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Smell Musty? Time to Breathe Easy

Many basements, even basements in newer homes, have trouble with mustiness and poor air quality. Reasons for this can include excess moisture, lack of air circulation, lack of cleaning, and mold and mildew growth.

Moisture is the most common issue that causes musty odors and poor air quality. The excess water that comes into your home due to poor drainage, leaking cracks, and evaporating groundwater allows for the damp conditions in which mold, mildew, and bacteria thrive. Too much moisture in a home will cause wood, fabric, and paper to start rotting. Bugs also love damp environments – homes with leaks will often see an increase in bugs and other pests. Can’t find any leaks? Have a professional test your home for humidity and signs of leaks – professional waterproofers often find signs that homeowners miss.

Ignoring dirty corners and allowing dirt and grime to accumulate in your basement invites insects and rodents to move in. Couple this with a lack of sunlight, and the household pests will move right in. To tidy up unfinished basements that have been ignored, move all the boxes out from your walls, and sweep thoroughly around the entire perimeter of your basement. Replace old cardboard boxes with plastic tubs, then hit the perimeter of your floor with Gloves Off All Purpose Cleaner and Disinfectant, available at Home Depot. Don’t forget to spray for bugs before you pronounce your cleaning complete.

Get rid of mold and mildew that likes to grow in moist, low-light areas. While excess moisture encourages mold, the real culprit of the musty smells is probably due to mold and mildew. Not only are mold and mildew odors and spores able to get into your stored things, but certain kinds of mold and mildew can also make you and family very sick. Mold toxicity is a real problem, so be sure to address mold immediately.

Though the lack of air circulation doesn’t cause foul odors in your basement, allowing the air to circulate throughout your home will prevent air from becoming stale, and will lower the humidity in your home. It will also prevent mold spores from moving to other damp places in your home. When searching for a way to circulate the air in your home more efficiently, look into the EZ Breathe air circulation systems from EZ Breathe. Not only does the system circulate your air, it also pumps the old, stale air out of your home and introduces fresh air into your basement.

A Little Extra Help…

While we don’t recommend ignoring the real reasons why you’re experiencing musty odors, also try these not-so-expensive, DIY ways to alleviate some of those smells until you’ve had a chance to address the issue head-on:

  • Use Arm & Hammer baking soda to soak up nasty odors – buy multiple boxes of Arm & Hammer baking soda with tear-away sides, open them, and spread them throughout the room. The baking soda will “soak up” bad smells and will continue to work for two to three months.
  • Open your basement vents – this is one of the easiest things to do, but many homeowners try to cut down their utility costs by closing their basement vents. Opening your basement vents allows air to circulate throughout your home and keep stagnant air moving.
  • Run fans to circulate air – Place some fans around your basement to help air flow.
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