Whether the water damage in your home is caused by a flood, water leaks, or previous fire damage, it isn't fun to deal with. Not only is it structurally dangerous, but water damage can also fill your home with an unpleasant odor. The musty smell caused by the water damage can last for weeks and even months after the initial incident. Fortunately, there are several inexpensive DIY solutions using things you probably already have at home. Here's how to remove the water damage smell from your house.
How to Remove the Smell of Water Damage From a Home
1. Air it Out
Open all the doors and windows in your home and let the open air inside (unless there's still a storm brewing outside, of course). Not only will this help air out the house, but it will provide the affected area with better air circulation and ventilation. If you have them, set up a few fans to help speed up the drying process.
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Running a dehumidifier in the room will remove moisture from the air and reduce the chance of mold and mildew growth. You can also add an air freshener or two to help introduce pleasant smells.
2. Spray Surfaces With Vinegar
Mold and mildew growth is a common side effect of water damage that will cause a musty smell to fill your home. Remove mold and mildew from surfaces, like countertops, with white vinegar. Pour undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray all surfaces down, wiping them dry afterwards, to kill the mold and remove the odor.
If you have black mold or if the mold issue is widespread, hire a professional for mold remediation to protect your home's structural integrity and your family's safety.
3. Vacuum Carpets to Remove Moisture
Remove excess moisture from carpeting with a wet/dry vacuum. The carpet's fibers trap moisture, which will cause mildew and mold growth and create an unpleasant musty odor in your home. You can also point fans in the direction of the carpet to help dry it out.
If you don't already own a wet/dry vacuum and don't want to purchase a new one, you can likely rent one out through your local hardware store.
4. Sprinkle Baking Soda on Carpets to Deodorize
Baking soda is an all-natural deodorizer that is effective at removing bad smells from a variety of surfaces and is safe to use around kids and pets, so we suggest taking full advantage of it. Sprinkle baking soda liberally on dry carpets and work it into the fibers using a broom. Allow the baking soda to sit on the carpet overnight to maximize its potential, then vacuum it up.
5. Spray Vinegar on Upholstery
Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and liberally spray it onto smelly furniture and upholstery. Allow the vinegar to air-dry on the upholstery (this will take at least a few hours, likely overnight). Vinegar has a pungent odor at first, but it will dissipate quickly and take the musty odors trapped in the upholstery with it.
6. Throw Smelly Textiles in the Wash
Launder washable items — such as clothing and curtains — as you normally would, but add 2 cups of white vinegar into the washer's drum. The vinegar will remove the water damage smell while killing mold and mildew.