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  • Writer's pictureMark Buskuhl

10 Ways to Get Rid of That Old House Smell Quickly

Key Highlights

  • Old house smell can be eliminated with quick fixes such as deep cleaning, fresh air, and essential oils.

  • Deep cleaning every nook and cranny of home is an effective way to get rid of old house smell.

  • Utilizing soda for absorbing odors can help eliminate the musty smell in your home.

  • Investing in air purifiers can improve indoor air quality and remove mold ores that contribute to old house smell.

  • Introducing fresh plants for natural purification can help eliminate odors and improve the overall air quality in your home.

  • Using essential oils can provide a pleasant aroma and act as a natural alternative to air fresheners.

  • Regular ventilation by opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate can help refresh the air in your home.

  • Addressing mold and mildew promptly can prevent the musty odor from worsening.

  • Steam cleaning upholstery and carpets can remove trapped odors and refresh your home.

  • Replacing old and musty furniture can eliminate the source of the odor and give your home a fresh start.

  • Sealing wooden surfaces to lock out moisture can prevent the growth of mold and mildew and eliminate the musty smell in your home.

  • Understanding the source of old house smells can help in effectively eliminating them.

  • Identifying common culprits behind the musty odors, such as mold growth and poor ventilation, is crucial in addressing the issue.

  • The role of humidity and dampness in amplifying smells must be acknowledged and addressed to eliminate old house smell.

  • Practical steps for ongoing odor management, such as creating a cleaning schedule and keeping your home dry and mold-free, can help prevent the recurrence of old house smells.

  • Advanced solutions for stubborn odors, including professional deep cleaning services and HVAC upgrades, can be considered for more severe cases.

  • Preventative measures, such as adopting habits that reduce indoor pollution and choosing home improvements that combat odors, can help keep your house smelling fresh.

  • Frequently asked questions about preventing old house smell, such as the frequency of deep cleaning and the effectiveness of air purifiers, are answered.

  • Conclusion: Getting rid of old house smell is important for improving indoor air quality, real estate value, and overall comfort in your home.

10 Ways to Get Rid of That Old House Smell Quickly

Ways to Get Rid of That Old House Smell : Introduction

Dealing with an old house smell can be a common yet challenging issue for many homeowners. Whether you've recently moved into an older home or have lived in one for years, you may have experienced that musty, stale odor that lingers in the air. This unpleasant scent not only affects the overall atmosphere of your home but also has an impact on indoor air quality and your well-being.

The old house smell can stem from various sources, including poor ventilation, mold growth, and lingering dampness. It's important to address this issue promptly to create a fresh and inviting living space. In this blog, we will explore 10 effective ways to get rid of old house smell quickly and restore a pleasant environment in your home.

By following these tips and implementing the suggested solutions, you can say goodbye to that old house smell and enjoy a fresh and inviting home environment.

What causes old house smell?

The musty smell commonly associated with old houses can be attributed to several factors. Mold growth is a primary culprit, as it thrives in damp and poorly ventilated areas. The presence of mold releases musty odors into the air, contributing to the overall smell. Poor ventilation exacerbates the issue by trapping odors and moisture indoors.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from paints, solvents, and cleaners can accumulate over time in older homes, producing a chemical-like odor. Understanding these causes is crucial in effectively addressing and eliminating old house smell.

Why It's Important to Get Rid of Old House Smell

Getting rid of old house smell is not just about creating a pleasant living environment; it also has significant implications for indoor air quality, real estate value, and health concerns. The musty odor associated with old houses is often a sign of poor indoor air quality, which can lead to respiratory issues and allergies. Improving the air quality in your home by eliminating the old house smell can create a healthier living space. A fresh and inviting home environment can enhance the overall value of your property and make it more appealing to potential home buyers.

