5 Spots In Your Home Where the Musty Smell Might Be Coming From

January 24, 2016

Toronto Home Staging

If you are planning to put your home on the market, how it smells is just as important as how it looks. When living in the same home for a while, we get used to how it is, and we go ‘nose blind’ to musty smells that linger in the air.

This has got to change when its time to sell. Here are some areas in your home where that musty smell might be coming from and what you can do to get rid of it.


  • The trash can

Most homeowners overlook the trash can when searching for musty odors. Wash your trash cans with hot soapy water and let it dry completely before you put another bag in place. You can also place a couple of dryer sheets in the bottom of the can in order to absorb any odors.

  • The refrigerator/freezer

If food is left in the refrigerator too long, it will form mold and can create a musty smell in the room. Also, cleaning the inside and outside of the refrigerator can eliminate any lingering odors. Don’t forget to clean the seals of the refrigerator with bleach and water. If there are any lingering odors, place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator and the freezer. The baking soda will absorb any lingering odors.


  • The toilet

The toilet is one of the most frequently used fixtures in the house. In order to remove any lingering odors that may originate from the toilet, you can deodorize it by using one cup of white vinegar in the bowl and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then all you need to do is swish and flush.

  • The Bathtub

The bathtub and shower are often left wet for periods of time after use. This can cause mold and mildew growth in the corners and on the shower curtains. When the shower is still wet, spray it down with a mixture of white vinegar and water or better yet, replace your old bathroom curtain. It also helps to air out your bathroom by opening the window after cleaning if possible.


  • Washer and dryer

Front-loading washers traps moisture really easily which can lead to molds and the musty smell. Make sure to dry it out after each use, leave its door open (do not do this if you have small kids) to make sure moisture is not trapped after each use.


Hardwood floors get moldy and musty as they age, if you don’t take care of your hardwood floors, they will start to smell.

The carpet in the house catches everything that passes over it. The carpet, especially wool rugs can absorb moisture and can start to smell. To help eliminate the odors in the carpet, make sure it is regularly vacuumed and cleaned.  You can also sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let it sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum thoroughly.


  • Moisture and Mold

Basements are often humid and dark, which is a breeding ground for musty odors. Activated charcoal can help control moisture in smaller spaces as well as absorb the odors. Also, an electric dehumidifier will pull the moisture out of the air and help reduce the odors.

One of the major causes of a musty smell is mold growth. Mold grows in small, moist, dark places. When items are stored in areas such as the basement, they can get moist or wet. These items need to be cleaned out or they can become breeding grounds for mold and mildew.



Red Barrinuevo is a Toronto-based, award-winning Interior Stylist and Principal Designer of Redesing4More Inc., servicing Toronto & the GTA. The firm’s known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging, interior styling, and design services.

Click here to learn more about Red and REDESIGN4MORE.

Laundry room photo courtesy of  Vedum Kök och Bad

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