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How to get rid of mildew odours in your home

It's easy to get rid of mildew odours in your home - just follow these tips and your rooms will be smelling fresh in no time! Read on for more information.


By Cleanipedia Team

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Key Steps

Remember these three basic steps to removing mildew odours in your home:

  1. Identify what is causing the smell. Tackle the source, not the problem.

  2. Use a cleaning method based on the material or surface you're dealing with. Always do a patch test first.

  3. Make sure you keep your home well ventilated and avoid common causes of mildew - such as not drying clothes properly.

A mildew odour is not only unpleasant for you and your guests, but can also indicate mould growth, which can have a negative and lasting impact on your health. Musty smells usually indicate that moisture has settled for an extended period of time and mould or mildew has developed in your home. This article will explain the four best ways to oust mildew odours from your home quickly and easily, so that you can maintain a pleasant and healthy environment.

Once you’ve managed to remove any mildew odours, you want to ensure they stay away! Opening windows whenever the weather allows will help to prevent mildew returning. It’s especially useful to keep a dehumidifier in the room during damper weather to remove mildew-causing moisture in the air.

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1) Find the Source of the Smell

In order to fully remove an odour, you must find the source. While it’s sometimes easy to find the source of musty odours – such as wet clothes that have been left in a sealed bag – other times it’s not as easy to identify. Mould can gather almost anywhere in your home, from your carpets and furniture, to mattresses and wood panelling.

To locate the smell:

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  • Move around the room where you smell the mildew and carefully sniff each area until you are certain where the smell is coming from—don’t forget to check the floors, walls, drawers, and vents.

  • Remember, while perfumed room sprays may mask the odour, the only way to ensure the smell does not return is to thoroughly search your home for its source.

  • If you are still unsure as to its location, consider calling a professional to help you identify the water damage.

2) Remove Mildew Odour from Clothing and Linens

There are several methods of odour removal for fabrics. One common method is soaking your linens in a mixture of vinegar and water for up to an hour, and then launder your clothes as usual with detergent, like Persil Power Capsules. You can also try to launder your clothes with store-bought odour eliminator, which usually comes in both liquid and powder. Odour eliminators are specially designed to absorb unpleasant odours without damaging your garments.

Watch this video for a comprehensive how-to on getting rid of mildew odour and stains:

3) Odour Neutraliser for Appliances

In order to neutralise odours in appliances, begin by giving the appliance, be it a refrigerator or oven, a good clean with soap and water.

  • To fully remove the smell, wipe down the inside and outside of the appliance with a mixture of baking soda and water.

  • Let the mixture sit inside the appliance for a few hours, and then rinse it clean.

  • For refrigerators, an open box of baking soda can also serve as a great odour eliminator. Simply rip open the box of baking soda and allow it to sit in the fridge. The baking soda will absorb all odours, including mildew if it is present.

4) Ventilate the Area for Odour Removal

Mildew usually occurs when airflow is inhibited and moisture has no means to escape—this is why mould in bathrooms is so common. Therefore one of the best ways to fight mould and mildew is to keep your home well ventilated. Open doors and windows to allow fresh air to flow through the room. This will not only remove stagnant air, but will also cause some of the mildew odour to dissipate.

Once you have these 4 essential tips down, any lingering odours should be well and truly dealt with. If you find that the mildew odour stems from a wider problem with damp, never fear: Cleanipedia is here to help. You can find out more about what mildew is and how to deal with it here, or check out one of our articles on removing mould and mildew from specific areas such as the bathroom and kitchen, wardrobes, walls, or curtains.

For more information on the ingredients in products mentioned in this tip, visit What’s in Unilever Products here.

Originally published