How to get rid of a musty smell in your basement

It’s a cool evening, and you’re sitting in your warm living room, snuggled up on the couch with a hot cup of tea. There’s just one problem: your basement smells like mildew. It’s not an entirely unpleasant smell, but it can be distracting if you’re trying to watch TV or relax.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to get rid of that musty scent without spending too much money or effort. Here are six tips for getting rid of musty smells from your basement once and for all!

Check for water damage.

If you have had a flood, there are a few things to look out for

  • Look for mold and mildew.
  • Look for leaks or dampness on the walls.
  • Check if there are any water stains on the ceiling or walls
  • Check for condensation on windows, especially in cold weather months (when your furnace isn’t running)
  • Use your senses: smell, touch, listen and see if you notice anything unusual about the basement.

If you do notice a leak in your basement: Contact your local basement waterproofing and foundation repair experts to evaluate the damage.

Clean the surfaces.

Once you’ve patched the leak and cleaned up the wet area, it’s time to clean the rest of your basement. This part is pretty straightforward: using a cleaning product that is safe for use in basements, scrub all of your walls, floors, furniture and other surfaces. These should be cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner and then dried thoroughly before any contact with people or pets.

After most of these steps have been completed (which you can only do after repairs are completed), it may be time to seal off any cracks or crevices around windows or doors so that they don’t become infested again by moisture on rainy days or during humid periods. You can also consider installing dehumidifiers in areas like bathrooms since high humidity levels attract mildew growth as well as other unwelcome pests such as cockroaches and rodents

Dry the area.

You can dry the area by using fans and dehumidifiers. You’ll also want to keep the area well ventilated, well lit, and remove wet items from it if possible. If you have moldy items in your basement (like books or drywall), it’s best to remove those as well. Finally, make sure you keep your basement well insulated so that moisture doesn’t build up in there again.

Add a dehumidifier or fan to increase air flow.

If you have a musty smell in your basement, it’s time to start looking for solutions. The first step is to identify the source of the problem. If moisture is seeping into your basement from above ground, you may need to replace a leaky roof or add caulking where needed. Once you’ve determined that there isn’t an obvious cause for your damp smells, look for ways to increase ventilation in the room. Adding a dehumidifier will help remove moisture, while also ensuring that air circulation stays strong as it moves throughout your home’s interior:

Keep the basement dry.

  • Keep the basement well ventilated.
  • Keep the basement clean and tidy, as clutter can harbor mold spores, which emit musty odors when disturbed or exposed to moisture. Like when you move stacks of dusty boxes around in your basement and lift one too many to discover it’s full of ancient magazines from 1997—and then you decide to go through them after all because you have nothing better to do but now your nose is stuffed up from allergies anyway so why not?

Keeping your basement well ventilated will keep it from smelling musty.

  • Open windows and doors to the outside regularly. This will help keep your basement from feeling stale, especially in the summer when it’s warmer outside than in.
  • Use a fan to circulate air throughout the room. You can use a portable fan or install one for permanent use that runs on electricity or batteries (or both).
  • If you have a dehumidifier, use it whenever possible—and don’t use it just to dry out your basement! While dry air might sound good at first glance, having too much of it usually leads to mold growth and other unpleasant smells. So if you do have a dehumidifier, make sure that its settings are set to humidify rather than dehumidify (especially during winter), otherwise you’re going against nature’s intent here!

You can also buy an air purifier specifically designed for musty smells; they work by removing any odor-causing particles before they even reach your nose!


Health Canada recommends a variety of ways to protect your family from the hazards of mould. One of the best ways to keep your basement from smelling musty is by keeping it well ventilated. You can do this by opening windows regularly, cleaning surfaces often and keeping dehumidifiers or fans running in the room. If you notice a smell coming from one of your storage areas, make sure to check if there’s any water damage before trying anything else!