Quick Fixes to Eliminate Old House Smell

When it comes to eliminating old house smell, there are several quick fixes that can provide immediate relief. These quick fixes include deep cleaning every nook and cranny, utilizing baking soda for absorbing odors, investing in air purifiers, introducing fresh plants for natural purification, using essential oils for a pleasant aroma, regular ventilation to refresh the air, addressing mold and mildew promptly, steam cleaning upholstery and carpets, replacing old and musty furniture, and sealing wooden surfaces to lock out moisture. These quick fixes can be effective in eliminating old house smell and creating a fresh and inviting living environment.

1. Deep Cleaning Every Nook and Cranny

Deep cleaning is a crucial step in getting rid of old house smell. Start by thoroughly cleaning every nook and cranny of your home, paying special attention to areas prone to moisture and dirt accumulation. Use hot water and a suitable cleaning solution to scrub surfaces such as walls, floors, and countertops. Don't forget to clean less visible areas like baseboards and corners, as these can harbor dust and odors.

Focus on areas where mold and mildew are likely to grow, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Use bleach or baking soda to tackle tricky areas and remove any mold or mildew. For upholstery and carpets, sprinkle baking soda, let it sit for a while, and then vacuum to absorb odors and refresh the fabric. Cleaning air ducts and changing HVAC filters can also improve airflow and reduce odor buildup.

2. Utilizing Baking Soda for Absorbing Odors

Baking soda is a versatile and effective natural ingredient for absorbing odors in your home. Its alkaline nature helps neutralize acidic odors, including pet odors. To use baking soda for eliminating old house smell, simply sprinkle it on surfaces like carpets, rugs, and upholstery. Let it sit for a while to allow the baking soda to absorb the odors, and then vacuum thoroughly to remove the baking soda and the trapped odors.

You can also place open containers of baking soda in different rooms to absorb odors in the air. For stubborn odors, consider mixing baking soda with water to create a paste and applying it to the affected areas. Leave it on for a few hours before rinsing or wiping it off. Baking soda is a safe and cost-effective solution for removing odors in your home.

3. Investing in Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are an excellent investment for improving indoor air quality and removing contaminants that contribute to old house smell. These devices work by filtering the air and capturing particles such as mold spores, dust, pet dander, and other allergens. Look for air purifiers equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, as these are highly effective in removing airborne particles.

Place the air purifiers strategically in your home, focusing on high-odor areas or rooms where you spend the most time. Consider the size of the air purifier in relation to the room to ensure optimal performance. Regularly clean and replace the filters as recommended by the manufacturer to maintain the effectiveness of the air purifier in eliminating old house smell and improving indoor air quality.

4. Introducing Fresh Plants for Natural Purification

Fresh plants not only add beauty to your home but also contribute to natural air purification. Certain houseplants have the ability to absorb toxins and release oxygen, improving indoor air quality and eliminating odors. Consider introducing plants such as snake plants, pothos, peace lilies, and spider plants, which are known for their air-purifying qualities. Place these plants in various rooms of your home, paying attention to areas with poor ventilation or lingering odors.

Remember to provide adequate sunlight and water the plants according to their specific needs. By incorporating fresh plants into your home, you can enjoy the benefits of natural air purification and create a fresher and healthier living environment.

5. Using Essential Oils for a Pleasant Aroma

Essential oils offer a natural and pleasant way to eliminate old house smell and provide a refreshing aroma in your home. These concentrated plant extracts possess antimicrobial properties and can help neutralize odors. There are various ways to use essential oils for eliminating old house smell. You can use a diffuser to release the oils into the air, creating a pleasant and inviting atmosphere.

Alternatively, you can mix a few drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle and mist it around your home. Some popular essential oils for eliminating odors include lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, and tea tree. Experiment with different scents and find the ones that you find most pleasing. Remember to use essential oils safely and according to the manufacturer's instructions.

6. Regular Ventilation to Refresh Air

Proper ventilation is essential for eliminating old house smell and refreshing the air in your home. Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate throughout your home, diluting and removing stagnant odors. This is particularly effective on mild and breezy days. Consider installing window screens to prevent insects from entering while still allowing fresh air to flow.

Using fans or ceiling fans can also enhance airflow, especially in areas without windows or where natural ventilation is limited. Make sure your HVAC system is functioning properly and change the air filters regularly to ensure optimal air circulation. By prioritizing regular ventilation, you can significantly improve the air quality in your home and eliminate old house smell.

