Musty odors around the home are a common problem among homeowners. If your home is suffering from mold and odors, there are several steps you can take to alleviate the problem yourself.
For your appliances that are not in use, like refrigerators, ovens, and chest freezers, spread a paste of water and baking soda on the interior surfaces. Fill the space with crumbled up newspapers and let it all sit for at least 24 hours. Remove the paper and rinse the area with water. Repeat if needed.
The above process can also be used in cupboards and trunks.
For a refrigerator that is being used, place a box of baking soda with the top ripped off in the back of the fridge. This should take care of the musty odor in a few days.
If musty odors are coming from the damp places like the basement or crawl spaces, place several bags of crushed volcanic rocks at different levels within the area. Be sure to check for spots of mold that might be contributing to the musty odor. Use extreme caution if extensive mold is found, as it could be quite toxic. Wear a mask and gloves, avoid breathing the spores, and wash hands thoroughly. Immediately call a professional if such toxic mold is found.
Cloth items such as wash cloths, towels, drapery, and clothes are also susceptible to musty odors. These items can be washed in a washing machine with 1 cup of white vinegar added to a normal load, and left to soak for 30 minutes. Continue the regular wash cycle and add a liquid scented fabric softener during the rinse. Use a scented dryer sheet in the dryer as well. Repeat if needed.
For areas like closed rooms, closets, cabins, and cars, open up all the doors and windows to air them out. Liberally sprinkle a baking soda based carpet deodorizer (being sure to follow the package directions on length of application time and testing for colorfastness). Vacuum and repeat if necessary.
Musty odors found in suitcases can be rid of simply by placing the open suitcase in the sun for a few days.
To completely rid your home of musty odors, the cause of the odor – such as dampness or bacteria – must be dealt with and not just covered up. If mold turns out to be the musty odor culprit, use chlorine dioxide to kill the mold spores. Chlorine dioxide is an irritant, so air out the room before occupying it; if you are deodorizing a closet, keep the door the room closed.