Home generalRemove the smell of the odor - get rid of musty odor

Remove the smell of the odor - get rid of musty odor

  • Costs and benefits of a renovation
    • Complete renovation with excavated soil
    • Old cellar - wrong renovation
  • root cause analysis
    • Clearing out the cellar
  • Eliminate structural damage and mold
  • Get rid of musty smell
  • Correctly allocate the cellar

Who does not know him, this typical unpleasant smell that spreads so well in a damp cellar ">

Mostly the musty smell in the cellar is a warning sign that moisture or even mold has found a home there. The building materials of the walls in the basement emit this smell when they are soaked through cracks or leaks with water. You should therefore check the walls, ceiling and floor of the basement for mold or mildew. Without a cause research, everything you do is ultimately just cosmetics. So that you not only cover the musty smell, but get rid of it, here are some important tips and tricks.

You need this:

  • hammer
  • chisel
  • Brush, tassel
  • broom
  • Sack cart, furniture transport rolls
  • bucket
  • Vinegar, chlorine spray
  • thick coating
  • Fan, room dehumidifier

Costs and benefits of a renovation

A comprehensive basement renovation costs a lot. However, the basement can even be converted into a living space and the annoying cellar odor disappears. Here we show the possibilities of cellar renovation and what costs this raises. With a thick coating you can permanently bridge small cracks. Normally, however, the thick coating is applied from the outside. To do this you first have to dig up the outdoor area around the basement.

  • Water stop for some leakage in the cellar - kilo about 11 euros
  • Thick coating for basement walls - 12 liters about 30 euros

Complete renovation with excavated soil

A complete seal from the outside by the professional and the renovation of the inside costs of course. But you win a high housing value. You have to expect between 500 and 1, 000 euros per square meter. After that, however, the entire cellar is in perfect condition.

Working at the cellar renovation

  • excavation
  • outer seal
  • possibly additional external insulation
  • Screed floor inside
  • Ceiling covering with insulation
  • Wall cladding inside with insulation
  • possibly new windows
  • possibly radiator installation

Old cellar - wrong renovation

If an old cellar is adapted in the house of today, often only a problem arises. Some old cellars still have a mashed clay soil, which can be moist from the ground, but absorbs moisture again. Muffy stink could usually not arise in these soils. Most of the old basement rooms also had windows that had only single glazing. In addition, these windows were not very tight. The moisture could therefore escape at any time through these cracks.

Most of these old cellars will eventually be rehabilitated, as the crooked clay soil and the simple windows no longer comply with the specifications of the new technology. Then, however, such a cellar is perfectly sealed and strong humidity can not escape from the cellar. So often arises only by a renovation a moisture problem in a basement room.

This is not to say that you should not rehabilitate the basement room. However, when selecting the windows, you should always pay attention to a modern ventilation system, which ensures a good air exchange, even if you do not care. In addition, the shelves or cabinets should always be placed a hand's breadth from the wall. This means that condensation can not form on the cold walls, which then can not evaporate.

How much moisture is normal ">

In an unheated cellar, some moisture is normal. The few basements can really ventilate well, so that moisture can not be deducted. In addition, basements are filled with too many things. This will further prevent the circulation of the air and musty odor is in every corner. If the basement is not heated, do not dry your clothes there. Even dry clothes should not be stored in a cellar. Moisture penetrates the clothing very easily, which then leads to unsightly foxing. If a musty stench prevails in cellar, there is too much moisture. It's so easy to judge whether a musty cellar odor is still in the normal range.

root cause analysis

You can not remove the musty odors in the basement or house if you do not know what causes them. After all, it makes no sense to rehabilitate the bottom of the basement if the odors are caused by a crack in the wall or a leaky window.

Clearing out the cellar

To determine the causes of the musty odors, you should first clear the cellar. Depending on the intensity of the smells, a repair of the walls will probably not be possible. If you have emptied the basement completely, you should thoroughly sweep it out.

Before clearing out, look around the basement to see if you really need it all. If you already carry old shelves, disused fitness equipment and drying racks to the top, you can immediately register all unnecessary parts for bulky waste. So you have a double advantage, because you can no longer complete the cellar and you do not have to drag the stuff back down to the basement.

Find cause and damage

Illuminate the basement room with strong spotlights. Light up the walls to see if you can find mold or mildew there. The basement ceiling and the floor should not be forgotten during this test. Affected areas should be marked with a red thick chalk pen, so that you can find these places later during the renovation.

Plastered cellar walls, ceilings and cellar floors should also be carefully tapped with a hammer. To discover hollow or loose spots behind the plaster. But you should really only lightly hit the plaster to find places with a changed sound . Behind these hollow areas there is often a crack that directs the moisture from the outside into the basement and ensures that the walls are completely saturated with moisture.