7. Addressing Mold and Mildew Promptly

Mold and mildew are common sources of the musty odor associated with old houses. It's important to address these issues promptly to eliminate the source of the smell and prevent further mold growth. Start by identifying areas in your home prone to dampness, such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. Inspect these areas for signs of mold or mildew, such as visible growth or a musty smell. If you find mold or mildew, take immediate action to remove it using appropriate cleaning products and techniques.

Scrub affected surfaces with a mixture of water and bleach, or use natural alternatives like white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Ensure that the area is thoroughly dry to prevent future mold growth. Fix any water leaks or sources of moisture that contribute to the dampness, and consider using a dehumidifier in damp areas to control humidity levels. By addressing mold and mildew promptly, you can eliminate the musty odor and create a healthier living environment.

8. Steam Cleaning Upholstery and Carpets

Upholstery and carpets are common sources of trapped odors in old houses. Over time, these fabrics can absorb various smells, contributing to the overall musty odor. Steam cleaning is an effective method for removing trapped odors and refreshing your upholstery and carpets. Steam cleaning involves using hot water and steam to deep clean the fabric and eliminate odors. You can either rent a steam cleaner or hire professional services to ensure a thorough and effective clean.

Before steam cleaning, vacuum the upholstery and carpets to remove any loose dirt and debris. Follow the instructions provided with the steam cleaner and pay extra attention to high-odor areas. By steam cleaning your upholstery and carpets, you can remove trapped odors and give your home a fresh start.

9. Replacing Old and Musty Furniture

Old furniture can be a significant source of old house smell, as it tends to absorb odors over time. If you're struggling with a musty odor in your home, consider replacing old and musty furniture. By eliminating the source of the odor, you can significantly improve the overall smell of your home.

When choosing new furniture, opt for materials that are less likely to harbor smells, such as metal, glass, or leather. Refurbish existing furniture by cleaning upholstery, polishing wood surfaces, and replacing fabric covers. If you have wooden furniture, consider giving it a fresh coat of paint or varnish to seal in any remaining odors.

10. Sealing Wooden Surfaces to Lock Out Moisture

Adding a protective sealant to wooden surfaces is crucial in combating the old house smell. By sealing these areas, you effectively lock out moisture, a common source of musty odors. Moisture can seep into wood, fostering mold and mildew growth, which contributes to the unpleasant smell. Choose a high-quality sealant to create a barrier that prevents moisture infiltration.

This simple yet effective method not only improves indoor air quality but also safeguards your home against potential damage caused by excess moisture. Keep your wooden surfaces fresh and odor-free with this proactive approach.

Understanding the Source of Old House Smells

To effectively eliminate old house smells, it's important to understand the underlying sources. The musty odor often found in older homes can be attributed to various factors. Mold and mildew growth due to moisture accumulation is a common cause of old house smells. Poor ventilation in older homes can also trap odors and contribute to the musty smell.

Other factors such as pet odors, crawl space issues, old carpets and upholstery, tobacco smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dust and dirt buildup, and decaying wood and building materials can also contribute to the overall musty odor. By identifying these sources, you can target your efforts and effectively eliminate old house smells.

Identifying Common Culprits Behind the Musty Odors

When dealing with musty odors in old houses, it's important to identify the common culprits behind these smells. High humidity is often a significant factor that contributes to the musty odor. Moisture can accumulate in areas such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens, leading to mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew release musty odors, which can permeate your home. Other common sources of musty odors include poor ventilation, which traps odors and moisture indoors, and decaying organic matter such as wood.

The Role of Humidity and Dampness in Amplifying Smells

Humidity and dampness play a significant role in amplifying smells in old houses. High humidity levels create a favorable environment for mold and mildew growth, which can release musty odors. Dampness from water leaks or poor drainage can contribute to the growth of mold and mildew, further intensifying the musty smell. It's important to address underlying issues that cause high humidity and dampness, such as inadequate ventilation or water leaks.

