Why Does My Basement Smell Musty in the Summer: Breathe Easier in Any Weather

Basements can be intimidating with the stairs and a history full of horror movie villains lurking, but in summer, there’s something else to be worried about. Walking into the basement in summer might result in a musty smell that leaves you wondering why it smells like that. Unfortunately, an unpleasant smell is usually an indication that something is wrong. That musty odor is one of those times when a smell is also a warning. Specifically, the ‘musty’ smell is an indication of mildew or mold. It’s crucial that you not ignore this. Mold and mildew in the air can make you sick and damage your home and possessions. I’ll walk you through how to find and remove the mess safely and help prevent it in the future. Once the smell is gone, you can breathe easier and safer when you head down to the basement. 

Why does my basement smell musty in the summer? Your basement smells musty in summer because heat and moisture combine to feed mold and mildew formation. That smell is a clue to a problem that can negatively impact your health. Please don’t ignore it. Instead, do a thorough ceiling down clean with a high-quality mold and mildew remover. 

Identifying Mildew and Mold in your Basement

Before you can get rid of that musty basement smell in the summer, you need to identify the source. Knowing that it comes from mildew and mold will help, but now you have to find the source. That might be easy in an empty basement, but it can take a lot more time if your home is filled with things. 

Old boxes, shelves, and all the nooks and crannies in your basement are perfect hiding spaces for mold and mildew. You will need to take a systematic approach. Start at the top and work your way down. Scrutinize each area. 

You could sniff around to find it with your nose if you have a good sense of smell, but this is a terrible plan. Since some mold and mildew forms are toxic, intentionally inhaling them is a good way to get sick. Instead, grab a mask or ventilator and a flashlight for safety. you will also want some protective gloves since it’s not a great idea to expose your skin to mysterious molds. 

Regrettably, you need to search the entire space, even if you find a patch right away. Airborne spores can travel easily. Summer heat helps the cold air sink and makes heated air rise. This will happen slowly over time regardless of whether you have a lot of air circulation. Hence, the spores redistribute. 

What Do Mildew and Mold Look Like

Not all molds and mildews look the same. Unfortunately, with over a million and a half species of mold alone, that’s a lot of variety. However, generally identifying mold and mildew doesn’t require you to know all the minutia. 

You may see it as discoloration, blotchy round patches, or a more uneven coating on or within surfaces. While mildew tends to be white and powdery or fluffier looking, mold comes in a rainbow of colors. Grey, green, brown, and black are all common. 

Mold needs moisture and an organic surface to grow. When you think of organic, your first inclination may be to look for products from an expensive grocery store that doesn’t use pesticides, but that’s not what I mean in this case. Cardboard and wood are both organic, though not in the food-sense. Your average basement has plenty of both, and they make excellent breeding grounds. 

Get a bottle of Lemocide Professional Disinfecting Mildew, Virus & Mold Killer to wipe out that musty basement smell. Not only will Lemocide destroy your mold and mildew, but it also has a delightful lemony scent to help re-odorize your basement. Best of all, it comes with a thirty-day hassle-free moneyback guarantee. See the outstanding Amazon reviews by clicking here

Mildew And Mold Toxicity in a Musty Basement

Disturbingly, the musty basement smell that comes from mold and mildew growth in summer is more than merely disgusting. It can make you very sick. While some varieties are relatively harmless, others, like the famous black mold, can create serious and lasting health problems for your whole house. 

When you start smelling that musty odor, keep everyone out of the basement. Make sure children, pets, older people, and the immunocompromised stay far away. Don’t try to tackle this problem in shorts and a tank top. Grab a smock, long pants, and gloves. You’ll also want a mask to prevent inhaling more of it than necessary, and eye protection is a smart addition. 

I recommend Concrobium Mold Control from Amazon. This EPA-registered formula destroys mold and mildew. Moreover, it also leaves behind an odorless, invisible barrier. One gallon can clean up-to sixteen hundred square feet, and it has no harsh bleach or chemicals. Best of all, you can apply this solution by spray or fogger, and you don’t need to wipe it off afterward. Have a bottle delivered to your door by clicking here

Signs Of Mold and Mildew Sickness

Although mildew sickness has relatively few symptoms, they overlap with those for mold based illnesses. I’ve created a quick reference guide to help you spot warning signs for either mold or mildew related health problems. If you experience any of these while cleaning, please talk to your doctor and have professionals do the cleanup. 

  1. Headaches or migraines can be a result of inhaling or coming in contact with both mold and mildew.
  2. Respiratory issues like coughing, shortness of breath, and airway discomfort. 
  3. Allergic reactions are common, especially on unprotected skin. 
  4. Mood swings and changes in mental status can be caused by mold.
  5. Joint inflammation from mold exposure can be very uncomfortable. 
  6. Fatigue beyond the norm is a dangerous indication that you may have inhaled a toxic mold. 

Please be careful when dealing with mold and mildew cleanup. Choose a high-quality, effective product that will get rid of the danger. Afterward, keep your basement dry so it won’t promote future growth. 

Other Sources of Musty Basement Smells

When your basement smells musty in summer, mold and mildew are almost always the culprits. However, there are a couple of other potential sources to consider once you’ve done a mold treatment. When the smell lingers, make sure you use an air purifier and air out the space for a day or two. By doing this, you can make sure it’s not just the remaining odor from mold and mildew.

Rarely, the smell will still be present. I always recommend double-checking before you move on to other solutions. Even one corner or moldy box can redistribute mold or mildew quickly in warm weather. Make sure you dispose of any cardboard boxes and mildew ruined items.

Carpets and rugs will need a good cleaning, or you may need to toss them as well. Paper and fabric products are tough to save. You can also try a good mildew stain remover for floors and walls. 

WD-40 Company x14 Mildew Stain Remover is excellent for getting rid of those stubborn messes. While you cannot use this on carpets, it will eliminate those gross marks on wood and other surfaces. You can even use X14 on grout, tile, and tubs. To learn more on Amazon, click here

If you are certain that mildew and mold are not the problems, put some bleach down your drains. Begin on the top floor of your home, and make sure to treat every sink, tub, and drain. Though far less common, biogas buildup inside your pipes can also cause a nasty odor in your home. 

Putting a quarter to a full cup of oxygenated bleach down your drains every one to four weeks can prevent this from reoccurring. However, if that doesn’t do the job, you may want to check your vents and crawlspaces. Small dead rodents, mold, and mildew in other places, and even dust buildup in the air system can cause a musty odor. 

Make sure you check painted walls as well. Not only can paint hide mold and mildew, but it can also be a problem on its own. Some paints harbor volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which can make your home smell bad. Even if you haven’t painted recently, the heat can cause some paints to have a rather unpleasant smell in summer. Whatever the cause, it’s important to get rid of it as soon as possible for your own health and safety. 

Final Thoughts

A musty basement is a serious concern. Whether it is mold, mildew, or both, you need to address the problem when you notice it. Not only is it unpleasant, but that smell is a warning that something is very wrong, and you should figure out where it’s coming from. 

Sadly, some types of mildew and mold are highly toxic to humans. Moreover, household pets can also get sick. Keeping a clean house is about more than just the appearance. Sanitation is essential to health, and without it, you are at risk all the time. 

Save yourself a lot of trouble, and get to the root of the mold or mildew problem as soon as you notice it. With the right cleaner and regular attention, you won’t need to worry about potentially nasty side effects from that smell.

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Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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