The minute it begins to rain or snow, our homes take on a musty odor. Old mattresses, wooden furniture, upholstered sofas, and even unused kitchen appliances can give off a rank odor that assaults the nose.
If you can smell the dampness all around you, a good starting point would be to identify where the smell is coming from. Here are a few potential culprits and what you can do about them.
If you’ve left slightly damp clothes on sofas and chairs that are close to a window or door, they might reek of moisture. Even a single damp piece of clothing can cause trouble.
Hence, once your clothes are washed and dried, be sure to iron them so that any traces of moisture are removed. If you already have a damp-clothes problem, remove all clothing from the cupboard and leave the cupboard open for a while. Then, rewash the clothes and iron them before placing them back in the aerated cupboard.1
We all have at least one cupboard in the house that is closed most of the time. And, one day, you might open it to find it gives off a strange damp smell.
To clean stubborn and smelly cupboards, make a mixture of calcium carbonate and baking soda in a cup. Leave the cup in the cupboard for a good couple of days. Both salts absorb moisture and the accompanying smells.
Alternatively, you could use an activated charcoal ball. However, be sure to choose a product that is non-toxic and can be kept out of the reach of your children and pets.2
Refrigerators attract all sorts of strange smells. And, more often than not, the food we store in the very back decays and disintegrates, giving rise to funny smells. Additionally, not having defrosted your fridge in a long time might also cause this problem.
So, be sure to defrost the fridge and get rid of anything that you won’t be consuming later. Then, add one teaspoon of baking soda to one liter of water and wash the interiors of your refrigerator with this mixture. Once you’re done, remember to clean the washcloth thoroughly since it might start giving off a damp smell as well.3
Most of us have at least one bathroom that receives no sunlight or air. It is natural, then, for it to smell damp. After all, we can’t really keep bathrooms from getting wet!
Leaving the bathroom door open after a bath is the easiest way to promote air circulation in there. If you have a truly smelly bathroom, you could clean all the metal fittings with a solution of vinegar and water. Vinegar, here, is an excellent deodorant.4
You could also use a bathroom freshener to mask mild smells. However, a bathroom without natural ventilation will need cleaning more often than other parts of the house.5
A microwave might not seem like a place that harbors dampness, but it does. Whether it’s a soup that overflowed while reheating or a hurried attempt at cleaning that left dampness inside, certain things can make your microwave smell bad.
To fix this, mix four tablespoons of baking soda with a quarter cup of warm water. Sprinkle this mixture inside the microwave and clean with a dry cloth after ten minutes.
Another simple method is to put the same mixture in a microwave-safe cup and cook on high heat for five minutes.6 Alternatively, you could replace the above mixture with one made of lemon juice and water, instead.
6. Tiles And Shower Curtains
If the tiles in your home are smelly, you’d need to investigate where the humidity is seeping in from. A short-term fix is to soak paper towels in bleach and apply them to these tiles.
However, be sure to not use this on any sensitive stones and colored surfaces. Additionally, if your shower curtains smell damp or are heavily infested with mildew, it might be a good idea to discard them and find new ones. If only the corners of the curtains are affected, you could soak them in bleach for a while.7
In spite of cleaning thoroughly, the damp smell around the house might persist. This happens when you have leakages within the home causing water to accumulate. Getting these fixed along with trying all of the above tips can help you get a permanent solution to damp smell.
|↑1, ↑2||Mendelson, Cheryl. Laundry. Simon and Schuster, 2009.|
|↑3||Removing Odors from Refrigerators and Freezers. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑4||Keep your home free from damp and mold. Scottish Government.|
|↑5||Clark, N. M., H. M. Ammann, B. Brunekreef, P. Eggleston, W. J. Fisk, R. Fullilove, J. Guernsey, A. Nevalainen, and S. G. Von Essen. “Damp indoor spaces and health.” Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2004).|
|↑6||Heloise. Kitchen Hints from Heloise. Rodale, 2005.|
|↑7||Hunt, Mary. Cheaper, Better, Faster. Baker Books, 2013.|