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How to Remove Mildew Smell

Mildew forms on surfaces such as wood, paper, grout, carpet, upholstery and foods when conditions are humid and spores come into contact with a moist surface. In addition to its unpleasant appearance and possible health risks, mildew has a characteristic odor, described as musty or sour-smelling. Even when you take action against the mold in your home, sometimes the odor itself can prove difficult to fully eliminate.

Keep air circulating in your home with an air conditioner or fans.
  1. Circulate the air in your home. Open your windows or turn on your air conditioner and run fans simultaneously. If you live in a humid climate, use your air conditioner in lieu of open windows, as mildew breeds in high humidity. Use a dehumidifier or heater to remove the moisture if you have high humidity in your home.

  2. Deodorize your carpet. Sprinkle baking soda over your carpet, wait approximately two hours and then vacuum. You may also use a specialized carpet deodorizer containing baking soda.

  3. Wipe down any furniture that smells of mildew with a cloth or sponge dampened with a solution of equal amounts of water and hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. You could also use undiluted household vinegar. Place furniture outside to dry, weather permitting, or set up fans inside to speed the drying process.

  4. Clean your home. Run a cloth or feather duster over dusty surfaces, wash your floors, cabinets and counters with commercial cleaning products and perform other essential cleaning. For best results, use cleaning products with natural mildew-fighting properties, such as white vinegar.

  5. Remove any clutter inside your home. If you have stacks of old papers or boxes, dispose of them. Clean any unwashed laundry items.