Do you smell that? That icky smell you just can’t place. You’ve sprayed air freshener everywhere but now you just have some weird mix of lavender and must. If you’re asking yourself, “why does my house smell musty” it’s likely your guests are wondering this too.

It can be embarrassing having guests over when a gross smell is looming over your home. Even worse when it has begun to rub off onto your clothes, following you wherever you go.

The problem is you aren’t hitting the smell at its root.

In this blog, we will give you all the answers you need to your questions such as:

  • Why does my house smell musty?
  • How can I stop bad smells in their track?
  • How do I use a dehumidifier to get rid of must?
  • Where can I find the best dehumidifiers

Let’s get started!

Why Does My House Smell Musty?

Your house can smell for many reasons. You have old food rotting in your fridge, your teenager hasn’t showered in weeks, or your dog has left a smelly surprise in your shoe.

But the main culprit of musty smells is often caused by excess moisture.


Closets are one of excess moisture’s favorite spots to hang out. They are often small, dark, humid spaces without any ventilation.

With all of the humidity and excess moisture in the air unable to escape; the closet begins to have a musty smell. After a while, the sniff test can no longer be an indication if your clothes are clean or not because everything in your closet begins to smell.

Why does my house smell musty

Washing machines may also have issues with excess moisture. So when you go to clean your clothes you may just be making the smell worse.

We have all been guilty of forgetting our load in the washer, or just being too lazy to switch loads. But even if the machine doesn’t have moisture issues, letting clothes sit in the washer can lead to musty-smelling clothes.


Spilled liquids on carpets and tiles that sit for a while can lead to musty smells.

If you have young kids, you know how often accidents can happen. From kids spilling their juice to splashing water around.

Spot or Mr. Whiskers can also be the reason for that musty smell in your home. Whether they left an accident from being left alone too long or tracked in water after playing in puddles.

Attics and Basements

Attics and basements are dark, warm, and often damp spaces. They are also the most likely to have flooding problems.

Basements are often where you put your water heaters and washing machines which can be known to leak.

Why does my house smell musty

Additionally, these are also popular places to store things you don’t plan on ever seeing again, so it’s likely there is not a lot of foot traffic. Therefore small leaks may go unnoticed.


Heating and cooling systems with poor airflow can have musty odors. When air ducts go too long without being cleaned they start collecting dust. Then every time you use the heater or a/c it is blowing the smell and dirt all over your house.

Additionally, if you take hot showers excess water from the steam can sit in the air, and without ventilation, it can lead to moisture damage in the walls.

If you live in a humid area you may also suffer from excess moisture during warmer days.

Bathrooms and Kitchens

Bathrooms and kitchens host a lot of activities involving water. Therefore it makes sense that there could be mold hiding somewhere.

Leaky pipes under a sink can easily go unnoticed. A few drops may seem like nothing but after sitting over a long period of time they can begin to cause damage leaving a bad smell.

Why does my house smell musty

Dishwashers and refrigerators are also known to leak especially if not taken care of. Make sure you are keeping an eye on them for any mechanical issues. Additionally, if you recently experienced a power outage check to make sure your freezer did not leak.

When it comes to your bathroom there are never-ending ways you can have moisture damage. Wipe down showers and hard surfaces after a shower and hang up any towels. Make sure to change out your foot towels and try to dry them off as best you can before stepping out onto your floor.

How Can I Stop Smells In Their Tracks?

Now that you know the answer to “why does my house smell musty”, it’s time to do something about it.

There are several things you can do to help remove the musty smells that are lingering in your home.

Change Air Filters

It is important to change air filters regularly. Not only does it keep any weird smells at bay but it also will help your respiratory system.

Your HVAC filters can hold mold so regularly replacing them can help you avoid this.

Clean Ducts

It is recommended to clean your air ducts every three to five years so you don’t get a buildup of dirt.

If you smell something musty when you turn on your heater, it’s probably because there is a lot of dust and debris. Having a professional come in every few years can keep your ducts clean and improve air ventilation.

Clean ducts and good airflow help keep musty smells at bay.

Repair Leaks

Leaks in your home can cause moisture damage. Check your roof and windows for any leaks and condensation forming. You may need to replace your roof or seal any cracks in your windows.

Why does my house smell musty

You should also check your pipes for any leaks. If you aren’t confident in your repair skills it’s better to hire a professional who can fix the problem on the first go.

Clean Your Home Regularly

For many obvious reasons, you should deep clean your home regularly. Cleaning your home keeps your house looking nice, your family feeling healthy, and your mind clear.

But if you need another reason to motivate yourself to clean, let’s talk about smell. While you may have gone nose blind to the smell of your home, your guests haven’t.

Clean your carpets, clothes, bathrooms, kitchens, and tile floors to help keep any musty smells at bay. You will also want to wipe down any hard surfaces to keep them dry.

If you want to do it yourself you can use common household items like white vinegar and baking soda. But if it’s been a while and you are overwhelmed with your to-do list, hiring a cleaning service can be beneficial.

Replace Carpets

Carpets love to hide dirt and stains. If you tried cleaning and it still isn’t doing the trick you may need to replace your carpets entirely.

After you remove your carpeting make sure you also check the subfloor to make sure the moisture hasn’t made its way there yet. If so you may have to replace it all. If you haven’t done so already you should seal the subfloor.

Paint Walls

Wallpaper and drywall can hold gross smells and other moisture-related problems. Stripping wallpaper or repainting can help remove some of the musty smell.

But before you begin painting you want to make sure you fixed the leak or problem at the source so that it doesn’t happen again.

Get a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier helps to suck up any excess moisture you have in your home. By placing them throughout your home you can keep moisture from building up.

Simply place a dehumidifier in one of the areas listed above that is likely to have excess moisture and it will do the rest. Dehumidifiers come in different sizes so check to see which one is right for your room.

After a few uses your home should be free of moisture and you will no longer be asking, why does my house smell musty?

Make Your Home Fresh With Eva-Dry

Looking for the best dehumidifier for your home? Look no further! Eva-Dry has a wide range of dehumidifiers for all your needs, from portable to plug-in.

Eva-Dry dehumidifiers are the safest dehumidifiers on the market with no mess and no harmful chemicals.

Want to learn more? Check out our guide on 6 basic steps on how to use a dehumidifier properly.

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