How to Dry a Musty Smelling Basement

Tips for Drying Out a Musty Basement

By Mark J. Donovan

If you have a musty smelling basement chances are you have mold and mildew growing in your basement. Musty basements and mold and mildew growth are detrimental to your family’s health and therefore should be removed as soon as possible.

To eliminate a musty smelling basement you need to start by removing the mold and mildew from the basement. Start by inspecting the basement for mold and mildew.

Basement mold and mildew are easy to spot as they usually show up as either dark or white fuzzy patches growing on surfaces.

Sometimes they can also have a bluish or greenish look to them as well.

Look for basement mold and mildew growing on the walls and the floor. Also check under carpets, and on furniture and any other type of porous or wood related product. Also check old wood, papers, framing, insulation and even drywall. Mold and mildew grow well on almost any material with the exception of metal.

Once you have identified the mold and mildew sources that are causing your musty smelling basement it’s time to remove them.

Before removing basement mold and mildew make sure you wear proper protective clothing, along with eye and mask protection. You do not want to be inhaling mold and mildew spores when removing them.

Start by emptying the basement of all musty smelling basement objects that you observe mold growth. In many cases it is best to throw these items away.

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If you prefer, you can wash them off with a solution of water and bleach, or a commercial mold remover product.

Next, empty the basement out entirely so that you have free access to all of the basement walls and floor.

Next, inspect the basement for any water leaks and correct them. Also be sure to check the foundation and floor for cracks, and fill them with a cement filler.

Also inspect the supply line pipes and cover them with pipe insulation to prevent future condensation problems.

Now, using a solution of water and bleach, or a commercial basement mold remover, wash the walls and floor thoroughly.

Dehumidifier in basement

After washing the walls and floor, wipe the walls and floor with dry towels and use a dehumidifier to thoroughly dry out the basement. Once the basement has thoroughly dried out, which may take a few days, the musty smelling basement should be history.

While the basement dries out, clean all of the items that you plan to return to the basement with bleach and water, or a basement mold remover solution. Note that on fabric covered furniture you may have no choice but to throw them away.

To prevent a musty smelling basement from reoccurring, use a dehumidifier regularly, as well as a circulating fan. The dehumidifier will reduce the moisture level within the basement and the circulating fan will keep the air moving. By circulating dry air in the basement, mold and mildew spore growth, along with a musty smelling basement will be prevented.

For more help on Basement Additions, see’s Basement Remodeling Bid sheet. The Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your basement remodeling project is done correctly and you get the project finished on time and budget.

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