According to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine, damp or moldy indoor environments can be to blame for some adverse health outcomes. People exposed to continuous damp spaces could suffer upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, wheezing and asthma. While not everyone who catches a whiff of musty odors in their home will suffer poor health, it could be a sign that your dwelling has a mold or mildew problem. Eliminate the odor at its source to keep your family healthy and happy without compromising the old home you love.
Get a Quick Fix
If you’re in a pinch and need a quick, temporary fix before company arrives, scatter lightly scented, neutralizing candles to mask an odor. Use essential oils like lavender and place drops very sparingly on the filter of your furnace for a fresh smelling home. Try putting a few drops on a radiator or in a room that smells especially damp to help diminish the odor. Oils and other scented masks might help push out unwanted smells, but won’t always eliminate the problem. Make sure this method is only used to buy a little time until you’re able to fix the problem permanently.
Look for Leaks
Musty smells are usually an indicator of a leaky home and moisture pooling in dark areas. Look at the pipes in your kitchen, bathroom, and basement to check for leaks and standing water. Mold is often nearby, and requires scrubbing off hard surfaces with detergent or cleaner. Consider throwing out any old carpet where mold may stubbornly cling.
Don’t forget to look up. Pipes run through your ceiling and could leak water onto ceiling tiles or plaster. An old roof may also be the culprit that’s slowly letting water pool into your home. Get a quote to install a new roof with a protection plan. Turn the expense of a new roof into an aesthetic investment too—it could be a good opportunity to give your home a fresh, new look!
Use Animal-Safe Odor Eliminators
Not all cleaners and eco-friendly products are created equally. Use animal-safe odor eliminators that are also safe for the environment, such as BioKleen All Purpose Cleaner, or sprinkle some Odor Out granules around on the floor of your basement, kitchen, or other mold- and mildew-prone areas. Look for products backed by the National Pest Management Association that offer a company guarantee. Any product can say it will work safely, but not everyone will offer a money back guarantee.
Use What You Already Have
You may already have common household items that can help eliminate unwanted odors from your home. A small container of scented cat litter changed out every few days can help lift odors from closets or entire rooms. A pan of charcoal briquettes positioned in rooms around the house can keep odors at bay, but may need to be swapped out with a fresh batch every few months. Also, white vinegar can also be poured in a mason jar and placed near moisture- and mildew-prone areas to help absorb the odor.
While not all high moisture areas will be subject to mold, moisture microbes could build up in your furniture, floors, and walls. You may need to sand and strip problem areas to fully release the odor. Next, thoroughly clean your home and open the windows during warmer weather to provide air flow.
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