A damp smell in the house could be down to a whole range of causes. If the problem is confined to a particular room, you might be able to see what the culprit is right away — perhaps a damp patch on the wall or the carpet, or an appliance.
If not, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a checklist you can follow to make sure you’ve tackled every possible offender.
You will need:
- A washing machine
- A spray container, filled with a solution of white vinegar
- A box of bicarbonate of soda (your first line of attack for getting rid of odours of any kind)
- A sturdy washcloth
- A household cleaning agent (to be applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions, paying particular attention to any safety guidelines)
How to get rid of a damp smell in the house: key steps
If you've noticed that your house smells musty and humid, the first stage of working out how to get rid of the damp smell is to determine where it is coming from, and whether there is a more serious structural issue to deal with. Once you know that there is a damp smell in the house but no damp problem that needs professional attention, you can start to resolve the problem:
1. How to get rid of a damp smell in the walls
If the smell is caused by a leaking pipe or a deep structural damp problem, it's a good idea to get a professional in to fix the cause. But afterwards (or if the issue was more superficial), the challenge of how to get rid of a mould smell is one you can take on yourself.
First, gently scrub any damp patches with your washcloth and water. Dissolve some baking soda in your water for a bit of extra kick to remove the mould, or apply a specialist mould treatment if the problem is substantial. As always, read the product label first, paying particular attention to any safety guidelines, and test on small areas to avoid potential damage.
2. How to get rid of a mould smell from elsewhere
If the damp smell in the room is coming from mould on grouting or kitchen appliances, all you need to do is scrub them thoroughly with your washcloth and chosen cleaning product until all the mould is gone. Easy!
3. How to get a damp smell out of the carpet
If your carpet is the cause of the damp smell in the house, it might be down to areas of carpet that got wet and didn't dry properly.
First, prepare a vinegar and water solution (one part white vinegar to two parts water) and lightly spray over the areas of the carpet that smell, taking care not to get the fibres too wet again. Then, sprinkle baking soda over the same areas, leave overnight, and vacuum it up (along with the damp smell in the room) the next day. As an alternative, a foaming carpet shampoo can also work a treat.
Plus, find out more tips for cleaning your carpet with our handy guide!
4. Get rid of damp smells in your clothes and fabrics
Is there a damp smell in the house but no damp spots you can locate? Check the wardrobe: your clothes might be the culprit.
Try washing them on a warm cycle with your usual laundry detergent and your favourite Comfort fabric conditioner to freshen them up and leave them smelling gorgeous. You can do the same for any bed linen, curtains, or other fabrics that might be carrying mildew. Learn more about removing damp smells from clothes here.
Tackling damp smells inside household appliances
If you're still looking for how to remove a damp smell from a room, it might be worth checking inside your appliances: ovens, fridges, vacuums or washing machines. Baking soda's deodorising properties are great for this. Pop a cup of baking soda inside overnight – just remember to remove it from the oven before you next use it!
You can also clean out mildew smells from a washing machine by running a rinse cycle with a little baking soda in the detergent drawer.
Has your cleaning regime changed during the Covid-19 lockdown?
So now you've got your head around how to get rid of a damp smell in your house, you're ready to get that clean, fresh-smelling home back again. Phew!