Vacant old homes often have poor air circulation, which results in a stale, musty odor. If you purchase or inherit an old home, you need to get rid of these odors. You won't be able to live in, rent or sell the home if it doesn't smell fresh. Fortunately, you don't need strong chemicals to get rid of the smell. A few common household products will do.
Open all of the windows in the old house and draw back the curtains. Fresh air and sunlight go a long way in getting rid of stagnant air in a home.
Clean the home with antibacterial products. You won't completely get rid of any stale odor in an old home if you don't get rid of the source of the odor through cleaning. Antibacterial products will kill any bacteria that may be causing the odor.
Place bowls of activated charcoal in any areas that smell musty. The basement and closets are good places to start. The charcoal absorbs any moisture and bad odors. Let the bowls remain in the area for a day or two.
Spray vinegar throughout every room in the old home. Just poor the vinegar in a clean empty spray bottle. Vinegar is a powerful odor eliminator. You can also spray it on any furniture that was left in the home to make it smell less musty.
Sprinkle baking soda on the carpets and flooring of an old home. Let the baking soda sit overnight so that it can absorb any bad odors. Vacuum or sweep up the baking soda the next day.