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How to Get Rid of Damp Basement Smell?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Identifying and Addressing the Cause: The unmistakable damp basement smell is indicative of mould and mildew issues. To eliminate this odour, the first step involves identifying and addressing the source of excessive moisture..
  • Basement Environment and Mould Growth: Basements, with their cooler temperatures and increased risk of penetrating damp, create an ideal environment for mould growth. The content highlights the specific conditions that make basements susceptible to musty smells.
  • Step-by-Step Process to Eliminate Odour: The article outlines a step-by-step process for removing the damp smell from the basement. This involves not only tackling existing mould and mildew but also addressing the root cause of moisture, such as issues with gutter systems, leaking downpipes, and water pooling around the house.

Experiencing odours and damp-related issues in your home…Here we explain How to get rid of Basement Smell caused by damp?

The unique and unmistakable basement smell instantly hints at one thing – damp. The pungent musty smell can make a basement unbearable. 

Basements are the ideal environment for damp, pungent musty smells caused by mildew and mould. This is because their temperatures are much cooler than the rest of the house, and cool air cannot retain enough moisture as the warmer air at the upper levels of the house.

Such specifically moist cold surfaces are the perfect breeding ground for mould. Not to mention the increased risk of penetrating damp as the musty basement is below ground level. 

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How do you remove a damp smell in a basement?

To remove the musty odour from a basement, you must eliminate the excessive moisture from that help thriving of mildew and mould growing in the cracks of the concrete walls in incomplete basements and inside unfinished drywall. 

Let’s see a step by step process to tackle the problem of musty smell from the basement. 

How to get rid of Damp Basement Smell – Step 1: Find the Source of damp

You must find the weak spot in your house basement that allows the water to build up.

These could be problems with your gutter system or leaking downpipes mean water is pooling around the house and is not going to the drains. Here are some areas to check the leaks and cracks that could smell in the basement:

  • Basement exterior entrances
  • Basement windows
  • Exterior doors from the above floor
  • Kitchen and bathroom plumbing 
  • Windows from the above floor

You might also want to look if there are any changes at the ground level around the property. If the water is present there, it could be discharged towards the home where it has flowed away.

However, if you struggle to understand the source of the damp, you should contact a qualified Damp Surveyor for professional advice. 

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How to get rid of Damp Basement Smell – Step 2: Remove Mould Growth

The cause of the damp smell comes from things lying in the basement that have mould growth on them or are wet; furniture, newspapers, or fabrics are the first things to check, as these can retain water and emit odour. 

If you see any signs of mildew and/or mould growth, you must get rid of such items. You must start as soon as possible to avoid the longer-term worsening of the conditions.

Use warm soapy water alongside bleach or vinegar to tackle mould and damp to kill the mold spores. If the mould has penetrated any surfaces more deeply, then get in touch with a mold remediation professional for a Damp Survey to be carried out in order to get rid of musty smell. 

How to get rid of Damp Basement Smell – Step 3: Get Rid of Darkness and Stagnant Air

If a basement lacks sunlight and windows, property owners should consider using a dehumidifier to control the level of moisture, and improve their ventilation and light exposure where possible.

The area should be opened during cool and dry weather so that sunshine and fresh air can permeate through the internal walls.

The moisture from the air in cold, wet, or warm temperatures helps the mildew growth, making it not favourable to open the windows in rainy, cold, or hot weather. 

How to get rid of Damp Basement Smell – Step 4: Run a Dehumidifier

Running an electric dehumidifier continuously is another effective way to get rid of the excess moisture from the air and stop damp. Empty it when it’s full as it will help in the atmosphere control.

Besides, you can use desiccant packs to trap the particles present in the air that are the source of musty odour. In addition, they are useful to place in corners and out-of-reach places where moisture is condensing. It should be replaced frequently. 

dehumidifier preventing damp and decreasing humidity

How to get rid of Damp Basement Smell – Step 5: Damp Smell Absorbing Agents

You can do away with the cause of the damp, but the musty smell may stay. Fortunately, there are some clever yet simple ways to absorb the pungent odour. The most common way is to add some activated charcoal to the coffee jars.