By controlling humidity levels and addressing dampness, you can prevent the amplification of smells and effectively eliminate old house odor. Understanding the mold life cycle is also crucial, as it can help identify the stages at which mold releases musty odors and take appropriate action to eliminate them.

Practical Steps for Ongoing Odor Management

In addition to implementing effective strategies to eliminate old house smell, it's important to establish practical steps for ongoing odor management. This includes creating a cleaning schedule tailored to your home's needs, focusing on routine maintenance and cleaning high-touch areas. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your home can significantly impact indoor air quality and prevent odors from accumulating. Adopting tips for keeping your home dry and mold-free, such as using a dehumidifier and addressing crawl space issues, can help maintain a fresh-smelling environment. By incorporating these practical steps into your routine, you can prevent the recurrence of old house smells and enjoy a consistently fresh and inviting home.

Creating a Cleaning Schedule Tailored to Your Home

Creating a cleaning schedule tailored to your home's needs is an essential step in ongoing odor management. Establish a routine for regular cleaning and maintenance tasks, focusing on high-touch areas and areas prone to moisture or odor accumulation. This includes cleaning surfaces, floors, bathrooms, and kitchen areas on a regular basis. Pay special attention to hard-to-reach areas, such as baseboards and corners, as they can accumulate dust and odors over time. Incorporate deep cleaning tasks into your schedule, such as steam cleaning carpets and upholstery, to remove trapped odors.

Tips for Keeping Your Home Dry and Mold-Free

Preventing moisture and mold growth is crucial for ongoing odor management in your home. Use a dehumidifier in areas prone to high humidity, such as basements or bathrooms, to control moisture levels and prevent mold growth. Regularly inspect and address any water leaks or plumbing issues that contribute to dampness. Properly ventilate areas with limited airflow, such as crawl spaces, to prevent moisture buildup. Monitor humidity levels in your home and keep them within the recommended range to discourage mold growth.

Advanced Solutions for Stubborn Odors

In some cases, old house smells may persist despite your best efforts. For more stubborn odors, advanced solutions can be considered. These solutions include professional deep cleaning services and HVAC upgrades. Professional deep cleaning services utilize specialized equipment and cleaning agents to tackle tough odors and eliminate the source of the smell. HVAC upgrades, such as cleaning and inspecting air ducts, can improve air circulation and remove dust and debris that contribute to old house smells. These advanced solutions are particularly beneficial for severe cases or persistent odors that require professional expertise.

Considering Professional Deep Cleaning Services

In cases where old house smells persist despite your efforts, considering professional deep cleaning services can be a worthwhile solution. Professional cleaners have the expertise and specialized equipment to tackle stubborn odors and eliminate the source of the smell. They can perform a thorough deep cleaning of your home, targeting areas that are difficult to reach or require specialized treatment.

Professional deep cleaning services often include steam cleaning of carpets and upholstery, mold remediation, and the use of effective cleaning agents to remove odors. By enlisting the help of professionals, you can ensure a comprehensive and effective removal of stubborn old house smells, creating a fresh and welcoming home environment.

The Benefits of HVAC Upgrades for Improved Air Quality

Upgrading your HVAC system can significantly improve indoor air quality and help eliminate old house smells. Professional HVAC upgrades can include cleaning and inspecting air ducts, ensuring that they are free from dust, debris, and mold that contribute to odors. Upgrading filters to high-efficiency options, such as HEPA filters, can capture more particles and allergens, improving air quality.

HVAC upgrades can optimize air circulation and enhance ventilation, preventing the buildup of stagnant and musty air in your home. By investing in HVAC upgrades, you can create a healthier and more comfortable living environment with improved air quality and reduced old house smells.

Preventative Measures to Keep Your House Smelling Fresh

Prevention is key when it comes to keeping your house smelling fresh. By adopting certain habits and making home improvements, you can proactively combat odors and maintain a pleasant living environment. Adopting habits that reduce indoor pollution, such as avoiding smoking indoors and minimizing cooking fumes, can help prevent the buildup of unpleasant odors.

