Things You'll Need
Musty odors in your garage can permeate not only your vehicle but also any items you store in the space. Musty smells typically signal the presence of mold or mildew, which thrive in damp, dark or humid locations. Poor ventilation and low air circulation intensify the odor and exacerbate any mold problem. Fortunately, some inexpensive cleaners and simple techniques will banish the musty smell from your garage.
Move stored items away from the walls and out of the corners of the garage. Check for signs of mold or mildew on garage surfaces and on the stored items.
Mix 1 gallon of cool water with 1 cup of chlorine bleach in a bucket. Dampen a scrub brush in the mixture and scrub off any mold or mildew you find on hard surfaces. Leave the solution on the surface for 10 minutes before rinsing with cool water.
Open the garage doors and windows and run fans in the space for at least three to four hours. The fans help circulate and push the musty air out of the garage.
Sprinkle a liberal amount of chlorinated lime directly on the garage floor and let it sit overnight. The chlorinated lime will remove the musty odors from concrete. Sweep the lime off the floor with a broom and dustpan.
Pour 1 to 2 cups of undiluted white vinegar in a spray bottle. Mist the garage with the vinegar to remove unpleasant odors in the air. Repeat the process as often as needed. For a less pungent spray that features a pleasant scent, dilute the white vinegar with 1 pint of water per every tablespoon of vinegar. Add 1 oz. of essential oil, such as sage or rosemary. Mix the solution by swirling the bottle gently in a circular motion.
Place open boxes of baking soda in the garage. Baking soda will continuously absorb the unpleasant odors from the garage. Replace opened boxes of baking soda every 30 days.
To prevent skin irritation, wear rubber gloves when working with chlorine bleach. Keep people, pets and children out of the garage when using chlorinated lime.
- University of Missouri Extension; How to Prevent and Remove Mildew — Home Methods; Wanda Eubank, et al.; April 1998
- University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service; Mildew Prevention and Removal; Dale Dorman; July 1997
- "CBS -- 48 Hours"; Heloise Hears a Hint; December 2000
- Reader's Digest Version: 150+ Household Uses for Vinegar
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.