Eliminate Musty Odors.
Musty odors can be caused by a number of things in your home, but generally speaking, mold and mildew are the main culprits. A combination of moisture, lack of air circulation (stagnant air) and darkness will allow mold and mildew to grow. And with that, an unpleasant musty odor grows too.
If your home or clothing smells musty, chances are you have mold or mildew hiding out. While other things, such as a lack of ventilation or high levels of humidity, can make a musty odor more noticeable, they typically are not the primary cause of the smell. While the term “musty” often brings to mind an old closed off house or attic, mold and mildew can grow practically anywhere, even your modern home or apartment. Essentially, all mold needs to grow is the presence of mold spores, a surface to grow on, warmth, darkness, oxygen, and moisture. There's plenty of spaces around the house that can accommodate mold growth.
And that last ingredient, moisture, is the biggest culprit. When all of the
other environmental factors are combined with condensation, humidity, or leaking water, mold begins to grow and flourish. As mold spreads and grows, it emits gasses known as microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs). This means that the musty odor isn't “just” mold, but is a result of the chemical compounds released at different stages of the mold’s growth.
Yeah, you're breathing that in. It's been proven in many studies and medical cases that mold can cause a myriad of health issues including :
runny nose and congestion
Exposure to mold may also put you at a higher risk for complications, like infection, if you have conditions such as:
chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
compromised immune system
The CDC says that exposure to moldy environments may cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing and wheezing, or eye and skin irritation. Those with mold allergies may have more severe reactions, and the EPA reports that for people with asthma who are allergic to mold, it can cause asthma attacks.
Mold also has the tendency to increase flare-ups for those who have auto-immune disorders and deficiencies. It's not something you want to play with!
So, how can you prevent a musty house smell?
As the Environmental Protection Agency points out, the best way to control mold is to prevent it. Follow these tips to ensure a musty house smell doesn't disrupt your enjoyment of your home:
Avoid moisture. Don't let floors and other surfaces stay damp after spills or showers. Standing water and condensation can eventually lead to mold growth. If you live in a humid climate, take steps to dehumidify your home.
Fix leaks. Leaky pipes are a prime mold catalyst. Water can pool behind walls or under cabinets. Before you know it, you've got a mold problem. Check for leaks frequently and repair them immediately.
Tidy up. It's hard to believe that you might get a case of mold from skipping housework, but it's a real possibility. Empty wastebaskets, wipe down your fridge, throw out old produce, vacuum carpets, and keep air conditioners clean.
Clean your washer. This is often the culprit of musty smells. In addition to making sure you don’t let your clothes sit long after a wash, make sure to clean your washer thoroughly at least once a month to help prevent mildew growth and build-up. Wipe the washer drum with a household cleaner, toss in a couple of tablespoons of baking soda, and run on a hot wash cycle(empty).
Check under all sinks for leaks or water build-up that may spark mold or mildew growth and scrub areas with mild bleach or vinegar solutions.
Try changing the air filters in your home’s heating and cooling systems to maximize the airflow and circulation. Stagnant air can be stinky air.