Killing stinky, corrosive mold and mildew is easy with Soft Scrub Mold & Mildew Stain Remover Spray. Simply spray the thick gel on, let it sit for a few seconds, and wipe away the mold and mildew with a scrub brush. Soft Scrub is safe and effective in basements, in cabinets, under kitchen and bathroom sinks, on tile and toilets, and on shower curtains.
3. Out of the grout: The green, red, pink, blue, and black stuff on the grout between your bathroom tiles is unsightly and smelly. Soft Scrub Mold & Mildew Stain Remover Spray clings to and penetrates grout, and lifts mold and mildew from the surface. If stains remain, get out an old stiff-bristle toothbrush, apply Soft Scrub with Bleach Cleaner Gel, and work it over tough spots.
4. Dry it out: There are two main sources of musty moisture: condensation and water leaks. During warm weather, open up all the windows in musty smelling rooms and get a few fans blowing directly on the damp areas. If the musty smell returns when the weather is cold, a humidifier is a good investment. Mold is destructive and can require costly professional cleanup if it gets out of hand. As far as leaky pipes, call the plumber! Even a small leak can cause extensive damage to floors and foundations and that musty odor will become a permanent fixture in your home.
5. Check the perimeter: Oftentimes musty basements are a result of water pooling against the foundation. Extend gutter downspouts at least 6 feet out and make sure the ground around the house is sloped to move the rainwater away from the foundation.