There was once a horror flick entitled: Don’t Look In The Basement.
While the plot, which barely thickened, concerned a young nurse and her terrifying experiences working in an isolated asylum, it should be noted that basements everywhere (finished and otherwise) can be sources of phobic madness, poor housekeeping and the musty smells of old and forgotten things.
Due to the fact that they are underground, basements (and cellars) have their own unique and usually damp state of being, requiring their own arsenal of odor-control product solutions.
Basements are ideal environments for mold and mildew and the fetid, musty smells that ensue.
Their temperatures are always much cooler than those of the rest of the house, and cooler air cannot retain as much moisture as the warmer, upper levels of the home.
These particularly cold, moist surfaces are the perfect breeding ground for mold, and the darker they are, the better the growth.
Successfully removing foul odors from a basement can only occur with the elimination of the excessive moisture that flourishes within the mold and mildew that grows in the crevices of concrete walls in unfinished basements and inside drywall in those that are finished.
The following 11 suggestions come from an array of industry professionals and cover how to both prevent unpleasant basement smells from arising and/or how to eliminate them if they have already taken hold.
If bad odors persist, it is time to find better products to do the job, which should include commercial-grade aroma diffusers, speciality air fresheners and products that contain vaporous odor neutralizing additives — more on those products below!
If mold has damaged porous organic materials, such as: boxes; chipboards; books; rugs; carpets, old clothes; shoes; papers; soft furnishings or fiberglass insulation, toss them in plastic trash bags and dispose of them right away to prevent further damage.
In most cases, there is no point in spending money to clean these materials, and it is better to simply replace them to avoid continuous mold growth.
Before you do any type of clean up of mold, it is recommended to use a proper mask, available at your local hardware store, along with goggles and rubber gloves.
Using sandpaper will help to remove mold that has penetrated deeply into the wood.
Vacuum up the dust using a HEPA filter. This type of filter effectively traps pathogens, allergens and mold spores before they can spread into the air.
If mold has occurred on hardwood floors or wooden furniture and salvaging is possible, the material must be taken outside and given a thorough cleaning with vinegar and baking soda.
For floors that have surface mold and obviously cannot be taken outside, cleaning must be done with all windows open to allow for proper ventilation.
Begin the process by spraying affected areas with white vinegar, which studies have indicated is a powerful agent that simultaneously kills 82% of all mold species and eliminates nasty odor.
Allow the vinegar to absorb for about 20 minutes before proceeding.
Use a clean cloth, to wipe away the mold.
For stubborn mold, scrub the area with a stiff brush and a solution of about 1/8 cup of white vinegar and 1 gallon of water.
A borax solution is sometimes preferred to remove black mold on floor joists.
After getting rid of mold, spritz the furniture with either white vinegar or a tea tree oil solution.
This will kill any remaining mold spores, which are not visible to the naked eye.
Any musty smells can be eliminated with the application of baking soda.
For hard-to-reach places, a baking soda spray using just enough water to form a liquid, will suffice.
Leave furniture out to dry in direct sunlight, but not for too long a period of time.
For flooring and walls, don’t use too much water while cleaning and open up the windows and/or turn on fans to quicken the drying process.
If a basement lacks windows and sunlight, homeowners should consider using a dehumidifier to control the moisture level.
If there is a window, it should be opened during dry, cool weather so that sunshine and fresh air can permeate the interior.
The moisture from the air in warm, cold, or wet temperatures encourages mildew growth, making it inadvisable to open any window in hot, cold or rainy weather.
An electric dehumidifier running continuously, and emptying when full, will help control the atmosphere.
In addition, dessiccant packs can effectively trap the airborne particles that are the source of the musty smell and are particularly useful in out-of-reach places or corners where moisture might be condensing.
They should be replaced frequently.
Adding window fans to your basement windows can increase ventilation and air circulation to help reduce the amount of moisture there, but they should not be used year round.
They work best to freshen up the basement air on cool, dry days.
For most mold infestations, any combination of vinegar, baking soda, soap and water is enough for thorough removal. Stubborn black mold infestations, however, may require a more potent blend of ingredients.
These could include: borax, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, chlorinated lime, or even bleach.
A good natural cleaning choice is borax.
Mix a cup of it with a gallon of hot water and apply with a clean rag. Provide extra water to rinse the affected area, as it is likely to retain a powdery white residue.
If bleach is the selected option, it should not be mixed with any other ingredients including vinegar.
Blending with anything other than water is dangerous because it can create toxic chlorine fumes.
It should be used only on tile because bleach can damage wood and paint.
Again, it is highly recommended to use a proper mask along with goggles and rubber gloves when dealing with mold removal.
Covering pipes in insulation will prevent water from condensing and dripping, which is a haven for mildew spores.
Leaky pipes and wall cracks should be repaired as soon as they are discovered.
This may require outside help form a contractor depending on the severity of the issue.