Choosing home improvements that focus on ventilation systems, such as installing exhaust fans and using window screens, can promote good air circulation and prevent odors from lingering. By incorporating these preventative measures into your lifestyle and home, you can keep your house smelling fresh and create a more enjoyable living space.

Adopting Habits That Reduce Indoor Pollution

Indoor pollution can contribute to unpleasant odors in your home. Adopting habits that reduce indoor pollution is crucial for maintaining a fresh-smelling living environment. Avoid smoking indoors, as cigarette smoke can cling to walls, ceilings, and fabrics, leaving behind a stale odor. If you smoke, designate an outdoor area away from your home for smoking.

Minimize cooking fumes by using ventilation systems, such as range hoods or exhaust fans, to remove odors and smoke from the kitchen. Ensure proper ventilation while cooking by opening windows or using fans. By adopting these habits and reducing indoor pollution, you can prevent the accumulation of unpleasant odors and maintain a fresh-smelling home.

Choosing Home Improvements That Combat Odors

Certain home improvements can effectively combat odors and improve the overall smell of your home. One key improvement is to invest in ventilation systems, such as exhaust fans or range hoods, for areas prone to odors, such as kitchens and bathrooms. These systems help remove odors and moisture from the air, preventing them from lingering and causing musty smells.

Installing window screens allows you to open windows and let fresh air in while keeping insects out. Odor-absorbing materials, such as activated charcoal or baking soda, can be placed in strategic locations around your home to help neutralize odors. By choosing these home improvements, you can combat odors and create a fresher living environment.


Eliminating that old house smell is essential for a fresh and inviting living space. From deep cleaning to using natural remedies like baking soda and essential oils, there are various quick fixes available. Addressing mold, ensuring proper ventilation, and upgrading air purifiers can make a significant difference in combating stubborn odors.

By understanding the source of these smells and adopting preventative measures, you can maintain a pleasant atmosphere in your home. Regular maintenance and proactive steps will help you achieve a consistently fresh-smelling house. Share these tips on social media to help others create a welcoming environment in their homes too.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I deep clean to prevent old house smell?

To prevent old house smell, it is recommended to deep clean your home at least once every three to six months. However, the frequency may vary depending on factors such as the size of your home, the presence of pets or smokers, and the level of dust and dirt accumulation. Establish a routine that suits your home's needs to maintain a fresh and odor-free environment.

Can air purifiers eliminate all types of house odors?

While air purifiers can help eliminate odors in your home, their effectiveness may vary depending on the type of odor and the specific air purifier. Air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters can effectively capture airborne particles, including mold spores and pet dander, which contribute to old house smells. However, certain odors may require additional measures such as deep cleaning or targeted odor removal techniques.

Are there natural ways to maintain a fresh-smelling home?

Yes, there are natural ways to maintain a fresh-smelling home. Using baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils can help eliminate odors and provide a pleasant aroma. Regular cleaning and ventilation, along with proper moisture control, are also key in maintaining a fresh-smelling and inviting home environment.

What are the signs that my house has a serious odor problem?

Signs of a serious odor problem in your house may include persistent musty smells, visible mold growth, or a noticeable decline in indoor air quality. If the odor persists despite your efforts to eliminate it or if it is accompanied by health concerns such as allergies or respiratory issues, it is advisable to seek professional assistance and address the underlying cause.

How can I improve my home’s ventilation without major renovations?

Improving your home's ventilation can be achieved without major renovations by implementing simple solutions. These include opening windows and using fans to enhance air circulation, installing exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, and using window screens to allow fresh air in while keeping insects out. These measures can significantly improve ventilation and prevent the accumulation of musty odors.

Is it worth investing in professional cleaning services for odor removal?

Investing in professional cleaning services for odor removal can be worth it, especially for stubborn odors or severe cases. Professional cleaners have the expertise and specialized equipment to effectively eliminate odors and tackle the source of the smell. The cost of professional cleaning services should be weighed against the benefits of a fresh and odor-free home.


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