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Mold in Basement

Hello - There is mold growing in my basement on all of the walls and some of the floor.  It is extremely damp and smells.  It looks like a long term fix would be to fix the basement completely and put new concrete, as the floor is always damp, maybe from condensation?  In the meantime, how can I fix the mold problem so that new mold doesn't grow and the smell is eliminated? Thanks in advance for any tips!

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Posted 2011-06-20T14:32:39+0000  by JAlex910 JAlex910

Hello airtas!


The dehumidifier is the first step in the right direction ... reducing the moisture.


A dry environment will prevent mold and mildew from growing ... eliminating the odor.


You next step is to get the air moving ... use a floor fan or ceiling fan.


If you have two fans, place them on opposite sides of the room facing the same direction so they create a swirl of air around the room.


Finally, use a disinfecting cleaner that contains bleach to scrub the floors, walls, and ceilings.


Repeat this cleaning cycle every week or two.


As you begin to re-take control of your basement, you'll need to leave these moisture reducing measures in play.


Once clean and dry, you'll find the space much more appealing for everyday use.

Posted 2013-11-12T18:28:30+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

What do I do if I have a musty smell and the basement is finished?


House has no sump pump and I started running a dehumidifer (past 3 weeks) but still smells (sometimes)

Posted 2013-11-07T04:00:01+0000  by airtas

We had about a 1/2 inch of water get into our half basement (2 walls are foundation and 2 are dywall) during very unusual heavy rains in Boulder, CO . About a week after cleaning it up we found that shaving cream like mold was growing on areas of the floor. We sprayed it with white vinegar, and after a few days about 30% of it started to grow back. We are also noticing in a few places the paint on the concrete floor is bubbling up and there apears to be mold under the bubbles. We are planning on spraying it again and buying a dehumidifier for the area. Do you recommend something other than vinegar? Should we scrape the paint on the floor and keep spraying or would you recommend something else. In a very dry environment like Colorado is there much concern that it will spread into living areas in the house?


Thanks for any guidance you can offer!

Posted 2013-10-04T19:05:03+0000  by TWrepair
Molds are part of the natural environment. It may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture. It is the #1 cause of allergy symptoms which could lead to serious health concerns; respiratory illnesses or even death. Proper inspection, testing and removal are essential to ensure a healthier, happier existence for you and your family.

A mold inspection is when a person looks for mold growth in a building. It is important to have inspection in your home to protect you and your family from the toxic diseases it will give. It is the most important first step in identifying a possible microbial contamination problem. After that you might feel mold testing is warranted if you couldn't find any mold.

Find out more at [url=]Certified Mold Inspection[/url]
Posted 2013-07-06T03:13:31+0000  by josephpiodos

what started as moldy drywall/paneled replacement turned into a nightmare. when i removed paneling and drywall it revealed a rodent home/passage way in insulation. after that was removed(i suggest treating any rodent debris as you would mold or asbestos) they had eaten a hole in the paneling between siding/brick wall and concrete foundation wall. needless to say the odor is throughout the house now but the thing that i am not sure about tackleing is replacing the rotten/eaten panels. any suggestions?

Posted 2013-04-03T05:36:36+0000  by greggw

Hi JeffandMindy!


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


 There can be more than a few factors that come into play when it comes to the musty smell you experience in the two rooms. 


A musty smell can originate in a cabinet, a closet, or anywhere moisture does not dry quickly enough. With that said, you still may need to place a dehumidifier there all the time to really cut down on the moisture. The smell itself is likely to be coming from the dirt itself. 


Using a sheet of thick .6 mil plastic to create a moisture barrier over the dirt will give you a moisture barrier that can and will be very effective. 


Cutting down of the source of the musty smell, the moisture, will drastically reduce it over time. From what you are telling us, though, that the smell is there and the moisture isn't, there are household items you can use that can kill this smell.


  • baking soda: You can use this in an open area near where the smell is at its worst. SImply let it set for a few days and periodically check to see how well the odor has been reduced


  • white vinegar: rather than soaking up odors like baking soda, you can use a bowlful of this in the middle of a room to neutralize the smell. Same as the baking soda, check periodically in the room to see if there is a smell difference.


  • sheets of newspaper: Crazy as it sounds, black and white newsprint crumpled up and placed in hidden areas of the room is a natural odor sponge. Make sure that no pets or kids can get access to it. The wood pulp that make up the newspaper acts as a natural absorbant.

