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How to Remove a Wet Smell From Drywall

Marshal M. Rosenthal

A wet smell from drywall indicates the presence of a high concentration of mold. You can remove the mold, and thus the wet smell, by eliminating the infestation that has affected the drywall.

Supplies from a hardware store or a home and garden shop will be needed, as will tools and supplies commonly found in most homes. The wall will need to be repaired and repainted once you are done.

  1. Open a window in the room where the drywall that has been infested with mold is located. Place a box fan in the window with the front facing outward. Close the window to the top of the fan. Tape the top and bottom of the fan to the window and the windowsill, using strips of duct tape.

  2. Place a plastic tarp against the sides of the fan and the window frame. Tape the tarp to the sides of the fan and to the window frame with strips of duct tape. Plug the fan’s power cord into a wall outlet, and turn it on.

  3. Pour 24 oz. of tap water into a bucket. Pour 3 oz. of bleach into the bucket. Stir the mixture with a wooden paint stick for 20 seconds. Moisten a sponge in the mixture. Wipe the wall, starting at the upper, left-hand corner and working across to the other side before reversing direction.

  4. Re-moisten the sponge and continue wiping the wall until you have reached its lower, right-hand corner. Re-moisten the sponge and wash the baseboard. Let the wall and baseboard air-dry before continuing.

  5. Cut into the drywall at the spots where the wet smell is strongest and you can feel the wetness with your hand -- use a drywall hand saw to cut out sections of the wall. Pull the cut sections of drywall out with your hands and dispose of them in the trash.

  6. Remove any rotted wood or wet insulation from inside the wall. Place these items into a garbage bag for disposal later.

  7. Pour the mixture from the bucket into a spray bottle. Saturate the areas inside the wall where the mold is located, using the spray bottle.Let the drywall air-dry before continuing.

  8. Remove the duct tape and plastic tarps from around the fan. Turn the fan off. Remove the power cord. Raise the window and remove the fan.

  9. Place a wet/dry vacuum outside, next to the window. Run the hose from the vacuum through the window. Run the power cord from the vacuum through the window and plug it into a wall outlet.

  10. Turn the vacuum on. Hold the hose against the floor, next to the baseboard. Vacuum up loose debris and other contaminants. Turn the vacuum off, unplug the power cord and remove the hose and cord from the window once you are done vacuuming. The wall can now be repaired and repainted.

  11. Tip

    The job will go faster if two or more people work on the wall.


    Put on old clothing, work gloves, old shoes and a respirator or facial mask to protect your lungs.

    Turn off any whole house heating/air conditioning while you are working on the wall, and leave it off until the mold has been eliminated.