How do I get Rid of a Mold Smell?

Anna T.

The first step in getting rid of a mold smell typically involves finding the source of the smell. After you have determined the source of the smell, the mold should be removed. This part of the job can be tricky, particularly if the mold is out of control. After you have removed as much of the mold as possible, measures should typically be taken to prevent more mold from growing back. If all of these steps are followed, the mold smell should be either completely eliminated or greatly reduced. If the smell still persists after these measures are taken, it's likely that there are other undiscovered areas of the home where mold is lurking or that the mold wasn't completely eliminated.

Moldy bread.
Moldy bread.

Mold tends to be the worst in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms, which are all areas that receive lots of excess moisture. You should check these areas first for mold. If the mold smell is strongest in these places, this is likely where your problem is. You can remove the mold that you find by using vinegar or soap and a scrub brush. There are also products on the market specifically designed for mold removal, and you can use these according to the package directions.

After you have removed all the mold that you can find, you should take measures to prevent excess moisture in these areas of your home. If your mold is growing in your basement and you have a problem with leaks in your basement, try to patch up the areas where water is entering. Leaky sinks, toilets, and bathtubs may also contribute to mold, so fixing these problems could prevent more mold from growing. Good air circulation is also necessary for preventing mold growth, so it might be a good idea to open windows in your basement or kitchen and bathrooms occasionally to keep the air from getting too stale and prevent excess moisture from building up.

If your mold smell keeps returning after you've taken all these steps, you either have another source of mold growth in your home that you were not aware of or you didn't get rid of all the mold. Mold will usually continue to multiply and grow if it isn't completely eliminated, so getting rid of all of it is crucial. Sometimes doing this can be a very complicated process depending on where the mold is growing. If your efforts at mold removal have failed, you may need to call in the services of a professional mold removal company for help.

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Discussion Comments


I had a cabinet that had a persistent mold smell. I tried various cleaning products, but the odor always returned. The only solution I've found is making a medium sized hole in the back of the cabinet where it can't be seen. It gets air that way and the odor has disappeared.


@discographer-- If the basement smells like mold, it probably has mold. Since you are not the owner, you probably won't be able to treat the root of the problem. The root of the problem is poor ventilation or a water leak. And both of these involve some expenses, to set up a ventilation system or find and fix a leak. You should talk to the house owner and try to get them to do it.

What you can do right now is try to ventilate it by keeping the basement door open and opening any basement windows to let fresh air in. If you see visible mold and don't mind cleaning it, use a bleach and water solution to remove the mold and wipe walls and floors with bleach. You could also put a dehumidifier in the basement to fight the mold. And scented candles around the home or fragrances can mask the scent temporarily.

Unfortunately though, these are mostly short-term solutions.


I just moved into a new house and the basement has a mold smell that is very bothersome. I've tried ventilating, but it doesn't seem to have worked. I'm not the home owner, so I can't really spend money on this issue. I just want to get rid of the smell so that it doesn't bother me while I stay here. What is the best thing to do?

Someone suggested vinegar before, but frankly, I hate the smell of vinegar as much as the smell of mold.

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