An unpleasant odor in the home is embarrassing and can be a hassle to get rid of. Wet dirt under a house is a common cause of foul musty odors in older homes. If the odor is left untreated it will only worsen over time and the smell could even ruin your furniture. The first step in eliminating any odor is finding its origin. An odor coming from a damp dirt floor in your basement or crawlspace may be difficult to tackle, but with the right technique you can have your home smelling fresh again in under a week.
Ventilate the area under the house where the smell is coming from. Open any doors or windows and circulate air with a box fan. Keep the area open and continue moving air through for at least 24 hours.
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Combine equal parts bleach and water in a bucket. Wash the floor and walls of the basement or crawlspace with the solution and a sponge, working from ceiling to floor and making circular motions. Allow the cleansing solution to dry completely to eliminate any remaining odor. This usually takes about 12 to 24 hours depending on the size of the space.
Seal any cracks in the foundation of the house with a silicone sealant and line dirt floors with 6 ml plastic sheeting. Also check the drainage system on the outside of your house to make sure gutters are intact and water is being diverted away from the house. If there are any problems with your gutter you will need to have them repaired to avoid water accumulating at the foundation. This will prevent moisture from seeping into the basement or crawlspace in the future and reduce the chances of the odor coming back.
Place a dehumidifier in the area and run for at least 48 hours. Turn the humidifier on once a week to keep moisture out of the area and prevent odors from returning.