So in closing, use the plastic sheets to cover up the dirt in the crawl space and use the household items shown above.


Try this out and update on if this has worked in the 2 rooms for you.


You may not see a difference within a day, but give it a few weeks and you should definitely tell a difference.


Hope to hear from you soon,


Posted 2012-12-03T17:20:34+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

My situation is a bit different though I found a lot of this information helpful.


I have a concrete basement under the majority of my home, but there is one section of the house where the previous owner put on an addition. Under the addition is a crawl space with a dirt floor.


I am not sure if there was ever any water down there but for whatever reason the two rooms above the crawl space smell musty at different times of the year. Usually, I put a dehumidifier down there and it takes care of it. But now, even though it is dry down there (with the boiler running it is warm), we are still getting the musty smell. I have been down there and cannot see any visible mold (some discoloration around the basement windows / boards - maybe from water damage?) but nothing looks bad.


What would cause the musty smell?


Is it coming from the dirt crawl space floor OR from the wood beams and concrete foundation?


The dehumidifier has been running and itsn't pulling any water from the air since it is now winter and the air is very dry.


Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Posted 2012-12-02T00:35:23+0000  by JeffandMindy

Hello rosette.  Welcome to the Community!


I am sorry to hear about your house being flooded.


If your finished basement was flooded such that the drywall was soaked, it would typically have to be removed and replaced.  Only after the soaked drywall has been removed can the exposed framing be treated for mold.  Besides, if the walls, which are made of paper and gypsum have been soaked through, they have lost all structural integrity.  I would also remove any carpet and padding as well.  If you talk to your neighbors who were also flooded out, you will find that the tear-out of basement areas, furniture and flooring was pretty extensive.  Not knowing how high the water rose, all I can say that all areas that got soaked will need attention.  Because basements frequently are humid, even a non-flooded one can grow mold that a product like Concrobium can address.  A flooded basement is much more serious, and I don't think you should just rely on a spray or fogging as a remedy.


Mold test kits test for mold spores in the air.  The more mold that is breeding in your basement, the more spores that travel in the air to the test kit and grow.  Living in a basement that was flooded but not repaired will not be healthy for you or your family.  Maybe I misunderstood your post, but I think that more repairs to your basement will be needed before you even worry about using a mold test kit.


How high up did the water get in your basement?  Besides washing the walls/floors, did you do any other tear-out?  Can you smell mold now?  I ask that because often it is obvious that a moldy and musty odor is present.  You won't need a mold test kit if your nose gives you a positive mold test.  Is the basement air conditioned or do you have a dehumidifier?  In the south it is often hard to ever dry out basement areas since the winters are so mild.  Anyway, a little more information would be useful.


I hope this helps,






Posted 2012-09-14T15:02:35+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

i was flooded last yr from hurricane irene and lee. i sprayed any visible mold with bleach and although i do not see anything growing i am concerned there may be mold behind the sheetrock, i wanted to have the air quality tested but it is very expensive so i purchase the pro-lab mold test kit to do myself. i saw you recommended  mold armor test kit. i was wondering if one is more reliable than the other and just how reliable these kits are. the instructions do not specify how many kits i would need for my finished basement approx 700 sq ft? and would they detect mold growing behind the sheetrock.  dont know if i should plan on removing sheetrock, even if kit tests negative. if i spray with concrobium will it stop any mold that is possibly behind walls from coming in and how often would i have to use it? can it be used on furniture, mattress and clothes that may have been exposed to mold spores? thank for any info

Posted 2012-09-11T20:54:58+0000  by rosette

Hello laurac.  Welcome to the Community!


I think if you read through this thread from the beginning you will see a number of ways to battle basement mold.


Aboveaveragejoe has really covered this well.


One thing that has not been mentioned would be simple ventilation.  If you have a pair of basement windows that can provide cross ventilation, then installing screens and opening the windows would be a cheap way to help dry out your basement.  Adding a fan or too, (also cheap), would help even more.


Where you live also can make a difference.  My somewhat damp Chicago summer basement dries out completely in the winter due to furnace heat.  Indeed, upstairs we use humidifiers during the winter because the house gets so dry.  


I use this cross ventilation approach in the summer which works well enough most of the time.


Otherwise, as long as the basement remains damp, mold will likely continue to find a home down there.


I hope this helps,




Posted 2012-08-10T14:09:18+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
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