October 27, 2006, Newsletter Issue #37: Removing musty smell from a basement

Tip of the Week

If you think that you have to live with that smell in your basement, think again. You can relegate the damp, dank smell in your basement to the must-bin of history. In most cases, getting rid of the rank stank is fairly simple. Just identify the source and follow the steps to a must-free future. 1. Ventilate. Too much moisture is the cause of musty basements. Opening a couple of windows at opposite ends of the area may give you enough cross-ventilation to blow away the smell. 2. Throw out any carpet padding infested with mildew and deep-clean your carpets. Air out your furniture in the sun. 3. Mop or wash down concrete floors and walls with a solution of bleach and water (about 3/4 cup chlorine bleach to 1 gal. of water.Leave the solution on the concrete surfaces for 5 minutes, then rinse and dry. 4. Check the drainage around your house. Porous basement walls may transmit moisture from the ground outside during rainy spells, and the trapped moisture increases the humidity in your basement. Make sure the ground slopes away from foundation walls, and that downspouts extend 6 feet or more from the house. 5. Waterproof the basement. Look for cracks in the walls and floor and seal them with hydraulic cement. Apply concrete waterproofing sealer where the floor meets the wall. 6. Buy and install a dehumidifier as a last resort to remove excess moisture.

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