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House Smells Musty, but No Mold

Person spraying air freshener

Odors are a fact of life, especially when pets are involved. Although some odors can be unpleasant, most seem to dissipate quickly. However, there are some instances when a particular smell or odor seems to hang around forever no matter how hard you try to remove or cover it up. Musty, stale and moldy odors fall into this category, and may require a professional service to identify, address, and eliminate the odors. However, if you’re feeling up to a challenge here are some things you should know before you take on this daunting task.

Identifying the Source of Odor

First, before you can realistically deal with an odor problem, you need to know what caused it. Identifying the source of the odor is an important first step. Is there a spill, a leak, or another source that may have been overlooked? Hopefully, you’re not dealing with a leak of some kind. Make sure to check thoroughly before eliminating this possibility. Your nose will usually point you in the right direction and tell you when you’re getting close to the source. You might have to get down on your hands and knees to really pinpoint the location. Use your fingers and/or press some paper towels into carpeted areas to identify any wet or damp spots. Look for signs of moisture everywhere, including under rugs and furniture and around baseboards.

Related Topic: Can Mold Grow on Plaster Walls?

Of course, when you’re dealing with a musty odor there is always a chance mold has developed, which is a serious health hazard. If you know the location of the water lines in your house, try to follow them and to see if signs of moisture can be identified in and around any plumbing. Musty smells can also originate from drains and P-traps.

Many people place an open container of baking soda in their refrigerator because it is a relatively cheap, non-toxic way to absorb odors. You can also try this option for any moist or damp areas you identify. Just be aware it is not a long-term solution, and might not be as effective when used in an open area. But a little baking soda sprinkled on carpets, rugs, and fabric, just might do the job with an odor. Let it sit on the affected area for about 45-60 minutes, then vacuum it up.

Deep Set Odors

Some do-it-yourself efforts make sense, but sometimes even the most ambitious efforts are no match for a deep-seated odor. Many musty odors often seem to dissipate after a thorough cleaning, only to return days or weeks later. Unfortunately, baking soda, vinegar, and home-center products are usually no match for such serious odors. They often just mask the odor and do little to address the real problem.

Related Topic: Odor Elimination Sprays: More Harm Than Good

For persistent odors such as musty smells, professional-level products and expertise are required. Professional tools may also be needed, such as steam cleaners to dislodge and eliminate the odor-causing molecules. Cigarette smoke is one such odor.

Importance of Locating and Eliminating the Source

Sometimes it’s easy to consider a musty odor as merely unpleasant, but keep in mind that it could indicate a more serious problem requiring immediate attention. Whenever moisture is involved, there is the potential for mold to develop — often before you’re aware there is a problem.

Finally, keep in mind an odor that lingers for days or weeks is usually an indicator of a more serious problem—one you’re not likely to solve yourself. The longer this problem goes unaddressed, the more difficult and expensive the cleanup and restoration might be.

Lingering Odors Require a Professional Solution

Do-it-yourself cleaning efforts are worth a try, but most simply don’t work. They often don’t address or correct the initial problem, eventually leads to more problems and a bigger headache. When you’re dealing with this type of odor, it’s best to call the professionals at Rainbow International. They have the expertise to identify the problem, address the issue and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing the job was done right.