Tip: If you actually find loose spots, you can of course knock them off with your hammer. A carpenter's hammer, which is pointed on one side and has the usual flat plate on the back, is therefore ideal for this work.

With a little luck, only some clothes have run into a hidden corner of the cellar and are moldy there. In that case, it may actually be enough to remove these clothes. Not quite so beautiful, but also a possibility are a dead rat or a hedgehog, which has fallen through the cellar window. These animals hide in the darkest corner and die there. The smell is particularly unpleasant by the mixture with the normal musty cellar odor, but easy to eliminate.

Eliminate structural damage and mold

Cracks or plaster damage should urgently be removed professionally. However, you should also check and seal severe cracks in the masonry from outside. Depending on the size of the damage, it may be that the basement must be properly rehabilitated from the outside. If this is not possible, experts often recommend the injection technique, which injects a special gel into the wall at regular intervals. This gel hardens in the wall and becomes a moisture barrier that prevents the buildup of external moisture.

The basement ceiling is very often forgotten in the damage analysis. Although it is not the cause of a damp cellar, but like to bring up the unpleasant odors in the living rooms above. If you are already looking for a solid seal and renovation of the basement, the basement ceiling should be well insulated. This not only prevents the annoying odors, but also the loss of heating energy.

Besides the damage in the wall you should pay close attention to the bottom of the cellar. In the house itself it is quite okay to lay PVC on the floor of damp rooms. But in the basement rooms, the PVC only leads to a burden of mold. Under the PVC, the moisture collects, which then can not dry up. Therefore, mold here is an ideal home. If cracks are present in the soil, they can be removed with a flexible sealing compound. If there is only one clay soil available, it must be replaced. For this you have to lift the clay soil but mostly first.

Get rid of musty smell

In many cases, the odors in the cellar have been caused by a certain humidity. On a close inspection, however, no major damage turns out. Then there are some simple tricks to dry out the cellar and banish the smells.

  • vinegar
  • fan
  • additional ventilation
  • Dehumidifier
Vinegar effective against odors

Ventilate thoroughly whenever it is relatively cold. There is less moisture in the cold air. To support a fan in the basement is a good solution, as it will replace any missing back ventilation more than. The commercial dehumidifiers are only a small help to remove moisture. You will get rid of the typical cellar odor with some splashes of vinegar in these cases. Make sure you never spread too much vinegar. Be careful not to spray metal shelves as they will rust immediately. The problem areas of the uninhabited animals or moldy clothing described above should be sprayed more vigorously and repeatedly with vinegar. Usually no odor of the cellar is to be determined at the latest after the third application. Some housewives recommend small bowls of vinegar in the cellar. But this vinegar evaporates only without taking away the cellar smells.


If you do not want to constantly deal with the smell of the cellar and there are no serious damage, then an electric wall fan with a timer can help you. You know these small vents from inside bathrooms, where they are usually controlled by the light switches. For most of these devices, only a small pipe needs to be worked into the wall. A home improvement is done in a few hours. You should install a model where time can be set very flexibly, as the different seasons bring different levels of humidity. If you hire a craftsman, make sure that he can also lay the electrical connections. Otherwise you will have to request an electrician extra.

  • Wall fan between 30 and 50 euros
  • Timer for wall fans between 10 and 20 euros
  • Craftsman who performs the installation from 15 euros per hour - installation about 2 hours
Ventilation of the walls

Odors erase after damage elimination

It does not do any good if you treat areas that are clearly affected by mold with a mildew spray. Mold spores penetrate deep into the plaster and the walls. A superficial treatment can only be successful for a short time. If you have already taken the trouble to clear the basement, you should also strive for a thorough removal of the spores.

Tip: In the house, vinegar is always a good remedy for annoying cellar odor, but it is not a panacea, you should use in the long run. You really need to identify and remove the root causes so vinegar really makes sense.

If the damage has been remedied by repairing or repairing the leaks, it is usually necessary to ventilate very well in the first few weeks. Most sealants themselves contain a high amount of moisture, which must first dry. Fall back on the fan, or even use a fan heater that blows out the moisture with warm air even better.

Correctly allocate the cellar

Bring so little organic materials into a cellar as possible. An unheated basement should not be filled with wooden furniture. Even if metal shelves can easily rust in a cellar, they do not develop any unpleasant odors like the wooden shelves. In addition, no mold can settle in the metal shelf. In the wooden shelves mold spores find ideal living conditions. Many store the planters from the garden in the winter in the cellar. But you should only do this in a well-ventilated cellar, otherwise you will again be carrying too much moisture into the cellar.

Tip: A basement shelf made of baked bricks and old windowsills made of marble or granite may be a bit inconvenient to build. It also keeps the mold away in the long run. By the way, such a shelf is indestructible even with large and heavy supplies.

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