How to Get Rid of the Musty Smell in a Closed-up Room

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Things You'll Need

  • Laundry detergent

  • White vinegar

  • Small container

  • Essential oil

  • Spray bottle

  • Cloths

  • Air purifier

  • HEPA filter

  • Bowls

  • Baking soda

Unpleasant odors can attach themselves to various surfaces.

Often a closed room will develop an unpleasant, musty smell. With no ventilation, the stale air will become a breeding ground for fungi such as mold and mildew that give off a musty odor. Even if you remove the cause of the smell, the nose-wrinkling odor in the room may remain. Fortunately, several methods can help eliminate the smell and freshen the air in the room.

Step 1

Remove any damp fabric -- such as towels or clothing -- from the room. The damp fabric will fill the air with a musty odor. Launder the items with 1/4 cup laundry detergent and 1 cup white vinegar.

Step 2

Fill a small container with 1 pint of water. Add 1 tbsp. of white vinegar and 1 oz. of an essential oil -- such as clove, rosemary, sage or mint -- of your choice. Mix the ingredients and carefully pour the solution into a spray bottle. Mist the room with the solution to remove unpleasant odors and freshen the air.

Step 3

Spray mold and mildew with pure white vinegar. Let the vinegar sit on the surface for 10 minutes before you wipe it clean with a cloth. Apply a light mist of vinegar to the surface once again, and let it air-dry. Vinegar will naturally kill fungus and remove any lingering odors.

Step 4

Run an air purifier with a HEPA filter in the room. The air purifier will remove odors -- as well as dust and impurities -- from the air.

Step 5

Set vinegar-filled bowls or opened boxes of baking soda around the room to remove odors from the air. Replace the vinegar every 24 hours, and replace the baking soda every 30 days.

references & resources

Amanda Flanigan

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.