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How to get rid of damp smells

Let us teach you how to get rid of damp smells plaguing your home. These unpleasant scents are bad for your health and need tackling as soon as they’re identified, which is why our guide is going to explain the cause and solutions for each issue.

Let us teach you how to get rid of the smell of damp plaguing your home. These unpleasant scents are bad for your health and need tackling as soon as they’re identified, which is why our guide is going to explain the cause and solutions for each issue.

Unfortunately, some damp calamities are impossible to resolve yourself. Maybe your damp course or damp proofing has failed and needs repairing or replacing? If so, it’s time to call in a professional to fix the problem and keep your home dry and moisture-free.

For more guides about damp and how to resolve it, take a look at our damp proofing cost guide, caravan damp repair cost guide, basement waterproofing costs and a guide on how to prevent damp in your home.

What causes damp smells?

Damp is an issue that affects old and new homes alike. It’s caused by mould, mildew and other moisture building up in humid parts of your home. Broken pipes are a common cause, as well as poor heating and ventilation.

As soon as these problems are identified, hire a professional to fix the underlying cause. Until it’s resolved, dampness and mould will reoccur. Left alone, symptoms of prolonged exposure to damp and mould include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Allergies

So, while you’re waiting for your chosen tradesperson to arrive, how do you get rid of the musty smells?

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How to get rid of damp smells

While you’re waiting for a professional to save the day, here’s how to tackle various infected areas.

Tools you’ll need for the job

  • Damp smells in the home. How to remove them blog.A water and bleach mixture
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Regular household detergent
  • Cloths and sponges
  • A bucket
  • Dehumidifier/air purifier

DIY options

  • Charcoal in a jar
  • Ground coffee (for damp aromas only)
  • Regular household detergent
  • Cat litter!

How to get rid of damp smell in carpet

Once the cause of the damp is addressed, there are several ways to get rid of the resulting smells in your carpet. These include:

  1. Spraying a mixture of one cup white vinegar to two cups of water onto the area, leaving for a few hours, and then scrubbing off with a sponge and soapy water. Blot to absorb excess moisture and leave to dry.
  2. Sprinkle with baking soda to let it absorb the remaining odours and dampness. Scrub in and leave for another few hours before vacuuming the area.
  3. Treating with a strong carpet shampoo.
  4. Using industrial carpet deodorisers.
  5. Applying washing detergent mixed with warm water and working it into the problem areas.

How to get rid of damp smell in house

Step one: Identify the cause

Get rid of damp in your homeDo a thorough inspection of your house to find the cause of the smell. Items of furniture and materials might need throwing away depending on the level of rot. However, if the cause of the smell is due to a leaky pipe or a mouldy bathroom ceiling, you’ll just need to clean those areas and hire a professional to check whether there’s a more serious underlying cause.

Step two: Remove the sources

Dispose of any items that are contaminated and clear the room if there’s a risk of the damp infecting your other belongings.

Step three: Ventilate the room

Damp thrives in poorly ventilated rooms. Open a window and allow the room to dry out. If you want to know how to get rid of damp smells in your cupboard or other compartments, the trick is to let them aerate before treating them.

Step four: Use a water and bleach spray

Wipe any damp areas with a cloth and a spray made from one part bleach to three parts water. For more stubborn mildew and mould build-up, leave the mixture for a few minutes before wiping it away.

Step five: Dry the area

Go over the washed areas with a dry cloth and towel. Leave the windows open for as long as possible to encourage aeration or use a dehumidifier.

Top tip: Leave a jar of charcoal in damp rooms, cupboards or drawers overnight. Charcoal absorbs odours in the air and speeds up the purifying process.

How to get rid of damp smells in your bedroom

  1. Wash all your bedding – including your pillows and duvet – at 60-degrees with your normal detergent and a cup of white vinegar in the drum. Tumble dry if possible.
  2. Check your mattress and bed frame for signs of mould. Clean with a water and bleach spray or an industrial deodoriser where necessary. Leave to aerate and dry.
  3. Mix laundry detergent, white vinegar, and water into a spray bottle and treat your upholstery (e.g. curtains, carpets, mattresses). Open your windows and leave for a few hours to dry.
  4. Use a brush dipped in bleach and warm water to clean your windowsills and remove any mildew or mould.

How to get rid of damp smell in bathroom

Bathrooms are breeding grounds for mould and mildew, which is why keeping on top of cleaning them is imperative. Installing heated towel racks or underfloor heating goes a long way to minimising damp too.

  1. Check the grouting for signs of mould.
  2. Scrub with a dry brush to dislodge the first layer.
  3. Spray with your vinegar and bleach mixture and leave to soak for a few hours.
  4. Scrub the grouting again with a coarse sponge or toothbrush.
  5. Check your faucets and taps and repeat the process if you discover any build-up.
  6. Burn a scented candle or install an air freshener to keep the room smelling fresh.

How to get rid of damp smell in kitchen cupboards

  1. Clean your cupboards thoroughly and treat with a mould spray.
  2. Remove all infected items and dispose of them.
  3. Leave your cupboards open to aerate and dry.
  4. Place a cup of charcoal or pan of boiled lemons in the cupboard and leave overnight.
  5. Restock!

Extra Kitchen tips:

  • For hobs, ovens, fridges, freezers and other appliances, fill up a cup with baking soda and leave it in the infected appliance overnight.
  • For dishwashers and washing machines, add a cup of baking soda or white vinegar and run a cycle.


Treat damp and mould at home

How do you get rid of musty smells fast?

Sadly, must and mould permeate houses, meaning there’s no quick fix. You’ll need to thoroughly treat the area and resolve the underlying cause before you can get your home smelling fresh and clean again. If you want to disguise the smell for guests, burn incense, a scented candle, or treat with deodorisers.

Can the smell of damp harm you?

Symptoms of prolonged exposure to musty and mouldy conditions include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Allergies

This is why it’s important to resolve the cause of the damp as soon as possible.


To treat the underlying cause of the damp, it’s essential to hire a professional. For more stubborn smells, hiring a professional cleaning team isn’t a bad idea either. However, most mild cases can be treated with a little patience and a lot of elbow grease.

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