Moisture problems and stale air can produce unpleasant odors in your basement. These smells seep into your home through central air units and can seriously impact your indoor air quality. Luckily, the steps listed below can help eliminate moldy odors in many cases.
Seal Unfinished Floors
Dirt floors are a common feature in basements, and they can let water and mold spores seep through. Fixing the problem may be as simple as putting down some thick plastic cover to serve as a moisture barrier, but it’s best to lay down a solid floor.
If you don’t want to spring for a professional, you can lay wire mesh over the thick plastic, and then smooth quick-mix concrete over the top. A DIY concrete finish may be rough, but it significantly cuts down on dust, moisture and other issues common to dirt floors.
Improve Underground Ventilation
Improper ventilation often leads to moisture problems, and a typical basement environment is perfect for mold and other fungal growth. Air exchangers provide extremely effective ventilation, but are expensive to install and may not be worthwhile if your basement isn’t used often. A combined dehumidifier and fan can remove moisture from the air, while an ultraviolet light can help discourage mold growth and eliminate moldy odors.
Eliminate Existing Mold
Discouraging mold growth won’t do a lot of good if you already have mold growing in your basement. You should first address any obvious moisture issues, such as wet spots or visible moisture damage.
Because mold can permeate building materials, such as wood, wallboard and cracked concrete, elimination is not as simple as scrubbing everything with a mold-killing cleaner. At-home test kits can help confirm the presence of mold, but you should consult a mold removal expert to truly eradicate the problem.