Musty, fetid basement smells can emanate from air conditioning ducts where mold may have grown in the ductwork of the crawl space.
Our products can do wonders in eradicating these persistent malodors.
Plastic vapor barriers can prevent odorous air from seeping through ceilings, walls, floors and coal storage areas in the basement. Doing this may save hundreds or thousands of dollars of energy and time spent cleaning up mold and dehumidifying.
Problems with outdoor water pooling or groundwater flooding must be addressed immediately. Doing so not only controls mold and mildew, but also ensures that the foundation of a home isn’t compromised. Consider installing a perimeter drainage system, French drain and even sump pumps to prevent ground or surface water from basement ingress.
The laundry dryer vent pipes can be a major cause of basement mold and mildew and should be sealed with duct tape. Even though the dryer vent pipe will take much of the heat and moisture from the clothes outside, some of that moisture may condense on the walls and pipes.
The ongoing use of effective, industrial-strength air freshening and odor neutralizing products will continue to ensure your basement remains fresh, clean and odor-free.
Our mission is to bring the most effective solutions to homeowners in the form of affordable, industrial strength air-freshener and odor-control products.
We aim to reinforce the do it yourself concept, which is fine as long as things are done correctly and homeowners know how to avoid the pitfalls of Murphy’s Law, which lurks around every carpeted corner. (Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.) But sometimes even the best of air freshening and odor efforts require professional help.
The following are a tried and true arsenal of products that guarantee the best results for eliminating stubborn basement odors.
Although primarily designed for professional use in diffusing scent and eliminating malodors in commercial settings, the Aroma One Air Freshener is an extremely versatile air-freshening system that can work well in many diverse areas, including basements, attics, kitchens, bathrooms and many other areas in your home.
Constructed from high-impact, durable polymers, it eliminates musty odors and freshens the air by providing three-way ventilation for maximum air flow, which aids in the evaporation process.
It can accommodate both small and large areas and is available in battery or electric versions. It is easy to install and available in four color options designed to match nearly every decor — white, black; almond and gray.
Our dry wafer refills offer effective, continuous fragrance lasting freshness and effective odor control and are designed to work within our Aroma One air freshening diffuser!
Individually wrapped to insure freshness, these wafer-style refills are perfectly suitable for optimum air freshening and odor-control with no spilling and no mess.
There are 12 refills packed in every case and come in an array popular scents that run the gamut of the human imagination.
They include names like: Golden Mango; Island Breeze; Jazzmania; Sugar Plum; Warm and Nutty and Rain, just to name a few.
Our highly versatile Fresh Straps will dramatically improve odor control in just about any area where malodors persist and provide ambient fragrance enhancement to boot.
Also known as “smell belts,” any basement interior can benefit from fresh strap placement, as they are guaranteed to provide consistent air-freshening and neutralization of transient odors when wrapped around pipes, posts and other areas.
Their odor-neutralizing power comes from their infusion with Metazene, the King Kong of odor-fighting additives, that surpasses the capabilities of any odor neutralizer on the market today.
For ultimate performance, choose the Extreme scent version.
Available in a gallons and transferred to quart-sized sprayers with a fresh mint scent, our oil-based Metazene Wall Spray works effective and different than standard water-based deodorizer products, which utilize perfume and water and rely on enzymes to eliminate odors.
When our Wall Spray is applied regularly to surfaces as needed, being sure to test any painted, varnished or plastic materials prior to application, odors are effectively neutralized.
Metazene Wall Spray, with industrial science and technology, attacks and destroys malodors at their molecular level.
This is a far more permanent solution that most retail products, which at best only serves to temporarily mask bad smells.
Metazene Wall Spray creates a neutralizing atmosphere because the foul smelling molecules attach themselves to the Metazene particles, which trap and lock in malodors.
So what are you waiting for?! Follow the above steps and be sure to utilize our odor neutralizing air freshening products, and finally make your basement smell fresh again and eliminate musty odors once and for all!
Final thoughts about basement odors: If something bad smells in the basement, it will eventually make its way to the attic. ~ Anthony Liccione.
1) Throw out everything with mold on it
2) Sand away any mold and vacuum up the dust
3) Use vinegar and baking soda to kill mold and deodorize
4) Get rid of darkness and stagnant air
5) Use a dehumidifier or dessiccant packs
6) Install window fan to circulate the air in & out the window
7) Consider alternative cleaning agents insulate pipes to Prevent dripping
8) Repair leaks and cracks and clean out air ducts
9) Install plastic vapor barriers
10) Prevent any groundwater flooding
11) Properly seal all of your dryer vents
12) Use effective air freshener and odor control products
1) Fresh Strap Air Fresheners
2) Metazene Odor Neutralizing Surface And Wall Spray
3) The Odyssey Commercial Restroom Fan Air Freshener
4) The Odyssey Restroom Odor Control Squair Air Refills
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