While it may not be a pleasant topic, old house smell is a reality many homeowners face. Older homes have a lot of charm and character, but that territory comes with some unfortunate circumstances.
With the popularity of mid-century homes undergoing renovations, this is something that should be addressed. However, there is a science behind getting rid of that awful smell.
What causes it?
There are three causes of that musty odor:
- Little ventilation
- High humidity
These items can cause mold to grow, which is where that odor is most likely coming from. When mold reaches a certain life cycle, a chemical is emitted called mold volatile organic compounds. This chemical does not pose any health issues, but it does cause a funky smell.
Ways to remove the smell
Dry the place out: By opening the windows you can give the house a chance to “breathe” and air out any unpleasant odor.
Check to make sure you do not have any leaks that may be causing humidity levels to rise. It also would not be a bad idea to purchase a dehumidifier.
Let there be light: By letting in extra sunlight, you are also letting in ultraviolet rays that act as a natural disinfectant.
Clean your couch: Soft materials absorb ambient moisture which leads to mold growth. Reducing the moisture in your house could help, but it would take time for the mold to dissipate from the soft material.
The quickest and easiest way to relinquish mold growth from your couch and other soft surfaces, such as carpets and rugs, would be to have them professionally deep cleaned. Reupholstering may even be an option for extreme cases.
Tend to the insides of your home: Surprisingly, furnaces and air ducts can be huge culprits of mold growth. Air conditioners can trap mold and mildew in their filtering systems.
A skilled handyman or HVAC professional will be able to locate the source of any humidity and mold and remove it.
Look under your sink: You may not think you have a leak under your sink, but sometimes these are hard to detect. Remove everything from under your sink and make sure you double-check all areas underneath leaks or dampness.
Neutralize the air: There are two ways to go about this. First, your walls may be emitting that musty odor. To combat this, you can mix half a cup of Borax in a bucket of hot water, add 2 cups of distilled white vinegar and 16 ounces of hydrogen peroxide. Scrub your walls with this mixture and allow to air dry.
Secondly, it is not a bad idea to place open containers of baking soda in your fridge, on top of kitchen cabinets, and in other unobtrusive places of the home.