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Musty Basement Odors

When your basement is suffering from water damage, you will likely begin experiencing musty odors in your basement. These unpleasant odors can eventually spread to the rest of your home.


Musty odors in your basement are a telltale sign that your home’s basement is experiencing some sort of water damage. At Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists, we have the skills and solutions needed to tackle your smelly basement by finding the source of the odors.

What Causes Musty Basement Odors

window condensation and high basement humidity

High Humidity

Excess humidity is a major cause of musty smells in your basement. When it comes to the relative humidity in your basement, it has a lot to do with how much moisture the surrounding air can hold. On any particular day, 75 percent humidity indicates that the air is holding three-quarters of its maximal moisture capacity. At 100 percent, the moisture has to go somewhere, and condensation is frequently the result. In areas like the greater Charlotte area, where the climate is hot and humid, it is very common for high humidity to build up inside your basement.

mold on basement walls


Another cause of musty odors in your basement is mold growth. Mold is virtually in all parts of the environment; however, when mold spores find a dark and wet spot, they will begin to form into noticeable dark or discolored spots. A damp, dark basement is the ideal environment for mold to form, making your unprotected basement a prime target. Mold spores can soon spread from your basement to the rest of your home, triggering asthma and allergy symptoms in those that suffer from these conditions. If you begin to smell musty odors in your home, check your basement for mold. 

wet insulation

Organic Material

Organic material, whether it’s wood, linen, or organic insulation, is another cause of musty, unpleasant smells. This means that your basement’s ceiling beams, floor joists, and even things like personal belongings stored in your basement are at risk of deterioration or rot if they become unnecessarily wet. Wood rot causes the wooden structures in your basement to become weak and vulnerable, as well as smelly. Keeping your basement – and the organic structures in your basement – dry is important when it comes to preventing musty smells from forming and ruining the comfortable environment of your home. 


When it comes to preventing bad odors from forming in your basement, basement waterproofing is the best solution. A waterproofed basement stays dry even during periods of heavy rainfall. Also, when your basement has been waterproofed, it is a much more stable and controlled environment where mold and excess humidity are least likely to form. Adding a dehumidifier to your basement can also greatly help control and regulate humidity levels, which will also prevent mold and even wood rot from flourishing inside your basement, ensuring your home isn’t plagued by musty odors. 

While bleaching the basement is an easy and effective approach to eliminating mold and neutralizing musty odors in your basement, it is not a permanent solution. When using bleach to eliminate mold and mildew from your basement, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, remember that bleach fumes and mold can both be harmful to your health, so be cautious. Bleaching, on the other hand, will not eliminate mold. If you find mold in any part of your home, you should contact a mold remediation company to permanently remove the mold. 

You can prevent wood rot by ensuring that the wooden structures around your foundation – especially your basement – remain dry. Moisture is what causes wood rot, so preventing any type of leak or flooding is very important. Having your basement waterproofed – which can also include the addition of a dehumidifier – will help regulate the moisture levels inside your basement. Thus, stopping wood rot from growing on your wooden surfaces. This will ensure the structure of your basement remains structurally sound. If you find wood rot in your basement, then it is time to call a specialist to handle the problem. 

Call Us for A Free Inspection 

At Dry Pro, we are familiar with the hot, humid summers and cold, wet winters. So, you can trust that we know how to handle basement and foundation issues that occur in homes around Charlotte and Hickory. If you are experiencing basement problems such as water intrusion and mold growth that are causing musty odors in your home, contact us! We provide free, no-obligation inspections of your home’s entire foundation, so you can be certain the problem is with your foundation. 

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