How to Get Rid of Basement Odor (7 Tips to Get Musty Smell Out of Basement)

Does your basement have an odor?

Is it a musty, damp, or stale smell that won’t seem to go away?

If that’s the case, then this guide on how to get rid of basement odor is perfect for you.

Below, we’ll share with you the top ways for how to get smell out of basement areas.

By following the advice on this page, you can have your basement smelling clean and fresh again!

The Most Common Reason for Musty Odors in a Basement

Before we jump into the list of how to get rid of basement smell, we want to explain what the most common cause is for musty odors (i.e. damp and stale smelling air).

Since basements don’t receive much sunlight, are underground, and don’t have great ventilation, it’s common for mold and mildew to grow on surfaces and hover in the air in the form of spores.

So, if you’re smelling a musty, damp, or stale odor, it’s likely that the source is coming from active mold growth. And most mold smells are caused by microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC), which are chemicals produced by mold’s various biological processes.

As scary as that may sound, many mold issues are not as severe as people think and can be solved by following the tips outlined below.

However, if you have a ceiling, floor, or wall that’s covered in visible mold, then it’s best to call in a professional mold remediation company to take care of the issue.

Otherwise, try the methods listed below. for how to get musty smell out of basement areas.

How to Get Rid of Basement Odor

1. Use an Air Purifier

As we mentioned previously, a prime cause for basement smells is the presence of mold spores in the air. By eliminating the spores, you can usually get rid of the odor.

The easiest, most trouble-free way for how to get rid of basement odor is to put an air purifier downstairs.

An air purifier can collect the mold spores which will reduce the presence of musty odor. However, you must get an air purifier that includes three things: a True HEPA filter, Activated Carbon filter, and Ultraviolet light.

To learn more about why that combination of features is important for getting rid of basement smells, check out our best basement air purifier buying guide. It includes everything you need to know to get a high-quality air purifier for underground areas of your home.

As the air is pulled into the purifier and mold spores are filtered out, the air recirculated in your basement will be less smelly. This also helps reduce the likelihood that spores in the air will settle and cause mold to grow on basement surfaces, which would cause an even more serious odor problem in the future.

2. Lower the Humidity with a Dehumidifier

Mold growth and its associated odor increase when a basement’s humidity is not regulated.

That’s because mold thrives in warm, moist conditions.

So, in addition to an air purifier, another appliance you should invest in for your basement is a dehumidifier. This device is the second-best way for how to get rid of basement smell.

When a dehumidifier is placed in your basement, it pulls the moisture out of the air and collects it in a bucket. It then cools the air down and returns it back to the room.

The ideal humidity for a basement is 30-50% because mold can’t grow in that condition.

Investing in a dehumidifier can help manage the odor that already exists in your basement and help prevent mold growth down the line.

3. Try Moisture-Absorbing Products

There are other ways to get rid of excess moisture in a basement without buying a dehumidifier.

And the most economical method is to use a moisture-absorbing product like Damprid.

Damprid is a hands-free way for how to get smell out of basement. It works by absorbing the moisture out of the air and collecting it in a small container.

Simply open up and place a Damprid container in the basement and the crystals inside will begin to absorb the moisture and reduce musty odors.

For a large basement, you’ll need to place several Damprid containers to cover the entire space. But for small areas, like a closet, you can get by with just one.

4. Clean the Basement with Vinegar

Believe it or not, vinegar is a great cleaner, odor-eliminator, and fighter against mold and mildew.

While it’s not strong enough to clean massive amounts of mold growth on surfaces, it can tackle smaller quantities that may be emitting a foul odor.

To use vinegar to combat damp smells in a basement, combine 3 parts water with 1 part vinegar and use it to clean the basement floors, walls, and other surfaces.

The vinegar smell will dissipate as the solution dries, and so will other moldy odors.

The best thing about vinegar for how to get rid of basement odor is that it’s a safe and gentle alternative to harsher chemical cleaners.

5. Clean the Basement with Bleach and/or Hydrogen Peroxide

If you already have a severe mold problem and vinegar won’t cut it, then you may have to use a harsher chemical like bleach.

Bleach can effectively kill mold and mildew that already exists and is growing on hard surfaces, helping you regulate basement odor.

The way for how to get musty smell out of basement with bleach is to mix together 8 parts water with 1 part bleach and clean the areas of the basement where you can actually see mold growing.

This solution only works for non-porous surfaces, such as flooring, concrete, and cinderblock. For porous surfaces, you’ll want to use 3% hydrogen peroxide because it gets down to the root of the mold to kill it.

When using bleach or hydrogen peroxide b sure the keep the basement well ventilated and always use rubber gloves, a respirator, and eye protection.

6. Eliminate Basement Odor with Charcoal

If your basement odor problem isn’t too bad, or you just don’t want to deal with any cleaning or scrubbing, you can always try laying out a bag of charcoal.

Charcoal is a natural odor-absorber and moisture eliminator, which is exactly what you need in a basement.

Just open up several bags of charcoal or spread the briquettes out in large bowls and place them in several locations in the basement. Over time, the particles that contribute to musty, damp, and stale odors will pass through the charcoal and get trapped.

7. Keep the Basement Ventilated

As simple as it sounds, keeping the air in your basement consistently moving will do wonders for how the room smells.

This can be achieved by frequently opening windows (if you have them) or using fans to circulate the air. Both options create an environment in which musty odors are not able to linger.

In our first tip, we mentioned the use of an air purifier. Air purifiers use fans as a way to suck air into the machine in order to capture mold particles. As the air moves through the unit, air is then blown back into the room.

Air purifiers help ventilate a room just like a standing fan would, but has the added benefit of purifying the air with each air cycle. Many of the products recommended in our best basement air purifier buying guide are also featured on our top rated air purifier guide which includes the best models for all areas of the home.

So, take a look at both of those pages to find out more about how to get rid of basement odor using an air purifier.

Enjoy a Basement Free of Odors

You now have at your disposal several ways for how to get musty smell out of basement locations.

Just choose the tip you like best and start there.

If the method doesn’t get rid of the smell, then try another tip. Eventually, one of the ways for how to get smell out of basement listed on this page will work for you.

We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to get rid of basement smell and combat mold and mildew in your home.