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What's that smell?

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

It’s about that time again, when spring flowers begin to bud…and you start to notice some unpleasant odors rising up from your basement. Yikes!

The problem is probably twofold: moisture is getting inside the basement area and the poor ventilation isn’t allowing small amounts of water vapor to escape.

The result can be unsightly and annoying at best and a serious health hazard at its worst. That's right, we’re talking about mold and mildew.

But no need to fret, we've got you covered with some helpful tips to get your basement ready for spring...sans the odor that is:

1.) If you detect a distinctly moldy or musty smell, focus on finding the source. Old water supply lines to the washer, a leaking dryer vent, or even a rusting hot water heater can all create constant puddles that may not be obvious if you're not in the basement every day.

2.) With a basement that's fully or partially finished, pull shelving and boxes away from the walls and check the corners for any signs of moisture that could be dripping from water lines above or through cracks below. A plumbing or wall repair may be needed to ensure that your basement stays dry. If you see water-stained walls or masonry, it may be best to call in a professional, such as Clean Indeed to check behind the surface for major mold damage.

3.) Open your basement windows and outside door if you have one, and run a fan to circulate the air. * In fact, try to do this whenever the weather is nice in winter too. Check the windows and vents to make sure they're operating properly.

4.) Spray your basement walls and floor with a solution of bleach and water to kill any stray mold or mildew spores.

5.) At Clean Indeed, we always suggest every homeowner invests in a good dehumidifier for the basement such as this one. These can run $50 to $100, but they're effective at controlling humidity in closed-off spaces.

6.) Sometimes people complain of "sewer" odors from their basement. This is a common issue that's usually an easy fix. This can be caused by a basement floor drain in which the water in the trap evaporates and allows odors from the sewer line to drift up. The easiest step is to simply fill it with water. If that does not solve your problem, there could be a missing or badly aligned plug in the drain or a problem with a toilet or drain upstairs that has worked its way down. Try replacing the plug. If the smell persists or you are unable to locate the source of the odor, give us a call @ 515-441-1918 and we'll help you out!

7.) If your basement floor is carpeted, this could be your biggest source of odor. When carpeting and the backing underneath get wet, it can lead to horrible mildew issues. If water seepage is a regular problem in the basement you may need to think about an impervious floor such as tile or vinyl. If the carpeting is dry, clean, and otherwise in good shape, simply sprinkle baking soda across the surface and then vacuum it up to pull out any residual odors.

8.) Lastly, we recommend painting the walls, whether your basement is finished or not. Most modern paints have a mildewcide in their ingredients and painting the walls will kill most anything growing on them that is causing an odor.

This March, bring a little spring cleaning to the basement as well as the house (we offer more than just odor removal services). With a little care and some professional help from Clean Indeed, mold and mildew odors can be banished, making for a more pleasant and healthier space!

*Basement windows should only be opened when the air outside is cooler than your basement. Opening them when the air is warm outside will only introduce moisture into your basement via the humidity outside. That's why it is especially important to run a dehumidifier when the air outside is warmer. It’s a proven way to deal with exceptionally damp-prone basements that don’t respond to anything else.


The information contained on (“Blog”) is for general information purposes only. Clean Indeed assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents on the “Blog”. In no event shall Clean Indeed be liable for any special, direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or any damages whatsoever, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tort, arising out of or in connection with the use of the “Blog” or the contents of the “Blog”. may contain links to external websites that are not provided or maintained by or in any way affiliated with Clean Indeed. Please note that Clean Indeed does not guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any information on these external websites.

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