Charcoal is ideal to absorb moisture and odd smells, and it will help purify the air in the basement. But, unfortunately, it usually takes one week for the charcoal to absorb everything. 

Moreover, cat litter is another cheap way to solve the issue. Fill a plate of cat litter and replace it every two weeks.

Lastly, baking soda is also good for getting rid of the smell. Open a box and leave it free in the basement. Again, replace this common household item every three months. Never use a spray bottle for cleaning objects in your basement because it can only make the musty basement smell worse.

How to get rid of Damp Basement Smell – Step 6: Window Fan for Basement airflow

Install a window fan in the basement that helps to improve the ventilation and reduces the moisture in your basement while you are cleaning. However, it should not be used all year round. Instead, you must use it once occasionally on dry, cool days to refresh your basement air. 

It is advised not to open the basement windows when the outside weather is cold, rainy, or hot, as it allows moisture to get in and condense the basement air on furnaces, leaky pipes, and walls, which rots and results in basement mold growth. 

How to get rid of Damp Basement Smell – Step 7: Prevent Repeat Problems

After you have cleaned, dried, and freed your basement of all the musty smell, the key is to maintain it that way. Several things must be done here. First, it would be best if you got the following things done, such as:

  • Repair all the cracks and leaks that you may find in the basement walls, floors, or joints
  • Prevent the outdoor water from pooling around your building’s foundation or flooding groundwater
  • Consider re-installing a sump pump or drainage system to prevent groundwater from damaging your building’s foundation
  • Remove all the potted plants placed in the basement as it will only add to excessive moisture and fungus
  • Install plastic vapour barriers from seeping through your floors, walls, and ceilings
  • Clean your air conditioning ducts in the basement in order to keep the air circulating freely
  • Keep your wet dog outside and away from the basement

However, one of the best options to have an odour-free basement is getting a damp-proof specialist to look out for the damp causes and recommend measures to prevent repeat issues permanently.

For example, it might involve basement tanking and waterproofing, which stops the absorption of water by the brickwork. The experts can also help to install membranes on the walls to direct the moisture. 

Get A FREE Quote Now

Get a no obligation FREE quote now. Our team is here to help. Take the first step towards a guaranteed solution by filling out our form below. 

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How to get rid of Damp Basement Smell – Step 8: Takeaway for removing damp smells in basements

The cost of tanking a basement can be high but it may be essential to protect your cellar from damp and strong smells. With the tips mentioned above, you can remove the damp smell in a basement in no time. However, it is essential to watch for cracks and leaks and control the humidity.

By taking action to prevent the damp problem from coming back, you can enjoy a fresh and odour-free home basement.

Don’t hesitate to contact our damp experts at Advanced Damp if you have damp and musty odours in your basement.

They will take care of everything from locating the damp source to stopping it to getting rid of the musty basement smells. Besides, they will also help you prevent damp spreading to other parts of your home. So give us a call now!

Overall, when it comes to damp concerns in your home – whether in the basement or not, whether in the walls or floors, you should not hesitate to contact a Damp Surveyor so that you can be confident that you take the right steps and conduct the most appropriate treatment to resolve the issues. You can contact a surveyor by clicking HERE.

Picture of Jake Fitzgerald - Damp Surveyor

Jake Fitzgerald - Damp Surveyor

Surveyor of Timber & Dampness in Buildings (CSTDB) & ( MRICS ) Chartered Quantity Surveyor

Jake is a qualified chartered quantity surveyor and experienced damp specialist with a unique skill set in thermal imaging. With a focus on effective solutions, Jake combines his expertise in quantity surveying and thermal imaging to accurately assess and address damp-related issues. He utilises advanced technology to identify hidden moisture sources and develop targeted strategies, ensuring comprehensive and cost-effective solutions for his clients. With a commitment to open communication and client satisfaction, Jake delivers cutting-edge solutions that tackle damp challenges head-on.

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