Why Does My House Smell Like Mildew?

Aug 28, 2023

There’s nothing like it — that musty smell that seems to linger no matter how much you clean or ventilate. If you’ve ever walked into a room and been greeted by the unpleasant odor of mildew, you’re not alone.

But why does it smell like mildew, and what can you do to eliminate it at the source? In the latest blog post from the team at Rescon Basement Solutions, we’ll discuss what can cause mildew to grow, where to check if your home smells like mildew, and how to eliminate these odors.

Get in contact with us today to learn more or to schedule basement and foundation services in Southern New Hampshire and Eastern Massachusetts.

What Causes Mildew Growth?

Able to grow on anything from carpet and drywall to wood, ceiling tiles, fabrics, and more, mildew is a common problem for many homeowners. Its growth is commonly attributed to factors like:

  • High Moisture Levels: Mildew thrives in damp and humid conditions, making areas with high moisture levels particularly susceptible. Poor ventilation, water leaks, condensation, and high humidity levels create the perfect breeding ground for mildew.
  • Warmth: The combination of moisture and heat can quickly accelerate the growth of mildew colonies. As a result, you might notice mildew appearing more frequently during the warmer months or in heated indoor spaces.
  • Organic Matter: Mildew feeds on organic materials like dust, dirt, skin cells, paper, and wood. These materials provide a nutrient-rich environment for mildew spores to thrive and multiply.
  • Lack of Sunlight: Sunlight plays a role in preventing mildew growth. UV rays from sunlight have a natural fungicidal effect, preventing mildew spores from growing and spreading. Areas that receive little to no sunlight, like corners and other hidden spaces, are more prone to mildew infestations.
  • Poor Air Circulation: Inadequate air circulation can contribute to the buildup of moisture and humidity, providing an environment conducive to mildew growth. Stagnant air prevents damp surfaces from drying out, allowing mildew spores to settle and reproduce.

What to Check if Your Home Smells Like Mildew

It’s most common for mildew to grow in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, as these areas often experience high humidity and heat. If your house smells musty, mildew is likely in one of those three areas. If one area is producing musty smells more prominently than another area, begin your search there.

When searching the bathroom, check the shower curtain and the corners where the ceiling meets the walls. Then, move your search to the fixtures in the bathroom. Check for leaks around the pipes, sink, toilet, and anywhere else a leak may occur.

Perform a similar search in the kitchen, looking at the sink and dishwasher for any leaks. Any other smaller appliances that also use water should be checked as well. Take a look at your hand towels as well.

Finally, in the basement, inspect the walls, floors, and any stored items for signs of moisture or water damage. Look for any visible mold or mildew on surfaces, including cardboard boxes, wooden furniture, and fabrics. If your basement has windows, ensure they are properly sealed to prevent moisture intrusion.

How to Eliminate Mildew Odors

Eliminating mildew odors requires a combination of targeted cleaning and preventive measures. Begin by identifying and addressing the source of moisture that is promoting mildew growth. 

Thoroughly clean affected areas using a solution of white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, both of which have natural antifungal properties. For fabrics, wash with hot water and vinegar or use a mold and mildew-specific detergent.

Once the source of mildew has been eliminated, it’s time to implement waterproofing and moisture control solutions. Rescon Basement Solutions can help you implement solutions that will help create an environment hostile to mold and mildew growth. Contact our in-house team of technicians today to get started or to learn more.

Turn to Rescon for Basement Waterproofing and Foundation Repair in Southern New Hampshire and Eastern Massachusetts

Not only does mildew create a musty odor that is unpleasant to breathe, but prolonged exposure can lead to health and structural integrity issues.

Prevent mildew from growing with help from Rescon Basement Solutions. We provide waterproofing and moisture control solutions that will keep your home free from the damaging effects of mildew and excess moisture.

Serving the Southern New Hampshire and Eastern Massachusetts areas, Rescon offers specialized expertise in basement waterproofing and foundation repair to safeguard your living space. Contact us today to get started.