Banishing Musty Smells from Your Home Naturally

Banishing Musty Smells from Your Home Naturally

A musty smell in your home can be unpleasant and often indicates the presence of mould or mildew.

Before addressing the musty smell, it's crucial to locate and eliminate the root cause.  In this article, you will learn how to eliminate musty smells in your home and determine

  • What causes them
  • How to find the source
  • How to eliminate those odours without using harsh chemicals
  • How to stop them from returning.

Musty smells in homes often stem from excess humidity or water damage, leading to mold and mildew growth. Whether in old or new houses, these odours indicate underlying issues that require attention here we explore the common culprits behind these odours and provide practical solutions.

  1. Excessive Humidity: High humidity creates a breeding ground for mould and mildew. Improve ventilation and moisture control to prevent musty odours caused by excess humidity.

  2. Water Damage: Leaks, roof issues, or flooding can result in musty smells. 

  3. Poor Ventilation: Inadequate airflow traps moisture indoors, leading to musty odours. Enhance ventilation in areas like basements and bathrooms to minimize these smells.

  4. Organic Material Decomposition: Moisture or water damage may cause organic material to decompose, contributing to musty smells. 

How do I find the source

Your nose will be the best tool to track down and identify the source of those musty smells.

Here are some common places mould and mildew are likely to be making their home


  • Washers, especially front-loading washers,
  • Damp or wet clothing 
  • Are any of the pipe connections leaking
  • Water damage underneath the washing machine
  • Mould/mildew build-up in sinks or pipes


  • Showers and tubs
  • Shower curtains
  • Underneath sinks

Air conditioning System 

  • Leaks or moisture issues in air conditioning systems can cause mould within the system or the air ducts, and in the flooring or walls that surround them.
  • If you notice the musty smell increases when you turn on the air conditioning, that would be an indication that the issue could be coming from there.


  • Closets generally have poor ventilation and get dusty, which can result in mould or mildew, especially if there’s any additional moisture like damp clothing, a water leak, etc.
  • Check clothing, shelving, drawers, carpeting, and even walls.


  • Leaks or a dirty dishwasher and filters can harbour mould or mildew

Basement or crawl space under your house

  • This can be an issue if moisture is not controlled and/or you’ve had flooding or water damage.
  • Grab a torch and check for mildew on the floor joists

Underneath sinks

  • A leaking tap connection can go undetected and cause a musty smell.
  • Sink drains can also harbour mold resulting in a musty smell.

Carpeting or Upholstery

  • Carpeting or upholstery that has gotten wet and not been properly dried could be a source.

Children’s Bedrooms

  • Some teenagers are notorious for leaving wet piles of clothing or sports gear on their floors, in laundry hampers, etc.


The above are more common places to find mould and mildew.  Its worth remembering that it takes moisture and a bit of humidity it to cultivate. So that's what your looking for when trying to track it down.

When do we call in the professionals?

If you detect water leaks or moisture in any of the following.

  • Pipes
  • Taps
  • Washing machines
  • In your walls or ceiling
  • Air Conditioner
  • Any Mould or Mildew that spans more than 5-600 mm.
  • If you just can't find where that musty smell comes from.

If we are in doubt, we should call in a professional early it will likely save us money. The longer you leave it, the bigger the problem will become.

If you have someone in your house that suffers from respiratory problems, get onto it quickly.

How to get of those musty smells, mould, and mildew without using harsh chemicals

Traditionally we have reached for the Bleach - But Bleach is highly toxic and not recommended for mould cleanup. It only eliminates surface mould and doesn't tackle the root cause. Moreover, it adds moisture, nourishing hidden mould. Try these alternative methods. 

  1. Treating mould with CLEANZ

What you will need:

CLEANZ Bathroom Cleaner, CLEANZ Oxy-soak, 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. (Hydrogen peroxide can be purchased as a 3% solution and is recommended as an antiseptic/disinfectant. This is a link to a supplier we have found that is one of the more cost-effective suppliers (" Counties Cleaning")

  • Spray liberally with CLEANZ Bathroom Cleaner
  • Sprinkle CLEANZ Oxy Soak onto the mould, spray again with Bathroom Cleaner to wet the Oxy Soak
  • Scrub with a toothbrush or scrubbing brush.
  • Allow it to soak in for 3-5 mins
  • Rinse it off or wipe it off with a microfibre cloth.
  • Spray the surface with the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and let it dry.

(The hydrogen peroxide has the ability to penetrate porous surfaces). Ensure you do a small test patch if you are concerned about damaging any surface.

  1. Treating Mould using Vinegar

Vinegar is a mildly acidic substance that cleans, deodorises, and disinfects. It can also kill approximately 82% of mould species. It can be used safely on most surfaces, and its offensive odour eventually disappears.

What you will need:

A spray bottle, White Vinegar. 

  • Spray undiluted Vinegar onto the mouldy surface.
  • Leave for approximately an hour.
  • Scrub with a brush if the mould is stubborn.
  • Wipe the surface with clean water and allow to dry.
  1. Treating Mould using Baking Soda.

From absorbing odours in the fridge to relieving heartburn; baking soda has a number of uses around the house — including black mould removal. It’s safe for your family and pets, and it not only kills black mould, but it also absorbs moisture that attracts mould. 

What you will need:

A 500ml spray bottle, one-quarter of a teaspoon of Baking Soda.

  • Mix the ¼ teaspoons of baking soda with water in a spray bottle, and shake until dissolved.
  • Spray onto the mouldy area, and leave for 30 mins.
  • Scrub brush to remove the mould.
  • Wash/wipe down with water removing all mould.
  • Finally, spray again with the solution allowing it to dry - this will help prevent the mould from re-establishing itself
  1.   Treating Mould with Essential Oils

Tea tree oil is an insect repellant, antiseptic, and deodorizer — and it’s one of the safest methods for getting rid of black mould. Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide that cleans up mould quickly and it helps prevent mould spores from coming back.

What you will need:

A spray bottle, one teaspoon of Tea Tree Oil.

  • Combine the Tea Tree Oil with 1 cup of water and pour it into the spray bottle.
  • Spray the mouldy area and leave for at least an hour.
  • Wipe with a microfibre cloth or dry towel.
  • It is advisable to wear gloves as the essential oil may irritate the skin.
  1. Treating Mould with Lemons

Lemons are a natural deodoriser, antiseptic, stain remover, and cleaner — and they can also remove black mould. The high concentration of acid in lemons breaks down mould, making it easy to remove, and leaves behind a disinfected surface. Along with that wonderful citrus aroma!

What you will need:

3 to 5 Lemons

  • Juice three-to-five lemons into a cup and pour over the mouldy area. 
  • Let it sit for five minutes
  • Then wipe the surface with a damp towel. 
  • You can reapply and scrub the surface to remove tough mould stains.

Prevention is better than cure

Of course, it's better to prevent mould from making it into our homes.

These are some preventions to action to ensure your home stays healthy and mould free.

  • On fine days get those windows open and let that breeze through
  • Ensure dryers are vented to the outside and use wool dryer balls to reduce moisture
  • Squeegeeing showers after use
  • Repairing leaks
  • Have effective bathroom ventilation.
  • Dehumidifiers can also be a useful tool

By using our non-toxic mould removal method as outlined above, you can easily and safely take care of mould problems in your bathrooms without causing any future health issues... a healthy home win-win!


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